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Finding Success Later in Life

Judy Weidig’s wildest dreams take flight when she finds success as a flight attendant later in life. 

Woman changes career to flight attendant later in life

Judy Weidig has discovered the cure for aging: She ignores it! Each time she felt ready for a career change—first at 42, then recently at 62—she didn’t let age stand in her way.

Her latest switch? Retiring from a successful 20-year career to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a flight attendant. “I’ve always wanted to do this, but didn’t have the opportunity with four kids,” says Judy, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native. “I didn’t want to be sitting in my rocking chair thinking, ‘Why didn’t I?'”

So she applied for a job with Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines and threw herself into the grueling six-week training program. Daily exams on everything from plane parts and operation to FAA rules and regulations to safety and first aid took their toll. “There were times when I wondered, Can I really do this? But then I’d say to myself, Yes!

It was the same can-do attitude that propelled Judy to take a battery of career-placement tests at the age of 42. The results indicated she would thrive in a service sector position, not surprising considering she’d spent years doing double duty as a waitress and mom.

Judy earned her funeral director license. She loved the work. “Taking care of people, it makes you feel so good,” she says. “It is empowering.”

Still, it was a challenge to rise to the top in a male-dominated field. She worked hard and proved herself, showing she could do things like carry caskets up and down stairs despite being a petite 5-foot-2, and became the first female funeral director at Schmidt & Bartelt.

That practice at breaking barriers gave Judy confidence that she could take wing with Midwest. She graduated from training last spring. Now she flies 12 legs over four days, then has 10 days off. By the end, she’s “chomping at the bit” to get back to work.

She loves everything about her job. Taking care of people in the air. Exploring her favorite cities, New York, Washington and Boston. Bonding with her coworkers, who keep her laughing in the aisles. For Judy, life really is a dream come true.

Judi’s Tips

1. You’re never too old!
I took on new careers at 42 and 62.

2. Look out for #1.
When you take care of yourself, no one else will need to.

3. Have an attitude of gratitude.
Be grateful for everything you’ve been given.

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