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Airline QQL...Make a change!

rvsm410

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Life's choices, they can change, up to you!
I have been reading and participating in Flight Info for a long time and I can't help but see many people going through the same "Life's" challenges I have been through..I don't have all the answers but here is some of my story, as I can sympathize with you guys now that your "ALL IN" (excuse the poker terms) with you're airline profession.

Some of you guys/gals are looking for a perfect job..plainly I can tell you it does not exist..short of hitting the lottery. You have to pick and choose you're battles and fully understand what you are working so hard to become, but you better be flexable and willing to lay it all on the line to change it as life comes to you, complaining about the airline life on the road, scheduling, reserve or what ever is crazy. That's like being a plumber and getting mad because you get wet all the time!
Being in the air, flying for the love of flying is all we ever learned and wanted when we were in training...yea I am a pilot as well, but I learned at an early age that professional flying would never work for me and the family lifestyle I wanted and had. I kept flying fun and stayed in GA....now Sport aviation.

Fortunately, I have seen many sides to making a living...did the corporate gig for 20 years...9 to 5 grind, it was fine and exciting at times, but I had a family to raise and did so, once they were on there own...I was done and my wonderful wife said go do it!...
I stepped out, bet the farm and bought a franchised sports business. Business ownership is wonderful....you get to work 120 hours a week, and you get to do this anytime you want to, but you know you have to do it, You get to be the HR dept, Marketing, finance...you learn alot...but you better hire your family if you ever want to see them...I did well, but the QQL sucked...13 months later, business sold..... next adventure?

I had to step back again and look at what was going to make me happy, Aviation has always been in my blood, Like you guys/gals, but I did not want to fly for a living, I did like the idea of being a dispatcher...I study the job, and read the school hype, bit it hook line and sinker.....off I went to school...walla, licensed dispatcher..I had job offers with 5 regional airlines before the week was out...this of course was pre 9-11 days...I took the nicest company at the time....after a while I realized the schools really failed to mention anything about the QQl of a junior dispatcher and that commuting to work is not what it seems to the outsider....I learned that it would take the majority of my 3 days off to get home and to return to work, plus I had to maintain a crashpad and second car.....

It was time to step back again as family matters went below mins.....not good. Still learning, I decided that maybe finding a company that paid better would be the answer, afterall this is what I went to school for, this is the life I choose to lead...dispatcher...yes...(sound familar to you pilots out there) So off I went to find a better paying, bigger company....I had alot of success at interviews, learned a tremendous amount about dealing with HR departments, dress, mannors, the right and wrong thing to say, on and on....I made a profession out of interviewing....over 3 years later, offers from many very good airlines, I finally realized that the cost of living was going to eat up most of my earnings and I was still going to commute away from the only security I had with my wife and her career and the QQL I wanted and was accustomed to.

Yeap some of you here have seen my posts, some call me an idiot, what ever, but I was not ever afraid to try...I am still successful...

My point here folks, is we all make choices in life...the lession is that careers can come and go, change it if you dont like what you see...Pilots fly airplanes...that is what you all worked so hard to do, but just like me, I did not see the forest for the trees when it came to true aviation life.... before I was all the way in!

Remember we work to "Live", not Live to work...if you're job as a pilot has you so bummed out that you can't stand it, then do something to change it....work on a plan, and step out....just do it..what ever, but no one is holding a gun to you're head, not scheduling, not the airline..just YOU..you applied to work there remember....just move on if you can...

As for me, well I had given up on the airlines about 2 months ago, but I had worked the employment market so hard, and had so many resumes in circulation had made so many contacts out there, that I was pleasantly surprised and absolutly shocked when my home town airline finally made "several" job offers and asked which one I wanted! this past week....
So my hunt came full circle, I never saw it coming.....I am where I wanted to be the whole time, but never thought I could quailfy.....dreams come true but you have to work them the right way...Good luck to all of you in you're search for happiness....

Yawn..Story over....
 
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hindsight2020

Yeah Buddy
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Oct 14, 2004
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Yeah, I got a comment. Your logic is fine and great. To give some perspective, I am also pursuing aviation outside part 121 (although I do intend to make flying part of my income, not just a hobby) but I gotta tell ya, I feel as though you made no point at all. Here's why I feel this way:

Fortunately, I have seen many sides to making a living...did the corporate gig for 20 years...9 to 5 grind, it was fine and exciting at times, but I had a family to raise and did so, once they were on there own...I was done and my wonderful wife said go do it!...
So, you did what most people here ARE AVOIDING!.... FOR 20 YEARS! Your whole post's point is moot right there. It's like winning the lottery at 95. Yeah great, but WTF can I do with it now?!?! You did the 9-5 because in your assessment of the economics of the matter, that job was to you the best way to afford a family. The problem is that the mere suggestion of "ok, I'm finally done with the 'affording a family' issue, I can now revisit my passions in life" is testament to the fact that your logic is fine and mature, but hardly courageous.

You're battling, once again, with the contentions of vocations that make you happy but "starve" you (not just in the economic sense but in QOL sense as defined by your personal thresholds). Vocations that involve flying, dispatching, small/starting businesses etc etc. I'm afraid after 20 years of 9-5 you didn't discover any new insights man. Now, I'm not one to seek an airline job either, and I'm still facing a ridiculously depressing economic outlook, but you know what? They're gonna have to drag me to that office; mom, pops, granpa's gonna have to come up from the grave, the g/f's gonna have to grab my legs, everybody, before I sell my soul to the 9-5. And the contention around here is that I'm foregoing xx,xxx dollars a year in my contempt for the 9-5. Guess what? Life's a choice. What's the worth of making rent when you're still pissed and unhappy? And I gotta tell ya, I don't have enough fingers to count the number of college buddies that went full face to the corporate thing and now, 12-32 months later, are unhappy, seeking a way out and saying 'yeah, fark the (X)xxK salary'. I wish you well in your future endeavors, I'm sure your family is proud of you as a provider and a human being, but some of us don't want to wait 20 years to realize that 20 years won't mitigate or change the outcome of the fundamental questions of vocational happiness and the attempt to meet economic stability at the same time. I'm sorry you had to wait that long to attain that insight.
 
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rvsm410

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My point was missed....and courage??

Well Life happens, ya get married and then the kids come...its a big anchor having to provide and make choices that affect some many..my corporate job gave me the retirement income that allowed me to leave after my kids left, my wifes position further secured us with benefits.....

I understand you dont want the 9-5, I did not originally want it either, but it worked out that way..I am in my Mid 40's...life still has a lot to give..

Now with the kids gone, financial load greatly reduced, you really dont think walking away from 20 years of senority with a major aerospace firm did not take some courage? You think it was easy to risk my entire retirement account to purchase a new business? Boy, you got to be one tough GI or somthing....

As for stability, I earned that by being responsible to my family, raise my boys, and working very hard to provide my second chance....I learned many lessions Pal, one of them was to keep priorities, work them out and finish the job....I have been in the airlines for 5 years now, moving around and looking for the right opportunity that would meet my personal QQL thresholds, I was just hired by a what I would term as my dream 121 company.....no commute, and a money making airline!

I fly for a hobby, thats true, I work because I want too, and the right PAX airline is was I worked the past 5 years to attain...I have my cake and eating it too....

This whole thread was started as a result of the other thread here from a pilot stating he had no control over his life working in the airlines.....he does if he works at changing....no that he is learning what it really means to be an Airline Pilot and the life it brings...

If your a plumber, dont complain about getting wet.....if you dont want to be away from you're family alot dont be a doctor...if once you get to the goal you set out to atain and it's not what your expected...change what you dislike about ot some way or move on....

Good luck to as well, life needs some luck and hard work, it can pay off, mine did.
 
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hindsight2020

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I do concede I missed the intent of your post, in that I apologize. I also would like to clarify that I did not intend to question the courage and commitment that you have shown for your family in raising and maintain it. Your actions are commendable and respected by me. I intend to pursue the raising of my future family with the same passion as my folks did for me, value which clearly resonates with your experience on the matter.

I fundamentally agree with your assertion that one must pick one's poison and not bitch about it in so far as it is a CHOSEN poison. I guess it all got lost in translation, so to speak, but we agree in that point of value.

I guess my contempt for your 'corporate route' shines through in my reply; in that, I perhaps show my young age when compared to your journey. See, I hear what you mean when you speak about the risks and the courage it takes for you to walk away from that aerospace firm.

The problem is I just don't don't have any sympathy in general for the corporate route. You spoke about the family and kids as an anchor. That says a lot right there. Your responsibilities towards them necessitated a certain income level and a certain lifestyle and you went for the 20-yr plunge, but your family shouldn't mean your soul's death sentence...or for that matter be mutually exclusive to what drives you. I understand that life isn't perfect and sacrificies have to be made, I just think taking the 'money job' is in essence the easy way out. I like to believe that true value comes from a life pursued passiontely and painfully honestly. Without antagonizing your life choices, which clearly I am in no position to judge by a long shot, the only thing I would have done different than you would have been NOT taking that corporate job. Your family shouldn't be an anchor, it should be your boat to keep ya from the storm, and that analogy right there tells me all I need to infer about your REAL vocational satisfaction for the past 20 years.... and that's a shame. But I respect your reasons. I would like my boy/girl growing up to go to high school and BELIEVE that 'my father enjoys his life'. There is no way I can teach him/her to pursue life the way I would want to pursue it [passionately] with a base argument of 'well, ya gotta do whatya gotta do, 9-5 but it pays the bills now go get a degree..a MARKETABLE one this time please...' That's just not good enough for me; and of course I'll have the next 20 years to either put my foot in my mouth :D or prove myself worthy of that statement above. I guess that's where I disagreed with your post.

Like I said before, we do agree on the fundamental point you were making about vocational choices, mobility, re-inventing yourself if something is not quite right etc etc. One should not just sit there and ask for recourse, because life is very unsympathetic in that respect. Once again, I do apologize if my reply came off as questioning of your commitment to your family or your personal resolve, that wasn't the intent.

I think more people should actively pursue a good hard look at one's motives as we move through life stages, your post being a good example of this exercise. Maybe we could all find something worth fighting for and/or changing about our present condition to make a valuable difference in our future one. My $0.02 and then some.

Tailwinds.
 
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Goose Egg

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I'll throw in my $0.02. I'm not going to say whether the pencil-pushing gig is a good thing or not. It's something that I hope I my life never comes to, and I say that as a current MBA student. But you never know what life will bring you, and if it were a choice between my family eating and having a place to live and flying for a living, I'd opt for pencil-pushing. I'd hope it was at least in the aviation industry somewhere, so at least I could have that satisfaction.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure that's a choice I'll have to make. To be honest with you all, I have been quite blessed in my aviation career so far, and I have no reason to doubt that those blessings will continue--especially if I keep "living right." I don't think there is any one particular area of aviation where one is guaranteed success or failure--I think it is up to the individual.

I think one needs to decide what they want out of aviation and be selective. Ask yourself if the next job you are taking is a step forward, back, or sideways, and always make sure you are stepping forward.

-Goose
 
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rvsm410

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2020:

Excellent post young man..you write very well, and no apology required..I hope you can hit the career path you always dreamed of right away. Dont get me wrong on my family..I love them and dont resent them at all, however it did "anchor" me at that time to that 20 year carer path that I was on. responsibility had to prevail.
I am proud of the success my boys are seing now in there early 20's.

My intent here was to make a point to what seems to me many dishearted people that are complaining about the "normal" lifestyle of a pro Pilot....like they were stuck.....we all realize the airline industry is changing, it may not be the place for alot of people now and they should keep their options open...

Good discussion.
 
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Skyline

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Walk Away from the Dream

Family Man

How can one just walk away for a life's dream? Everything they have ever known or worked towards since early childhood? We all understand that life isn't far and that change is hitting the aviation industry pretty hard but it isn't like flipping a switch and poof you are a plumber. Giving up on ones dream is akin to a death of sorts. It isn't that easy. It has been obvious to me for years that the only good place for a family man to be in this industry is with a good airline. I also knew that there were fewer and fewer good seats left. I know that I am licked but it still isn't easy letting go. And to what? Pilots have few job skills outside of the flight deck. I read an article recently about just that.
I have a wonderful wife and soon to be four sons. I can't just pick up again and take a new hire job at Skywest. I am beaten and it is not easy to take.

Skyline
 

rvsm410

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Skyline said:
Family Man

How can one just walk away for a life's dream? Everything they have ever known or worked towards since early childhood? We all understand that life isn't far and that change is hitting the aviation industry pretty hard but it isn't like flipping a switch and poof you are a plumber. Giving up on ones dream is akin to a death of sorts. It isn't that easy. It has been obvious to me for years that the only good place for a family man to be in this industry is with a good airline. I also knew that there were fewer and fewer good seats left. I know that I am licked but it still isn't easy letting go. And to what? Pilots have few job skills outside of the flight deck. I read an article recently about just that.
I have a wonderful wife and soon to be four sons. I can't just pick up again and take a new hire job at Skywest. I am beaten and it is not easy to take.

Skyline


You are in a corner for sure, 4 kids....I can only suggest that you try to prepare yourself for another career field at the airline you are at..maybe in management so you can make more money.....if flying is the only thing you want to do, then try starting a side business that you can sup the income with...

I hate to see stories like this, so many out there...maybe there is a home biz that your wife can do to make $$ while she cares for the kids...? You are like my very good friend that is stuck at US...27 years there too senior to move and start over...good luck to you....
 

Skyline

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Rvsm410

RVSM410,

Thanks for the condolence. Life is an adventure.


Skyline
 

Swaayze

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RVSM,

Kudos to you for being a real man and a great father. I suspect, as I get older with kids of my own, that so many of us have some degree of disillusionment (is that a real word?) and restricted hope for our own lives. The love for my children far outweighs desires for personal enrichment. Sounds to me like you have it as right as it can be.

Skyline,

You pretty much summed up my feelings exactly. I don't think very many people here can really understand these feelings until they experience them. I have been an airline pilot for well over a decade and yet I am a probie at a very stagnant regional (which I already spent 5 years at in a previous tour). I am here because I cling to the known and certain - airline piloting (and because I can be based where I want to live). I am seriously considering a move to corporate flying, or even to non-flying work, but I just can't seem to pull the trigger. I took this job thinking I could ride it out 'til the left seat comes, but that will be take so long that it is practically financial suicide. This is, of course, not to mention the sour feelings stirred by some of the children on here who currently Captain jets on many of the routes I used to fly as a mainline pilot. I, too, feel beaten - yet I cannot seem to say "uncle".

FYI, for those who think this is whining....I absolutely take full personal responsibility (seemingly a novel concept nowadays, but I digress...) for the choices I've made: a few good, most quite poor. That doesn't make it any easier on my psyche, however.

Now back to your regularly scheduled banter....
 
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Skyline

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Kids

Swaayze,

Thanks man. Last Friday my oldest kid had a music recital at his school. It is nice to be home and able to participate in all those things I missed before. I was laid off from my last airline two years ago. Since then we moved back to our hometown and have enjoyed the rural lifestyle. We were all good troopers during the airline years. We moved a lot and lived in some big and lonely cities. My wife and I hated the low wages and bad schools. Now that we are home again we are amongst our friends and family again. Our QOL it fantastic. The kids are in good schools and we can afford to live like kings here where our dollar didn't go very far in the city. I still miss the dream everyday and I am sure to carry a small bowling ball in my chest for the rest of my life, but there are few other options. It sounds awful but my biggest hope is that my dream airline will strike and I can get on as a scab someday. Outside of there nothing else fits my needs.

Skyline
 
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