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Career Change Poll

Mtnjam

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How many of you guys out there have flown for a 121 Carrier and upon working there for awhile realized this isn't what it's cracked up to be and that the industry may not be for you? How many of you left? Did you come back? what did you do when you left? What was it about the 121 Carrier that you didn't like? I thought I would throw this out there and see how many people have responses...........
 

C425Driver

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I left after 5 years at the airlines. I work for a friend now who has a growing business. I make more money, I'm home every night, and I'm much happier with my lifestyle now. I don't regret my career decisions. I had a lifelong dream to be an airline pilot and I achieved my goal. I'm proud of my accomplishments but it was time to move on. I still fly on the side and I'll never quit flying, but it will be a hobby for me as opposed to a career. The things that I didn't like about 121: Labor unrest, ALPA and the all of the infighting that it breeds, the schedule, the instablility, greedy management who lines their pockets with millions while thousands are out of work, concessions, hotel vans, dirty hotel beds, low morale. I liked most of the people I work with and I loved the actual flying itself but I grew tired of everything that goes along with it.

C425Driver
 

ClubORD

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I 2nd that...

Starting law school next year. I have no regrets about becoming an airline pilot and would encourage others to experience it themselves. In my opinion the money is not there anymore. I know there are some great paying/QOL airline jobs out there but the long term personal and family sacrifice it takes to get to FedEx, UPS, etc. is not worth it...to me at least.

Good luck all!
 

pilotyip

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Fantastic Adventure

Worked for two 121 carriers, the second one was going out of business, so I went corporate, lost that job in the depression of 1982. Started my own buiness while moon lighting for Uncle Sams' P-3 flying club, run it for five years, missed being around pilots and airplanes when back flying for a commuter, it went out of business in the depression of 1991, got a corp gig again, they sold their airplane in 1996, went back to a 121 cargo outfit, they went out of business in 1997. Then this fantastic job at USA Jet airlines came along, I am the luckiest SOB in the world. I am living well, doing what I want, and although I missed the really good jobs all in all in has been a real adventure and I would change very little. What is the difference between a recession and a depression, in a depression you loose your job. In a recession other people loose their jobs.
 
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VampyreGTX

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I hear the 'horror' stories about the airlines and the pilots jobs; however, I'm still looking forward to being in the cockpit one day. Let me take some complaints from the jobs I've had:

Schedule sucks, management is unqualified or doesn't care about anything but their pockets, been laid off, business trips resulting in long waits for delayed flights, dirty hotel beds, death-rides in taxis, customers can't seem to stop complaining, etc. etc. almost sounds like all the complaints I hear from the pilots. I figure if I will be miserable at a company, might as well make it doing something I enjoy, instead of sitting in a cubicle all day.
 

WhiteCloud

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VampyreGTX said:
I figure if I will be miserable at a company, might as well make it doing something I enjoy, instead of sitting in a cubicle all day.
I agree with all that has been said. My current "cubicle" moves along at 450kts and takes me away from the people that are important to me. Flying is fun but the nature of the career is tough on families. Why be miserable though? Lots of jobs out there that don't require you to be in one place all the time. Fire and Rescue, Emergency Services, Police Officer, School Teacher, Heating and AC or UPS Delivery etc can all get you out of a cubicle and on your own to a certain degree (what I like about a pilot job) with stability and better money than flying around in circles all day at an airline.
 

VampyreGTX

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WhiteCloud said:
I agree with all that has been said. My current "cubicle" moves along at 450kts and takes me away from the people that are important to me. Flying is fun but the nature of the career is tough on families. Why be miserable though? Lots of jobs out there that don't require you to be in one place all the time. Fire and Rescue, Emergency Services, Police Officer, School Teacher, Heating and AC or UPS Delivery etc can all get you out of a cubicle and on your own to a certain degree (what I like about a pilot job) with stability and better money than flying around in circles all day at an airline.
Still, I have a co-worker and a friend that is married to a fire-fighter/paramedic. The divorce rate there is pretty high as well. Even they complain about aspects of the job. I don't think I have ever met one person that has not complained about something with a job.

Is there anything like a perfect job? Does that even exist?
 

TIGV

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Sometimes, in the dead of eve, when all is still, and the night flows with liquid grace around my bedroom....I wake up screaming from the still sleep fragmented recollections of what I have given for this career in the last 15 years.
I must apply all my willpower, in moments like these, not to tiptoe down to the basement and beat the skin off my face with a bicycle chain.
 

FurloughedAgain

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After 10 yrs at the airlines, I switched to corporate.

Much better lifestyle.
 

Caveman

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No regrets. I changed careers at 38 and it has been everything I hoped it would be and a few things that I didn't expect (some good, some not so good). My biggest disappointment has been scheduling. I simply don't understand why it's so hard to give a pilot a decent schedule and then leave them alone to go fly it. The money's decent. The time off is better than most jobs. The flying is fun. The benefits are pretty good at my company. All in all, I still like it a lot.
 

4BlueBars

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MntJam, it didn't take you long for the SJS to wear off. How long have you been at Pinchnickle? 8 mo? Although I completely understand where you're coming from. It's not really what I thought it would be either.
 

WhiteCloud

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VampyreGTX said:
Still, I have a co-worker and a friend that is married to a fire-fighter/paramedic. The divorce rate there is pretty high as well. Even they complain about aspects of the job. I don't think I have ever met one person that has not complained about something with a job.

Is there anything like a perfect job? Does that even exist?
I think it all depends on your mind set and those of your spouse. The irregular nature of some jobs make them harder on a home life that others. Problems can fester when you're away for a few days at a time and the hotel/travel lifestyle certainly promotes extra curricular activity when things aren't going so well at home.
 

Goose Egg

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I've never flown at a 121 carrier, but I've got to admit that I'm not real excited about it. I mean, I'll do it if I have to, but... only if I have to.

-Goose
 

TransMach

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121 vs ???

I worked for two 121 carriers, several 135 and even certificated a 135 op as 121. I fly 135 charter now and absolutely love it. We work as many as 16 days a month, stay in great hotels, the airplanes often come home empty so we don't spend a lot of time sitting around away from home. I fly all over the world in great equipment with outstanding airmen and our client base can't be beat.

I can't say anything bad about the operation or the profession ... now that I'm away from the airlines.

TransMach
 

skyaddict

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"After 10 yrs at the airlines, I switched to corporate. Much better lifestyle."

Not flame baiting at all- since I am seriously thinking about switching to corporate... but I hear this every so often and then I ask around as to what a corporate schedule is, and it seems there are rarely more than a few golden days off a month, with the bulk of days off basically being whatever day you happen not to fly, sitting within an hour or two on reserve with a pager. And you have to live in whatever podunk your job is in. To me, that sounds like a dream job only if you want to live in that particular podunk and you have a spouse or GF that doesn't mind only making hard plans for 4 or 5 days a month, and maybe just one weekend. What am I missing?

As for the original thread topic... I agree with the pros/cons of 121 jobs posted thus far. I say that as a 121 furloughee from company with an industry-leading contract, now sitting at the bottom of another 121 regional with a horrible contract. The lack of lateral transfer in an industry (airlines that is) where every job and every company is a crapshoot basically sucks, as does the perpetual whipsawing of contracts. The old joke that one day we will all work for Walmart is basically true... except we will all work for Mesa, or its equivalent (as each company transforms itself into Mesa or loses its flying to such a carrier), it seems. The future for airline jobs now is overseas, where the growth really is.
 

Yank McCobb

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For all the doom and gloom that everyone spouts here, I had an extremely rewarding 121 career with a top company. I retired 3 years early with a VERY nice retirement. Maybe I was fortunate in that my career choice was a company that everyone laughed at or derided for "bringing down the profession" until the last few years when pilots couldn't beat the doors down hard enough.

Take your best shot and live with it. DO NOT LOOK BACK. There is nothing to see behind you.
 

bigboeings

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I have been going to write this for a while, but a thread came up that was along the line that I was thinking about. Like most guys here Ive been caught in the mess that he busines is in also. So I have had to question myself, and do some real soul searching. Having worked at other jobs before, at least I do know what that lifestyle is like. What i came to realize is that even if this career has gone downwards lately it still has some plusses that are hard to get over. I may be gone several days in a row, but when Im home ,Im home all day and night. Especially in the summer I see my kids all day long, go camping with them on Tuesday, and to the beach on Wednesday. I still have a minimum of 12 to 14 days off, and sometimes 18. I'm not rich at all, but I make a living without working 50+ hrs a week. I can see for some it does get old, and I do get tired of all the BS from time to time, but the one good thing is when you get in the air, you pretty much leave it all behind. Well enough said, maybe Im in the minority any more.
 

skyaddict

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Well said too, BigBoeings. I'm not saying it's all negative. I truly love what I do for a living, even if I and most of us are not or no longer paid anything remotely what we are worth. (Of course an economist would say that what we are worth is the market rate of supply and demand now, and our profession, unlike many others, has never kept supply tightly under control the way the oil industry does by controlling production, or doctors and lawyers do by controlling barriers to entry.)

I see many who hate their job even on the job. I hate that I am not home anything as close to what I'd like to be; I hate commuting and archaic policies that make commuting difficult; and I hate being paid chickenfeed wages (first year FO pay at a regional after being furloughed at twice that pay), but I love the flying part, and certainly 90% of the crews are terrific to work with.
 

Irish Pilot

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I suppose it may depend at where you are at in the industry as well. Personally I am still enjoying life at my job (a small regional caliber 121 op out of Vegas) and having upgraded made it even better. Unfortunately I HATE Las Vegas and want desperately to move back to the midwest but have been unsucessful finding a job except for regionals...and I really think I would like to avoid that market. Ive been trying to find something corporate, but you know how that barrier is to break.

I probably think about jumping into another industry once a week. Not because I dont like flying...but I too have felt the pressure of wanting to be home every night...having every weekend off...having holidays off....and making good money right away. I dont not want to be one of those pilots who looks back and thinks "Man I sacrificed way too much to get where I am."

I want to spend my life living it...buying a house...having kids...ect. I dont want to have to spend another 10 years of my life getting to a position where I can do that. The downside is that there isnt anything that I know of that excites me like flying airplanes

Its frustrating though...Im 3 years out of college and most of my good friends are already making 6 figures in a job that will last them a lifetime. They have the houses, the toys, all live in the same area, and every week its a new adventure for them. Now granted...the material stuff isnt all that important to me...but it would be nice to have the new house, a new boat and truck to pull it with, etc. These guys may not love their job like I do mine, but they are getting so much out of life every week because they have a stable good paying job. They meet up most nights and go out and then on the weekends they hit the lake and party like rockstars....all the while I am working 12 hours a day 5-6 days a week just trying to clear the bar with the bills and stuff.

And yes....every time I go home I get that "Wow you are a pilot huh...you must make tons of money and hardly ever work!"

Sigh.
 

Ty Webb

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C425Driver said:
I left after 5 years at the airlines. I work for a friend now who has a growing business. I make more money, I'm home every night, and I'm much happier with my lifestyle now. I don't regret my career decisions. I had a lifelong dream to be an airline pilot and I achieved my goal. I'm proud of my accomplishments but it was time to move on. I still fly on the side and I'll never quit flying, but it will be a hobby for me as opposed to a career.C425Driver
Looking at your profile, it seems you never made it beyond the regionals . . . . no wonder you were so unhappy. Wonder if you would have been more happy if you were making $130-$180K with 16-18 days off per month? Maybe not, but I'm not sure your experience was really enough to base a career decision on.

PS, I used to fly corporate, for a very successful law firm and I can tell you that even highly successful lawyers are not necessarily any happier than the pilot dumping their honey-bucket . . . . . copy, copy?
 
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