Do you ever question your career choice?

aviator1978

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How many of you ever stopped and wondered, "Would I have been better off / more happy being a ______________?"

If you could go back in time, to the point at which you decided to be a career pilot, would you choose the same path? What would you do differently. How has aviation changed since you first became a (paid) pilot?

I'm just curious. I'm still a newbie, and it seems to me that there are some bitter pilots out there. Don't get me wrong, I love flying, as I'm sure you all do.....but does this question ever cross YOUR mind?

Feel free to vent.
 

MD11Drvr

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aviator1978 said:
How many of you ever stopped and wondered, "Would I have been better off / more happy being a ______________?"

If you could go back in time, to the point at which you decided to be a career pilot, would you choose the same path? What would you do differently. How has aviation changed since you first became a (paid) pilot?

I'm just curious. I'm still a newbie, and it seems to me that there are some bitter pilots out there. Don't get me wrong, I love flying, as I'm sure you all do.....but does this question ever cross YOUR mind?

Feel free to vent.


There are days I wish i was a police officer which was my career path right up to a couple of weeks prior to the acadamy when I was launched off of my motorcycle. I love my job and I make a lot more money than a LEO does but I hate working for in the airline industry. I have met some of the finest individuals you could hope to know while flying, but we are all still working for the most heartless,characterless thieves on the planet. Airline management tend to be the biggest bunch of scumbags on the planet that parasite from one airline to another. Just venting................
 

SnowBoardBum

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I agree with MD11DRVR about airline mgmt. Im sick of it, the game that is. Im changing my carrer and am going to do something for myself. I do enjoy fliying, wish I could go back to when it was fun, but its just not worth it to me anymore. I dont feel valued as an employee nor do I feel Im compensated appropriately. I dont get any gratification from the job. Some people may like it because it can be easy and you get comfortable. Sometimes you can get some good time off, you get great travel bennies so there are some pluses to it, depends on the person though.
Im just not into working my arse off to line someone elses pocket. Id rather work just as hard and line my own.

However I dont regret doing it. Ive learned alot met some great people and achieved a goal. Time to chalk it up to experience and move on. I wouldnt have changed a thing.
 

FN FAL

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MD11Drvr said:
There are days I wish i was a police officer which was my career path right up to a couple of weeks prior to the acadamy when I was launched off of my motorcycle. I love my job and I make a lot more money than a LEO does but I hate working for in the airline industry. I have met some of the finest individuals you could hope to know while flying, but we are all still working for the most heartless,characterless thieves on the planet. Airline management tend to be the biggest bunch of scumbags on the planet that parasite from one airline to another. Just venting................
I hear what you are saying, but cop land would have jaded you and made a liar out of you as well. Believe me, there are a lot of cops that I know that wished they were working in the factory I ran away from to go into flying. If that makes any sense to you at all.
 

FR8mastr

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If I could do it again, I would do something else that hopefully would pay enough for me to fly for fun on the weekends. This would work as if I had another job I most likely would have weekends off.
 

FN FAL

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SnowBoardBum said:
I agree with MD11DRVR about airline mgmt. Im sick of it, the game that is. Im changing my carrer and am going to do something for myself. I do enjoy fliying, wish I could go back to when it was fun, but its just not worth it to me anymore. I dont feel valued as an employee nor do I feel Im compensated appropriately. I dont get any gratification from the job. Some people may like it because it can be easy and you get comfortable. Sometimes you can get some good time off, you get great travel bennies so there are some pluses to it, depends on the person though.
Im just not into working my arse off to line someone elses pocket. Id rather work just as hard and line my own.

However I dont regret doing it. Ive learned alot met some great people and achieved a goal. Time to chalk it up to experience and move on. I wouldnt have changed a thing.
Did you ever see that skit on "mad tv" called "lowered expectations"?

Come on down to feeder land...if you're a good stick, management stays the hell out of your hair and you get an o.k. paycheck. We don't have none of that ALPA controversy and the cutbacks that the rest of the "regionals" have.

Fortunately, I could get laid no matter whether I had a cool occupation or not, so glamor factor was not a factor when I chose to hang my hat on flying as a mercinary for the "purple promised" land.
 

mar

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If it's easy, it ain't worth doing.

aviator1978 said:
How many of you ever stopped and wondered, "Would I have been better off / more happy being a ______________?"

If you could go back in time, to the point at which you decided to be a career pilot, would you choose the same path? What would you do differently. How has aviation changed since you first became a (paid) pilot?

I'm just curious. I'm still a newbie, and it seems to me that there are some bitter pilots out there. Don't get me wrong, I love flying, as I'm sure you all do.....but does this question ever cross YOUR mind?

Feel free to vent.

First I'm gonna vent and then I'll wax diplomatic.

I'm gettin' really tired of spoiled middle class Americans thinking that their job choice should come down as a golden shaft of divine inspiration that leaves them feeling all warm and fuzzy and self-actualized.

<deep breath>

Am I the luckiest pilot to walk the face of the Earth? I think so.

Did I work hard, make incalculable sacrifices, get screwed by management, almost kill myself five times (four times in an airplane), have a mid-life crisis at the age of 28, amass $30,000 in debt, live like a priest and drink like an unrepetant booze hound?

Yes. Yes! For Pete's sake YES!

But God Dang, if it were easy and nice then it wouldn't be worth doing.

To answer your questions:

I was 15 when I decided to become a pilot. Would I do it again if I were 15 again....probably not.

Too much work. But I didn't know that then.

However, am I glad I did it? Am I glad I stuck it out for 22 years. Hell yeah.

And if you can't reconcile those two statements then you will forever be miserable in this career.

Bottom line: You will only find the satisfaction of a job well done deep inside yourself. As long as you (speaking in the third person) continue to look for an outside source of satisfaction you will always be lost, miserable, frustrated and generally a pain in the butt to work with.

Now, snatch this pebble from my hand.
 

BenderGonzales

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Nope, not a chance. I would have tried for law-school or computer science or economics and flown part-time as a hobby.

I can only think of a handful of days that this "profession" has been worth the hassle.
 

pilotyip

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I am with Mar all the way; this has been a fantastic adventure. I would change very little, I wanted to be a pilot from the time I saw my first airplane I remember in 1947, a P-51 Mustang. Flying as a Navy pilot was the high light of my career. I got out of flying for about 5 years, did not like being away from airplanes, airports and other pilots, came back and never looked back. The satisfaction has to be internal, that you can control. If the satisfaction is external, that you can not control. This is still a career where a high school grad has the potential to make $100K per year by his mid 30's doing something they love to do. How can it get any better than that?
 

Skyline

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Hey Man

pilotyip said:
I am with Mar all the way; this has been a fantastic adventure. I would change very little, I wanted to be a pilot from the time I saw my first airplane I remember in 1947, a P-51 Mustang. Flying as a Navy pilot was the high light of my career. I got out of flying for about 5 years, did not like being away from airplanes, airports and other pilots, came back and never looked back. The satisfaction has to be internal, that you can control. If the satisfaction is external, that you can not control. This is still a career where a high school grad has the potential to make $100K per year by his mid 30's doing something they love to do. How can it get any better than that?

Most millionaires have only a high school diploma. These days I think it is easier for a hard working laborer to make 100K than a pilot ever will. Additionally it looks like you started back when things were still good. Today things are pretty bleak for new pilots. Maslow's Hierarchy of needs says that a persons basic requirements need to be met before they can find satisfaction. If you are living in a slum and sleeping on the floor with three other poor pilots it is difficult to be satisfied.

My theory is that there are a few lucky aviators out there who lucked into good jobs when needed. They were always a Captain and made good money most of the time. Then these same guys voice to the world how great aviation is and how the rest of us are just disrespectful punks. Their experience is not common and therefore they didn't have to suffer the same setbacks and disappointments as the masses do. It is these same guys who are asked to speak at universities, conventions and flight schools. They profess their love and of how great aviation is and spread the disease to the next generation. I think it is wrong. Colleges also should have a few average pilots give a speech as a reality check, but that doesnt sell pilots licences.

I wish I had stayed with the Fire Department. If I had I would be retired by now.

SkyLine
 

satpak77

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Skyline

I agree 100% with your sentiments (sp?)

A career in public service, while yes it has its own BS, typically gives more "I accomplished ____ factor" than a non public service job. In addition, the benefits package are usually pretty good, and most allow full retirement by age 50.

No, you will never fly 777's to Paris, working for the fire department, but lets be honest? Who in todays applicant pool, and/or not already a non-furloughed FO at a major, will EVER fly 777's to Paris?

AA has 2800 pilots on furlough as of Jan 2005. Those of us that think a "senior RJ Captain" at Eagle, age 35, is gonna flow-thru upward and see a 777 cockpit by age 60? I don't know, but the chances are slim. How about that 25 year old flying checks in a Baron, who is in next months Eagle class?

etc etc

By the way, every major LCC airline in history has furloughed and had hiring freezes. "Never had a furlough" Delta is in bankruptcy and has imposed huge pay cuts, and furloughed 475 pilots. Even UPS tried to furlough some pilots a few years back. No, LUV, Airtran, and JBLU have not furloughed but nothing is guaranteed in the airline industry. A government/public service job offers much more stability.

FYI, the guy who DID retire (from UAL) flying 777's had his pension plan terminated and his retiree medical benefits put at serious risk.

Nice industry huh? Really takes care of their own don't they...

I think Kit Darby should be indicted for fraud and the major aviation colleges should put a course in the curriculum called "Realities of Aviation 101" or similar.
 
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