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Job Satisfaction Question

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Bird Nerd
May 13, 2002
This question is directed towards folks who fly for a living:

1) Do you still enjoy the actual flying?

2) Do you like the company you work for and the aviation biz environment?

My take on the biz is that most people get into it because they enjoy flying. Speculate most pilots when they were younger thought it would be a pretty good job to have. Unlike a lot of other occupations where people fall into their jobs (Doubt if too many kids day dream about being an assistant manager at Wal-Mart some day).

After a person gets the flying job, the realities settle in. That is, working for a company, working with people and customers you may not like, the travelling (!), having your abilities tested via check rides, etc.

Appreciate the feedback.
There is a great poll that's been on the board that's called "Would you do it again," or something to that effect. It might answer a little bit of your question, too.
Working in Aviation

I have not flown for a living in more than eight years, but I still want to respond.

Mostly, I always enjoyed the actual flying. My last job was training Middle Eastern students on a fat contract. The company for whom I worked was owned by three United captains. Its primary business was selling type ratings and training United applicants for the United sim ride. These people knew nothing about civilian flight training in light airplanes.

We did a lot of long dual cross countries in that job. The students really didn't need me along, but the managers insisted that we go along because (1) the company supposedly was hemmoraging and they wanted to earn revenue on the contract, even if it was a ripoff to the students' sponser and/or (2) they were ex-AF coneheads who understood nothing about civilian flight training and because of their military mindset felt that an instructor must always accompany a "student." In any event, although I was logging tons of multi time I rarely was touching the controls and was bored to death, mostly.

All I ever did in aviation was flight instructing. While it never really and truly seemed like real work, such as what I do now, I did relish the times I could put my hands on the controls. On the other hand, I was gratified every time I had a "pass" on an FAA checkride or a Riddle stage check.

The company aspects are probably not that different from other industries. I found that aviation is a real personality business. You meet all kinds of people and you have to be able to deal with them effectively. I had a boss or two who treated me as an adult and as a man. I encountered many more who treated me and others as punks (I was 40 years old!), who had horrible people skills, who were protecting empires and promoting agendas, and who were liars. I had students who were dedicated and mature, who were special people and ordinary people, and those for whom I felt that I was a high-priced babysitter. I worked with instructors who were professional and mature, and who were punks, politicians and backstabbers. I thought that I was through with such people after I left broadcasting. Then, I found many of the same types in the legal profession.

I don't think anyone likes to have his/her abilities put into question by checkrides. A lot depends on the type of checkride and how its conducted. I remember that I was scared to death on my first 141 checkride at ERAU. I understood that if I didn't pass it I wouldn't be hired. I did fine, but I found out much later that people were given multiple opportunities to pass their rides, and some needed the extra chances. So, I shouldn't have been so nervous. My other 141 rides there were pretty mellow. My 141 rides at FSI were extremely superficial, and at Mesa there wasn't that much to them.

My point to all this is it probably doesn't matter where you work or what you do. You'll always be watched and scrutinized. People are basically the same, no matter where you go or what you do. You'll encounter all kinds of people and will have to learn how to navigate around them. Just choose something you enjoy doing or at least like doing.
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1) Yes, I LOVE the actual flying. When I was with the regionals, it was a little monotonous, but still fun. Now that I'm flying corporate, I fly to the coolest places, all days trips. I LOVE IT!

2) I like the company I work for...however, the two airlines I worked for knew how to take the joy out of flying. The crews were great, but the airline management...well, 'nuf said...
1. I do still love the flying and don't want to do anything else.

2. I enjoy the company I work for. It has its problems and short comings, but so does every company. I have decided that I can live with these problems for a while and will try to make the best of it.

3. As someone hinted at above, it is a challenge to not let the environment you are flying in suck the joy out of flying. I have been at a commuter airline for a year now, and I am convinced that there is a whining portion of the interview. There are a number of individuals that I actively try to avoid, just so I don't have to listen to them complain. If you don't like something, fix it. If you can't fix it, then you have to decide if you can live with it. If you can't, leave. I have decided that I can live with the current problems and don't want to listen to anyone complaining to me in an attempt to tell me otherwise. If you are determined to enjoy your job, I think you will. If you fly with another crewmember with the same attitude, it will be a great trip.

Good luck.

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