And just think with over 10,000 hours I could not get an interview with AE in 1996 because I did not have 500 hours in the last year. I only had around 400 hours in MEL turbine. I probalby would not have worked there anyway. Oh to be 33 again just getting out of the Navy.
If you had (and stayed), you'd be an RJ captain in the mid 900's seniority out of 2800 pilots. You'd be getting 14-15 days off per month, 80-95K/year depending on overtime or creative bidding and 75% match on your 401(k) and at least some job security.
Not the best, but not horrible either. Many college grads outside of aviation would consider that a decent living.
I guess Eagle's being forced to take all the 500 hour pilots, becasue all the 1000 hour ones are grabbing the DA-20 slots there for $10K/year more.