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Old 12-16-2012, 08:13 AM   #1  
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Default Family and Flying

Thankful to be at a reputable company flying cargo, a guard/reserve guy in a good unit, have a wife and baby. I love my days at home with my family and even was able to bid off Christmas my first year (I do work on 26th).

The other side of the family is giving me a boatload of grief this year about "being away" over the holidays and missing our little ones life events. I am fairly perplexed by their point of view - they even hinted I should consider a career change (not gonna happen). I looked at the calendar and counted a lot more days at home than away.

This is usually good cockpit/flight deck talk - but I am interested in hearing what others think. Has this job kept you closer to your family? Hurt your family? Both? Would you have changed anything? If so, what? I don't believe there is such thing as a perfect job - I am a realist.

I appreciate your thoughts and have a Merry Christmas wherever you all will be!
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:27 AM   #2  
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Position: B777 FO FDX, C130 ANG
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If you're at FedEx don't quit. Life will get even better with seniority. I for one will be working over Xmas, but had ThxG off with vacation and will have only worked one day trip in the past month and a half when I go back. What other job can get you that kind of time off with one week of vacation? The toughest part of being away is maintaining the emotional connection with the folks back home IMO, but the time off isn't the issue overall if you use your off time well and limit the Guard stuff somewhat. If you're commuting to both jobs, I can see where that would be very hard.

I'm not trying to downplay how hard it can be to be away on a 12 day trip, but there are all types of trips and flying at FedEx that you can take advantage of with some seniority that will keep you home a lot more. This is a great career (although not for everyone), and it's very hard to duplicate a FDX career anywhere else IMO.

I know many folks that work 80 hour weeks and make 1/2 what I do and probably are home less hours than I am overall. That's just the reality of the market these days. I could drop down to 8 days of work a month and make what they do... so you have to compare apples to apples. The reality is however, that we all like to maximize our $$ for our time away in this world, but if you can forgo a little $$ then you will have even more time home.

(BTW: My wife may have a different POV, but oh well... Now back to my divorce papers! ;-)

Last edited by Flaps50; 12-16-2012 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:30 AM   #3  
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If I could find a job that pays the same as I make right right now (flying or not), but has me home every night, I would jump on it.

I've got two young kids at home and being away from them for days on end is by far the worst part of this job. Maybe things will change when they are teenagers and don't want to talk to me, or out of the house and on their own, but for now it kills me to put on my uniform and walk away from my family.

I have a good wife, and she understands the profession and plays the role of part-time single mom well, but it without question adds stress to any family to be gone so often and for so long.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:55 AM   #4  
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Stay senior. That's what I did until the kids went to college. Wouldn't trade the pay and seat for the time with them.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:13 AM   #5  
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The only family input that counts is your spouse, and kids...If you are doing what you love to do, and your family is ok with it, what's the problem?!!

How many dads can coach a soccer team, volunteer at the kids' school, go on a lunch date with the wife or girlfriend (or wife AND girlfriend!!)...I have done all of that (except the girlfriend part!!), and so have many others.

I have learned to ignore input from anyone outside of my immediate family...when your in-laws or your parents start paying for a shelter and food and clothing and retirement $$$, and start paying for the kids' college, may be then they have some rights!!

And yes, it does get better with seniority...you have worked hard to get to a good place. Don't let this get you down, man, it'll make your life at home more stressful.

Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:31 AM   #6  
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There's not a "100% solution " in this business, and it's a constant juggle to mix and match family needs and work...BUT...I have been home more than I was in the USAF (overall), and have been able to work the schedule to get to the vast majority of big events in my kid's lives (sports, school, etc). Have I missed some? Yes absolutely. And the washing machine (or something else) always breaks when I'm away. Still, my IMMEDIATE family understands and that's all that matters. The rest of the extended family has very little understanding of how this job works, so I pay little if any attention to them. The key is having enough seniority to be able to massage your schedule to your needs. Juniority sucks for doing that, tho' if you live in domicile you can mitigate it somewhat.

When it's all said and done, it's down to individual family needs and wants. If your bunch is good with it, that's all that matters. If they're not, it bears sitting down and talking about with them, so that they understand the limfacs...
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:43 AM   #7  
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Some people (sounds like maybe your extended family) attach a large amount of importance to specific dates, like Dec 25th for example. I think this emphasis is poorly placed - the important thing is celebrating with your family. Who cares about the date? I was an airline brat and my Dad was gone on Dec 25th fairly regularly, so we just did the Santa thing on a day when he was home. During the rest of the year, overall my Dad was home more and able to do lots more with us kids than a 9-5 type person, especially when school was out during the summer. Just because a 9-5er sleeps in a bed that's in the same house as his kids doesn't mean he spends more quality time with the family than someone like you. As others have said on this thread, if you and your wife (and kids) are happy with your job and the lifestyle it yields, nothing else matters.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #8  
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Even after almost two decades of marriage, and most of it with Atlas, my in-laws don't quite understand the job, or the business...they are M-F, 9-5ers, and they still ask me if everything is ok when I'm at home on reserve..."Are you sure you are getting paid this month??!!"; I say, "yes, mom, everything is fine"...to which she says, "but you have not worked this month at all". She obviously doesn't understand that I'm available to the company while I'm on reserve, and therefore, working!!

So, how much value should I put to their views?...ok, I listen to it, and even evaluate and consider what they are saying, but ultimately, decide with my wife and kids what my next month's bid should be.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:27 PM   #9  
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After the holidays it may be time to get word out that its your career and other than your wife no other influences are allowed. Ill assume your wife knew the score before she married you. In -laws that want to tell about your job will be soon trying to tell you how to raise your children. Not allowed as far as I'm concerned. FYI I'm a very old timer....
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:33 PM   #10  
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I have been doing this flying thing (with a break or two) for the better part of 27 years. The wife has been there ALL the way..... pretty rare in this industry. I work at a Supp Carrier where we are gone 17 then home 13/14...... and for US... this is far better than any other schedule I have had. It works for us... certainly not for everyone. The wife has ALWAYS supported my desire to work in this industry and yes sometimes its difficult, but what situation isn't. I take extra care to spend time with my kids and the wife doing what they want to do when I am home. Good luck.
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