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Old 11-20-2018, 04:05 AM   #1  
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Default Why I Left a Pilot Career Worth $8.3 Million

Years ago, I cruised this forum looking for ways other people had successfully bailed out of their airline career. I had realized that my passion was not in flying, but finance. In the midst of my shift in priorities, my ex-fiancee left me, I had an underwater mortgage and an miserable commute to a reserve schedule.

Meanwhile, I was working on a grad degree, an internship, and every minute of my time off was consumed with efforts to rebuild my life from the ground up. Since then, my life has been transformed from top to bottom.

More recently, I wrote two articles: one with the name of this post, and a follow up article to describe how I changed to a different industry and how a "dream job" evolves over time. The full articles are on my personal (non-commercial) website linked below.

I now work from home for a private investment firm after moving from the USA to near London, England, and wanted to give anyone the opportunity to ask me any questions. I also welcome any insights you have about the articles I've written.
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:31 AM   #2  
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Default I have a question!

I have a question!:

Where are the links to your articles?

TIA
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:40 AM   #3  
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Originally Posted by SeamusTheHound View Post
I have a question!:

Where are the links to your articles?

TIA
Good question! My website is linked in my signature, and here are the direct links to the two articles I mentioned:

Leaving the Career:
Why I Left an Airline Pilot Career Worth $8.2 Million

Changing Jobs/Industries:
I Quit My Dream Job After Burning Out and I’ve Never Been Better. This is How I Started Over.

Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:48 AM   #4  
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Default Came back

Yea after my third job in five years after leaving the Navy, early 80's seeing all my airline buddies furloughed. I decided to get out of professional flying and start my own business. Ran it for five year, still flew, in reserves,CI's, warbirds, but I missed being around pilots, airports and airplanes, so I got rid of business and went back to chasing airplanes jobsm, I love it and am as a happy I have ever been
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:07 AM   #5  
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Originally Posted by pilotyip View Post
Yea after my third job in five years after leaving the Navy, early 80's seeing all my airline buddies furloughed. I decided to get out of professional flying and start my own business. Ran it for five year, still flew, in reserves,CI's, warbirds, but I missed being around pilots, airports and airplanes, so I got rid of business and went back to chasing airplanes jobsm, I love it and am as a happy I have ever been
Being an entrepreneur can be subject to its own brand of burnout, did you feel like running the business was too much? Or was the pilot lifestyle a stronger draw than any other factor?
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:47 AM   #6  
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Default Thanks Josh

I like the articles. They are well written and well thought out. I was forced out of aviation after 9-11 and discovered by accident how much better life on the outside can be. My family and I now control how we live and are much happier. I earn more and own my time.

I think it is easy to overlook how important it is to maintain a rhythm of life that is in sync with others. To what end does it serve a pilot to have Tuesday and Wednesday off when friends and family are at work or school? It is easy to lose track of friends, hobbies, and family with an airline schedule.

I miss my airline dream every day but have the perspective of comparison to what my life is like now. Every once in a while I am tempted to return but all it takes is 10 minutes of listening to the hardships of one who is still in the industry to restore a sense of gratitude.

Disclosure Statement: I still go to job fairs on occasion mostly because I have been attending them for over 20 years now. It has become a hobby of mine. If my dream job opportunity were to present itself I am unsure what I would do. In any case, it is nice to have options.

There is life outside of the airlines and it is not all bad.

Skyhigh
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:43 AM   #7  
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I like the articles. They are well written and well thought out. I was forced out of aviation after 9-11 and discovered by accident how much better life on the outside can be. My family and I now control how we live and are much happier. I earn more and own my time.

I think it is easy to overlook how important it is to maintain a rhythm of life that is in sync with others. To what end does it serve a pilot to have Tuesday and Wednesday off when friends and family are at work or school? It is easy to lose track of friends, hobbies, and family with an airline schedule.

I miss my airline dream every day but have the perspective of comparison to what my life is like now. Every once in a while I am tempted to return but all it takes is 10 minutes of listening to the hardships of one who is still in the industry to restore a sense of gratitude.

Disclosure Statement: I still go to job fairs on occasion mostly because I have been attending them for over 20 years now. It has become a hobby of mine. If my dream job opportunity were to present itself I am unsure what I would do. In any case, it is nice to have options.

There is life outside of the airlines and it is not all bad.

Skyhigh
I appreciate your helpful commentary.

Being out of sync is a good way to describe it. It seemed like while flying, everyone was always trying to get home, but it was an endless negotiation of trying to minimize life disruption and lost time.

Another interesting point you make is with earnings. Many pilots I flew with argued that no job had the earnings potential of an airline career, but there are many opportunities that have a higher income potential because they aren't capped by seniority pay scales of an hourly trade job.

The only area I differ is that I don't miss the flying career. While I enjoyed the camaraderie, coming back to the real world felt to me like returning from being deployed in the military. I've made phenomenal friends in my new workplaces, and the work itself has been more challenging and fulfilling without those level-off career points in the airline where I'd start feeling bored and stale.

It sounds like you were forced out, while I voluntarily left after a solid 6+ years. If I had to guess, that might be part of the reason you're still torn between careers?
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:34 AM   #8  
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It was a good read. Thank you.

It was a tough time in our industry, but I survived it by always putting my family first. Flying was never more than a job I enjoyed. Even my first year, at my first airline, I was able to get Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years off. It required a lot of effort on my part (swapping days with pilots or the company, getting days off from the chief, moving days around, reading and understanding the contract, getting lucky, etc.) but I managed to do it.

I’m at a major airline now, and of my 20+ years flying professionally, I have never missed those 3 “major” holidays and rarely missed any important family milestone or occasions. Family always comes first.

Here are just 2 keys to my success:

1) Choose the flying job that allows you to drive to work (30 min - 60 min max) Commuting does not work with quality of life.
2) Bid reserve. Option #1 allows for that. My total time at the airlines, at my 20 year mark, was barley over 5,000 hours. My pay was based on reserve so that was over 17,000 hours of pay.

Basically to all those people who are just starting out...you make this job into whatever you want it to be. You’re in control of your future and your success; personally and professionally. They are both possible if done right.
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:26 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by MySaabStory View Post
It was a good read. Thank you.

It was a tough time in our industry, but I survived it by always putting my family first. Flying was never more than a job I enjoyed. Even my first year, at my first airline, I was able to get Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years off. It required a lot of effort on my part (swapping days with pilots or the company, getting days off from the chief, moving days around, reading and understanding the contract, getting lucky, etc.) but I managed to do it.

I’m at a major airline now, and of my 20+ years flying professionally, I have never missed those 3 “major” holidays and rarely missed any important family milestone or occasions. Family always comes first.

Here are just 2 keys to my success:

1) Choose the flying job that allows you to drive to work (30 min - 60 min max) Commuting does not work with quality of life.
2) Bid reserve. Option #1 allows for that. My total time at the airlines, at my 20 year mark, was barley over 5,000 hours. My pay was based on reserve so that was over 17,000 hours of pay.

Basically to all those people who are just starting out...you make this job into whatever you want it to be. You’re in control of your future and your success; personally and professionally. They are both possible if done right.
Family is the most important thing, I absolutely agree. Even a high paying or prestigious flying job will feel fruitless if your home life is neglected.

In the case of Republic, those two keys backfired, which were another part of my cautionary tale:

1. Republic had base closures, which is what led to me being stranded on an ugly commute from STL-ORD when AA downsized their ops in STL. There weren't any other flight jobs to choose from with STL as a base except for good-old-boy-club corporate flight jobs that were unattainable, or Netjets, where I was in the hiring pool before they furloughed for years.
2. Reserve is conditional on #1, living in base. Reserve at Republic meant you worked your tail off flying 100 hours a month, deadheading everywhere, being sent to reserve in hotel rooms at other bases, being given stand-up duty overnights and maintenance check flights, and being used as a FO in addition to a Captain.

While some things were negotiable, calling in sick on the holidays was not (they required a doctor's note), so you flew those as well while you were low on the seniority totem pole. If you called in sick more than 7 times per year, you were fired.

I think while your keys are a good idea after you've gained seniority and can bid closer to the top of the reserve seniority list, they don't prevent the possibility of being at the bottom for years, as I was.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:11 AM   #10  
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Sometimes the all-consuming drive that some people have to get to a major is something I find confusing...
There are many jobs in aviation that provide QOL without destroying you family life multiple times as job changes and seniority comes and goes.....sure the top end pay is there...but there are other jobs that frankly, aren't half bad, that pay pretty good with much more Quality of life.
Many corporate jobs come to mind, as do feeder freight jobs from SOME companies....the one commonality is, don't try to commute, and or find an employer that will "home base you" so you are "on the clock" on a positive space ticket when you leave the house.....
An amazing number of TRUE corporate jobs (not 135 charter) have limited overnights...and do lots of "out and back trips" so the executives can have dinner at home......

Sometimes people just need to not be so focused on $$$, because frankly places pay what they need to in order to keep the seat filled....low turnover companies with good QOL are out there....
It's all about matching your priorities to a company and lifestyle, not just taking the first regional job, then the first major airline job you can get...
Oh yeah...I forget this sites name ��

Last edited by ZippyNH; 11-21-2018 at 06:53 AM.
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