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Old 07-19-2008, 11:10 PM   #1  
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Question Which Career Are You Leaving?

These questions are for considering leaving the career. I know I've missed some, please add the questions you've asked yourselves, and/or others, and any pro/con mitigations you've cooked up for yourself. Maybe this thread can be useful in asking the right questions to get a personal decision.

Which career exactly are you considering leaving:
Flying as a first year F/O at a regional?
Flying for a bottom feeder 135 outfit?
Flying for a 134.5 outfit?
Being furloughed for the first or fifth time?
Having to deal with the uncertainty of the job being around tomorrow?
Being a flight instructor?
Facing your fifth pay cut, essentially requiring you to work for free for the next [insert number here] of months?
Doing the same thing every day?
Working for a boss you hate?
Working with people you despise?
Working with poor, or even dangerous equipment?
Having to explain your actions to some desk jockey that wasn't there, couldn't possibly understand the situation, and is insulting your intelligence and questioning your integrity?
Being gone all the time?
Being home all the time?
Being on call 24/7?
Sitting on airport watch duty?
Is it solely the money?

A combination of the above?

Next, this isn't the 1960's, no job in any field is safe and secure, even the most dreary. Stability that the baby boomers enjoyed is gone. No career field is going to provide stability or safety. It's up to the individual person to provide their own safety net. Therefore, job security can be crossed off the list of reasons to leave [insert name here] career field.

The people factor: There are co-irkers and mean bosses everywhere. While there are some cases where a change in employer might help, a few studies (NIH I think?) found job changers tended to find the same co-irkers and mean bosses at the new job, once the honeymoon was over.

The bad news factor: Sensationalistic bad news sells. It appeals to our voyeuristic nature. But too much can really drain a person, lower their defenses against the next onslaught of bad news, and after awhile change a positive outlook to a negative one. Is there too much internet negativity affecting your outlook?

What needs to be changed to make conditions tolerable and are those conditions possible? Would changing the type of flying be tolerable, or do you need to walk away from aerial vehicles completely?

Do you have a mentor that could assist you with career decisions?

If you leave, can you come back? In ten years? After the kids are grown?

Which is more important to you, family or career? Don't have a family but want to find and/or create one? Can it wait a year or two to get your feet back under you, or is the next person that winks at you considered marriage material?
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:39 AM   #2  
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Default Stable Jobs

There are stable jobs and growing industries out there. Not everyone is safe however not everyone has to worry about their job either. Governments jobs are very safe and provide a good retirement. Teaching needs professionals. Green industries are growing.

It is true that the old traditional strong professions are withering but others are growing and have a bright future.

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Old 07-20-2008, 07:59 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyHigh View Post
There are stable jobs and growing industries out there. Not everyone is safe however not everyone has to worry about their job either. Governments jobs are very safe and provide a good retirement. Teaching needs professionals. Green industries are growing.

It is true that the old traditional strong professions are withering but others are growing and have a bright future.

SkyHigh
The same could be said for companies in the airline industry, like Southwest and Netjets.
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Old 07-20-2008, 08:03 AM   #4  
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My point being, different industries grow and shrink at different times. It happens to all of them.
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Old 07-20-2008, 08:42 AM   #5  
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What we seem to have a lot of at APC is folks who are facing hard times in the present day economy. Aviation has always tended to cycle with the economy. What we don't hear much about are folks who have left the biz and what they are doing. What is their QOL. What do they make. Is the grass really greener when you leave the flying job?

Great thread, by the way.
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Old 07-20-2008, 10:16 AM   #6  
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Here is my issue with being a pilot:

If you get furloughed you cannot find another job making the money you were before furlough. Where are these united captains going to find a job making 100k?

In the normal world, you can jump from job to job, making the same amount or more based on numerous things.

Why does a first year (sometimes seconds and third) FO at a major make less than a captain at a regional?

For everything to work out in aviation, you have to time everything right and be VERY lucky!

Unions and the seniority system at the airlines need to be changed. But they won't.
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Old 07-20-2008, 10:53 AM   #7  
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Default Left the Biz

Quote:
Originally Posted by de727ups View Post
What we seem to have a lot of at APC is folks who are facing hard times in the present day economy. Aviation has always tended to cycle with the economy. What we don't hear much about are folks who have left the biz and what they are doing. What is their QOL. What do they make. Is the grass really greener when you leave the flying job?

Great thread, by the way.
Spooled asked the question "what happens to pilots after they get tossed out of their big time airline job". What happens to the 160K captain who suddenly finds himself on the street? Their whole life is built upon an income that is not easily replaceable.

In addition pilots who have enjoyed high seniority and have flown the same equipment for the last decade can not exactly jump into a part 135 Learjet operation and be able to adapt very easily.

When I was training to get my CFI there was a crazy old man who worked the fuel pumps at the FBO. He would mumble to himself about Eastern Airlines and occasionally spout off an obscenity. It turns out he was senior captain at Eastern who got tossed out when they shut down and was never able to retain another flying job.

My parents had a guy who did the laundry at their retirement villa who was an EX-TWA pilot. It is not easy to start over as a pilot. To have to do it when you were soft, comfortable and complacent must be near impossible.

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Old 07-20-2008, 12:22 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedinein View Post
These questions are for considering leaving the career. I know I've missed some, please add the questions you've asked yourselves, and/or others, and any pro/con mitigations you've cooked up for yourself. Maybe this thread can be useful in asking the right questions to get a personal decision.

...snip...
Good post. Several of the reasons you list are why I want to leave. This is my second career; I left a stable local gov't job. At the time, it seemed right as I was bored and ready for a change. Now, I'm bored, and paid less, and home less, and have less stability, and have less benefits, and an unhappy family. I miss stable schedules, miss my hobbies, miss my family and doing things with them on their days off - now mine never match theirs of course - and I miss the days when things were 'simpler'. So in summary, I miss the 'simple life', since becoming an airline pilot things have become stressful and complicated on so many levels. I work to live, not vice versa, and I've found that isn't very compatible with this career. I was much happier before, though I took it for granted. Now I and my family pay the price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jedinein View Post
Having to explain your actions to some desk jockey that wasn't there, couldn't possibly understand the situation, and is insulting your intelligence and questioning your integrity?
This, specifically, is proving to become an all to common occurrence when I interview for non flying jobs. They always think I'm A) Rolling in dough, and B) living a glamorous life. When I detail the realities, they think I'm lying (I've been called a liar right to my face!). There are so many misconceptions about this career that are proving very, very difficult to overcome in my experience.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:02 PM   #9  
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FWIW as a FO on third year pay on the 767 at DAL the hourly rate is going to be around 96 per hr on Jan 1st. Not that bad, and better than 95% of all regional jobs. Do not forget the DC plan and 401K that will add another 10-15K to your retirement acct.
Needless to say, when I ran the numbers, long term the airline side of things will be better than any corporate job. The trick is to survive the next few years.
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:40 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acl65pilot View Post
FWIW as a FO on third year pay on the 767 at DAL the hourly rate is going to be around 96 per hr on Jan 1st. Not that bad, and better than 95% of all regional jobs. Do not forget the DC plan and 401K that will add another 10-15K to your retirement acct.
Needless to say, when I ran the numbers, long term the airline side of things will be better than any corporate job. The trick is to survive the next few years.
Pulling out my tarot cards to see what the next few years holds ...

My timing could not have been worse. I retired from USAF at the beginning of the year and interviewed with AirTran and jetBlue. Got hired by AT and JB (with class dates), and then oil prices skyrocketed. Now I'm in their "pilot pools" .... who knows when they will call?

Now that SW is interviewing, enough time has passed that I no longer have the recency of experience they require for an interview (I would have been ok when I first retired, but ... they were not interviewing).

So, I'll be starting a new non-flying job soon. I'll plan to keep the option open when (if?) AT/JB call, but I'm not holding my breath.
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