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Old 02-21-2018, 11:33 AM   #1  
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Default Why I chose FedEx

Why I chose FedEx

I am a former military aviator and current FedEx Captain. This is an Op-Ed to assist some of you out there, mostly military pilots but civilian as well, who are trying to decide where you want to go to begin your airline career.

My Father was a Marine aviator who flew F-8s over Cuba during the Cuban Missile crisis and two tours in Vietnam. When he got out after his second Nam tour, he took a job at Northwest Airlines and began a 25-30 year airline career where he was a Captain and Standard Check Airman on the 727, 707, DC-10, and 747-400. He loved Northwest until the day he died. He always said he loved coming to work every day he was there and he felt he flew with the best men and women aviators in the world.

After my military active duty career I joined the Guard and started to look at an airline career of my own. It seemed only natural that I would follow my family’s footsteps to a career at Northwest. A company my Father dearly loved. However, when I was faced with the decision of choosing between offers from both Northwest and FedEx, my Father advised me, “Take the FedEx job. Northwest no longer wants pilots like you. FedEx appreciates aviators more and you will enjoy your career there much better.” Needless to say I was shocked. But he was right. I have loved coming to work every day here at FedEx. I work for the best run company in the world at the top corporate level and I love the men and women I fly with. But what had happened at Northwest that my father didn’t want me to come there?

In the early 90’s, Northwest had experimented with removing the pilot leadership of their hiring process. They created a personality test based upon a NASA study of military and civilian aviators. The test itself was quite accurate and valued the training and decision making that most military aviators were brought up under. But then Northwest removed their own pilots completely from the hiring process, the lawyers and the HR people took over. They modified the test to correlate with what they believed an airline pilot should look like. All of a sudden whispers started among the crew force. “Did you hear that this guy failed the test?” “Did you hear this guy did not even get an interview?” “Who the hell are we hiring now?” Then the training product started showing up on the line. The LCAs were pulling their hair out. It wasn’t necessarily line check busts; rather it was that the majority of new hires were substandard in their performance and line Captains were starting to gripe about Northwest’s training program. So one of the Standards Mangers got a hold of the personality test and issued it to all the Standard Check Airman across all the fleets. The results were shocking. My Dad along with 92.6% of the SCAs at Northwest failed the test. They were the backbone of the Training Department, but they would not have been able to be hired at that moment. Needless to say, uproar ensued and after a long struggle, the pilot group was eventually able to force the lawyers and the HR people back to the sidelines and regain control of THEIR hiring process. But for me, at least in the mid 90’s, Northwest didn’t want pilots like me.

Now here I am at FedEx. And unfortunately history is repeating itself and I am experiencing the same cultural change at the tail end of my career as my father experienced in his at Northwest. Our company has removed the pilot leadership of OUR pilot hiring process. It started similarly with bringing in outside consultants to create a personality test and score pilot accomplishments. And similarly, the test and scoring initially was fairly accurate and the scoring valued things like Academy graduate, instructor and evaluator experience in both civilian and military backgrounds, etc. But then the pilot hiring process was completely taken over by our lawyers and HR people and is now totally devoid of pilot input. They have created a closed-door process that values what they believe an airline pilot should look like. Sponsorship and Pilot Recommendations are gone completely. They are replaced by a Pilot Endorsement that we can only use once every ten years and are such a joke that we believe it may actually score against you if any of our current classes are reflective of its importance. I know what you are thinking. That is crazy. It would be like a NFL team giving their Legal department the complete authority and responsibility to draft their football team while locking out of the room their GM and Head Coach. What the hell do lawyers know about evaluating good football players much less good aviators? But you have to understand. We are undergoing a cultural change. It is no longer OUR hiring process. FedEx no longer wants pilots like me nor do they want me to recruit pilots like me to come here.

So yes, the whispers and rumors are true. If you are a current or former military aviator, FedEx does not value your experience or competency. They really do not want you here. There is a reason why Delta, Southwest, United and American have given you calls within weeks to two months of submitting an application for an interview and you are now on 9 months or more, even with one or two PEs, without hearing anything from FedEx. Yes, it is true that people with less experience, but not a military background and no PEs are getting calls for interviews in 2-4 months or earlier. Yes, there is a reason why outstanding individuals that do get called with leadership and aviation skills coming out their ears are failing the HR interview and Legal department test and not getting hired here. Delta, Southwest, etc. appreciates aviators more and it appears its just like my Dad told me, “you will enjoy your career there much better.”

So what is my recommendation to you? Let me say it this way. I have a child learning to fly and showing an interest in making a career out of aviation. He also wants to serve. I can only hope he is successful enough in this endeavor that the active duty or a Guard/Reserve Unit will acknowledge his bloodlines and take a chance on him for a pilot training slot. Then when it is time for him to possibly move on to an airline career, I can honestly say it would be a proud moment for me if he became a legacy hire here at FedEx. However it would be against my best advice to him today if he had another choice to begin his airline career. If I have raised him properly to be a true aviator, then I know barring a future cultural correction like what eventually happened at Northwest, he is not wanted here at FedEx. I do not want him to come to a place that does not appreciate his profession and him as an aviator. So my advice to him will be the same as my Dad’s advice was to me for the same reasons. I will love FedEx until the day I die. It has been such a pleasure working here and providing for my family. I have never regretted taking the advice of my Father and accepting FedEx’s offer to come work for them and be a member of this truly outstanding crew force. The men and women I fly with are simply the best aviators in the world. But the FedEx AOD culture now is no longer the same FedEx AOD culture as when I was hired. They don’t want people like me anymore.

FedEx currently appreciates my competency as an aviator. They just don’t want anymore like me coming through the door. Am I sad that I could not get hired here by FedEx today? Yes. Am I mad? No. It simply is what is. Maybe before my son comes of age, FedEx will have gone through a correction like Northwest did right before the end of that airline and their merger with Delta. And maybe then they will understand the value of pilot leadership in the hiring process. Maybe our crew force will get THEIR hiring process back one day. In the meantime I am, and I always will be, very appreciative of FedEx and all it has given my family and me. I cannot wait to go to work tomorrow. So yes, I believe you will probably like it here too and if you put in your application here we will do what we can for you. But I will give you the same wise advice my Father gave me, “Delta, Southwest etc. appreciates aviators more and you will undoubtedly enjoy your career there much better.” Put your energies in getting hired where you are valued and appreciated. If you are a military aviator, the rumors and the perceptions are true. FedEx supports our troops, our men and women in uniform. They just don’t want you working here or they would value you more.

A Proud FedEx Captain
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:42 PM   #2  
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Good post, but listening to buds at Southwest and Delta, not sure they feel any more valued. Pilots are simply a commodity with the MBA's running any airline. Not smartest move, but in a metric driven world it fits the MBA group think. Pilot: Just move metal, we will tell you how, even though we don't know
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:22 PM   #3  
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This is the new AAL..
Well written post.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:13 PM   #4  
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Wally...gonna share your pist on my company facebook page. Very well written. Lets hope it changes....
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:53 PM   #5  
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Thanks for the honest assessment. I will cross FedEx off my list.

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Old 02-22-2018, 12:19 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by emersonbiguns View Post
Thanks for the honest assessment. I will cross FedEx off my list.

I wouldn't. Not purple, but still a great job and no less valued than other airlines IMHO. As an industry, 121 pilots are widgets.
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:49 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by SaltyDog View Post
I wouldn't. Not purple, but still a great job and no less valued than other airlines IMHO. As an industry, 121 pilots are widgets.
I wouldn't either, not by a long shot.

Everybody has something they don't like about their gig, but there's still a lot going for FDX.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:53 PM   #8  
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How many different sub-forums was it necessary to post this in?
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Old 02-24-2018, 03:13 PM   #9  
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Funny how much better the reception here than on the Majors section.
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Old 02-24-2018, 05:30 PM   #10  
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Originally Posted by emersonbiguns View Post
Thanks for the honest assessment. I will cross FedEx off my list.

You're gonna cross one of the BEST JOBS IN AVIATION off your list because one post on an anonymous forum board?

Guess that increases my chances.
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