Something to chew on: Reality
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I have flown for a number of companies, and full disclosure: CMA is one of them.
For any aspiring pilots, there is a great lesson behind these posts, particularly from the Shakespearian diatribe of '-change'. But to get this lesson we need to step back from the tree of words and look at the forest. Let's examine whats missing from his rant and that is: any personal accountability.
Lets get this straight: A self described 'low timer' would mean little or no commercial flight time. This low timer had the proven path from zero experience to a 737 and chose to make that experience a miserable one. Yes, chose it.
I feel no responsibility to defend CMA, as I doubt they'd do it for me. I will, however, step in to defend common sense whenever I think it is taking a beating.
CMA was a poor choice for -change. He should have gone to work for the regional that provides a much quicker route to the cockpit for low timers, gives you the left seat 6 months after you start as FO, and allows you to take any time off you want, for the salary of your choice. This airline is called 'Fantasy Airways' and they operate scheduled service between Dreamland and Nowheresville.
At CMA and many other places I've worked, the biggest cause of poor morale, is a few people bitching about poor morale.
I flew for a company that makes Central Mountain look like paradise: Max duty, min rest, and filthy cargo planes. There was definitely some morale issues, but strangely, some of those boys were a blast to fly with. Why? Because they decided that they were going to make the best of it while it lasted, and realized that the only thing worse than a tough day in the cockpit is sitting next to some pilot who wants to complain from check in to the parking lot after.
Weird that I have had 13+ hour duty days in bad weather that had a ton of laughs, and on the other hand, flown half a day in clear skies and sunshine and it sucked. The difference? In one case the guy next to me had a good attitude and in the next, the sense of entitlement pouring out of my cohort made me want to sprint to the lav, stick my head in the bowl, hit flush, and hope that the blue liquid drowned me into the sweet silence of unconsciousness.
Our friend negative change mentions being a puppet. Here's what I know about puppets:
They have a mouth, no balls, and only talk when they have something stuck up their ass.
For any pilots out there that are working in what they feel is a bad job, there is always hope. It is law in Canada that every airport is equipped with a machine to provide pilots with relief from a bad employer. It is a rectangular object, approximately 7 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. Just so you can't miss it, it has a sign over it that reads: EXIT. Seriously, quit. You will do two things: Move on to something better, and force the offending employers to change their ways or have no staff. This idea that you can be 'trapped' in a flying job is a myth perpetrated by people who need to believe they have no choices. Don't buy into it. The only trap that keeps you in any job is poor choices you make outside that job.
Here's life lesson #1: A company exists to make profit (money) for it's owners or shareholders, not pay you to take time off and get flight hours.
Why is CMA paying more these days? Because they have to. Why do they have to? Because too many pilots quit. A guy who says a place sucks and stays for 8 YEARS (!) is the very reason things don't change.
Lesson 2: You will lose your mind if you start to count other peoples money (or flight hours, or upgrades...) I flew right seat with a guy who was hired after me, with less relevant experience, and was paid more. I was pissed alright. I was pissed at myself for not doing a better job negotiating my salary. Not the Capt's fault, he did a better job selling himself. Not Smithers fault if I took a contract for less than I could have. I find it hilarious when I hear from a pilot who becomes livid about their salary only when they hear somebody else makes more.
Lesson 3: Put up or shut up. Every company I have flown for (except for the unionized ones) yapped about unionizing. I'd like to know one single pilot complaining about the need for a union that has called up ALPA, CALPA, or (as in the case of Sunwing) the CAW and tried to do anything about organizing. If you really held the conviction that union flying was the answer, these organizations are waiting for the phone call or email. Is unionized flying better, hell yes. Is it worse? Oh HELL YES!! There is a price to pay for everything, and representation is no exception. Same goes for whining about company policy. I missed the part of -change's monologue about where he lists the numerous initiatives he proposed to the company where he coherently offered a solution for his plight that also would benefit the business bottom line. Any discussion of meetings with the management with his 'seven part program for CMA's market domination through extra time off for pilots'? Nope, just a whole heap o' bitching.
Lesson 4: If you don't like your job, it doesn't mean anyone is EVIL. -Change didn't simply make a bad decision (.... and then see if riding it out for 8 years would help!) No, he was a sword wielding champion for the forces of good surrounded by the demons of an oppressive regime. Seriously, the drama level in this writing is epic in proportion. Nearly everyone is this guys enemy, HR, Management, the guy testing him, the guy he flew with.... No doubt, now that he's moved on, this attitude has vanished, and he's on the joyous path of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness....oh wait, no, he spent hours of his free time on a 3000+ word op ed on the state of a company he no longer works for.
A friend of mine flies for CMA still. His upgrade was delayed for reasons that seem to hint of politics/favoritism or issues with the training. His response: Keep doing the job to the best of his ability, treat his passengers and co-workers with respect, and when CMA stops being his best option, give appropriate notice and move on. In the meantime, he goes out of his way to help new guys avoid the pitfalls that he fell into. Now, he misses the opportunity to wind up the drama machine, but you can't have it all. I guess all he gets is his self respect and low blood pressure. Is 'Captain Kangaroo' up in smithers a dick? Is HR a bitch? Maybe, I never went out for dinner with them so anything is possible. They hired, I flew. I deal with the reality that until I win the lottery I am working, they deal with the reality of operating a company with conflicting pressures. End of story, end of drama.
Last lesson for today kiddies: Think, then act.
- A training bond is a gamble, just like Vegas. If you can't afford to risk it, don't bet. As far as I know CMA still bonds the unrated 1900 guys 1 year. So if you can't buy it out, or suck it up for a year, you are a fool to accept it.
- If you are a low timer at CMA or any other company, you are gambling that it will be better or quicker to do that than it would be to teach, fly up north, fly cargo/Navajo's or a combination thereof. I've seen low time programs produce keen, prepared pilots, and also seen them culture a sense of smug entitlement that takes guys from zero time, to 'know it all' in a few months of bag tossing or dispatching. Knowing a lot about one star doesn't make much of an astronomer. There's a whole universe out there.
-If you are in a non-union company and think you deserve a raise, man-up (or woman-up) go to management and prove it. Explain how the company is best suited by paying you more. This may be because of the extra value you add, specific skills you possess, or because there are better opportunities for you if you leave. If you actually deserve more you should get it, or go the the company that offers it.
-When you hear someone starting an initiative to make a company better, get involved and help. When you start to hear someone start to wax poetic about how lousy their life as a pilot is, run. Say you need to study SOP's, claim a genetically inherited small bladder, whatever, just get the hell away. If you hate your job (flying or whatever) quit, or make the best of it, but understand that there are a lot of us out there, at practically every airline in Canada (even CMA) who are professionals, actually like going to work, and will invest some time (like writing this reply for example) to continually try to make things better.