When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

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mattas350
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When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by mattas350 »

Hey Guys,

When does one say ok enough is enough, i've given a good stand at having a career in aviation but its time to count the losses and move on from the goal of having a full time career in av, and go to do something else?

For those that have done this, when and what made you say enough is enough and move on from full time in aviation? What did you go to do post-aviation?

Interested in seeing what caused the decision and when they decided that its time to move on from Aviation.

M.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by Bede »

I almost quit. I went to grad school and learned that as a Jazz FO (I no longer work at Jazz) I made more money than many people my age with a PhD and work far, far less. Captains I flew with made more than most tenured professors. If you can stick out the first 10-15 years in this industry, this is the best gig going.

Where are you in your career? Why do you want to quit?
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by B-rad »

My choice was based around lifestyle. I wanted to be near my family, friends, be able to join sports teams, go to the gym regularly, and I guess a little to do with having better nights sleep when I'm only working 8 hours a day instead of 14. That being said, I haven't given up on flying completely, just changing gears for a while while I do things I couldn't during my flying career so far. My choice job for now that takes me away from flying, working as an electrician. Again, this is just something that will compliment flying later on when I have the chance to fly again and have a trade under my belt so I won't be at the mercy of the industry. It feels good knowing I won't be stuck.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by aileron »

Q: "When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?"

A: When all you can think about is that next step in this industry... which is hard not to do considering we're essentially a school of hard knocks, always looking at our hours as progress toward that next job. However, be aware, the grass is not greener on the other side.

So take a big breath, look around you - get back in touch with what you love about this industry - and live for the moment. If you cannot, then do something about it; Ask yourself, am I unhappy in general, or am I unhappy specifically and then either look elsewhere or leave to do something completely different!

Good luck on your journey to self fulfilment!
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lr60pilot
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by lr60pilot »

For me I love to fly.I have been in commerical avaition for 35 years and I wish I could another 35 but not to be.So maybe 65-70 that will piss some young A/C pilots off but thats to bad I could care less.As long as I am having fun ..
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by 200hr Wonder »

First off I never have pulled the plug, nor do I want to. With that said I have pulled the plug on a previous career to get into this one, so I do have some experience in the decision making process.

First off, do you still love to fly? Do you still take joy in strapping into an airplane and taking her flying, or has it become 100% a job and drudgery. If you answer NO then it is time to pull the plug.

Do you enjoy your job? If you do then stick with it, enjoy where you are even if it is only part of the job. The people, the good times, not maybe the sched or the equipment. If you answered NO then perhaps it is time for new job OR make aviation a hobby.

Are the sacrifices for your career still worth it? All of the sacrifices that pilots make to be pilots are they still worth it in your current life priorities? Lets face it things change form 20 to 30 to 40. Being home to coach your kids hockey team could be way more important than flying ever is. I don't know. If you answer NO then time to hang up the head set.

Now if you feel like it is your career has stalled out and your stuck in a crappy job with no hope of movement, then I think you need to look more at what to do to change your circumstances, not necessarily your career.

To answer the question I like to sit down with a nice bottle of wine and ask my self some very important personal questions. Where do I want to be in 1yr, 5yrs, 10yrs, 20yrs. What am I going to do to facilitate these goals. Break them down to specifics and at the end of the exercise you will find that the answers are all there for you. For example a few years back I had the goal of making 500hrs TT by the end of the year, and the answer to the problem was get an instructor rating and get teaching.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by PunkStarStudios »

Matta.... if you're asking the question it's probably rhetorical.
I think you already know the answer.
(quit now and focus on the family)
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by AMM »

Quitters never win!
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by floydb »

I wouldnt classify being a comm. pilot as a "career" per se. Its a fun thing to do for some folks and its a pretty big ego trip for most. Beyond that, its a pretty crazy way to make a living and imo it does not rank with careers,ie., medicine, engineering etc., regardless of the $$ that some ppl pour into it. So seeing as your asking advice, try to get a job that will be rewarding and buy yourself an airplane if thats what floats your boat, chances of making it in the continuing decline of this industry is marginal at best.
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ditar
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by ditar »

floydb wrote:I wouldnt classify being a comm. pilot as a "career" per se. Its a fun thing to do for some folks and its a pretty big ego trip for most. Beyond that, its a pretty crazy way to make a living and imo it does not rank with careers,ie., medicine, engineering etc., regardless of the $$ that some ppl pour into it. So seeing as your asking advice, try to get a job that will be rewarding and buy yourself an airplane if thats what floats your boat, chances of making it in the continuing decline of this industry is marginal at best.
I think you are confusing the terms "career" and "profession". One's career is simply the progression of their working life, whatever and however many different lines of work that may entail.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by Flybabe »

Don't let the "quitters never win" crap influence a decision like this (sorry, AMM :P ).

Staying in this industry is an extremely personal choice. It's not about winning or losing. It's about you and your priorities. It's about how you feel about your situation, what you've been dealt, and how you can deal with it.

When to quit is subjective. Why to quit is also subjective. The only constant is your happiness. Good luck with your decision matt, I certainly understand.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by floydb »

Well, career profession whatever, another thing to consider is you may not have much of a retirement, males who spend their lives at this statistically die before 65 - 10 years less than the gen pop. It has been proven to be very hard on the body over time due to low O2 sat levels and exposure to radiation and exposure to external pressure deltas. Not too mention an extremely screwed up circadian rythm. Sorry to sound off, but the facts are not really disputable and they are considerations.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by 4hrstovegas »

I think that everybody, no matter what they do, thinks about quitting and moving on to something else at some point in their working life. In fact, that's how I got into flying in the first place (unlike most, I got into it nearly 12 years after the average guy). If you decide to take a break, or throw in the towel completely, make sure it's a real lifestyle choice and not just a period of the blues that we all go through in life. And hey, if you leave, there's nothing keeping you from comig back to it!
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by . ._ »

After reading Avcanada , I think I'll pull the plug before I get my first job. :?
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by Invertago »

AMM wrote:Quitters never win!
And winners never, quit, but if you never win and and you never quit... you're a fool.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by AMM »

Invertago wrote:if you never win and and you never quit... you're a fool.
Thats just what a quitter would say... right before they quit.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by CJ3PILOT »

When fly rods go on sale at pro bass shop..
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by Expat »

In my case, I quit before I even started, when the Air Force Medical board said: "Unsuitable as either Pilot or Nav." I changed profession, but stayed with the Forces. Never looked back!. I made a career of loving my work, and being good at it. Doing something else, I still got a CPL and flew 1000 hours, for fun, with my own plane.
Now, I take home more than a 747 Captain, fly whatever class I want, and I do not look back. Such is life. :roll:
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by Rowdy »

Mattas, You're going to hear a lot of the same from the people on this board, and so I'm gonna go in another direction here...

We work to live and not the other way around. So many people, especially the pilot group get this backwards.

If you can make a living flying, enjoy it and it gives you the time off and the pay you need to do things outside of work that you enjoy and allows you to live where you want, good on you! This is not the case for everyone.

The pay is marginal, especially for the price of admission these days. What is it now? Over 60k for a CPL and MIFR? The locale of MOST of the entry jobs is summed up in one word (for many at least) as unfortunate. The constant state of flux and lack of stability all the way through to the two major canadian carriers is terrible. The working conditions are shakey at best for again, all but the guys in the upper brackets of the big leagues or off in the special ends of the aviation market. Sure there are a handful of guys flying 10 days a month or less and making 6 figures.. Theres also thousands flogging around 20 days a month, usually working closer to the 14hrs of duty than not, for mcdonalds wages in old and tired twin turboprops.. All for the love of the game?

Where do we draw the line between career and obsession? So many are obsessed with the thril, the adventure, the ego boost or the image the uniform draws that they become blinded to the real world. Or perhaps its the long term affects of hypoxia. Who knows..

I've come close to death and have some very permanent long term physical damage, not to mention quite a few years of financial hardship, the loss of numerous friendships and relationships and even some close family members in my pursuit of this obsession. You dont get these things back. An airplane as much as you love it, it will never love you back. A job does not also define who you are as a person..

I'm not being a pessimist, just playing the devils advocate for a second here. There are a lot of positives to it as well and really at the end of the day it boils down to what works best for you. Write down two columns of pros and cons and place whatever you deem to be either in one or both of the columns.. if one side is more heavily stacked it becomes obvious. This industry isnt for everybody and if you do choose to "step out" no one think any less of you for it. I'm sure half of the posters on here HAVE considered leaving.. or if they're not that bright, they've just continued to bitch and complain for eternity :wink:

Do whats right for you! There are a lot of happy aviators that arent flying commercially.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by av8tor_assrope »

Wow great post Rowdy!
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by iflyforpie »

+2!

I haven't had to deal with 90% of the BS that low timers have had to deal with, but I still wonder sometimes.

But decent pay, great locale, good lifestyle, flexible schedule (except for three months over summer), and fun flying manage to keep me around; and my job has been more stable that many others around here (forestry, trades, realty, and tourism to name a few). I could always use a few more dollars and an easier job, but who couldn't?
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by stmymdy »

istp wrote:After reading Avcanada , I think I'll pull the plug before I get my first job. :?
:lol:
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by Mig29 »

The sooner the better I say!! :D
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by mattas350 »

Thank you everyone for the advice and words of wisdom! It's much appreciated. Interesting to read what everyone's perspective is.

It has certainly given me alot to think about, one thing I do have on my side is I am young, and have no family to have to provide for, and that I have only invested 3 years (sitting around 870 hours) in the industry as a commercial pilot, so a career change or going back to school is definitely still possible.

I still do very much enjoy my job and what I do in flying and teaching people to fly, it is the financial aspect that is straining big time after the 3 years I have in and the people that have been supporting me financially thru out my time flying have strongly advised and given me a deadline to seek more stable employment in aviation or outside of av, which is fair, and that is why I am considering leaving aviation to seek more stable employment as I cant seem to find that in aviation, well not at my level at least.

Once again, thanks to everyone for the advice, much appreciated!

M.
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Re: When to pull the plug on the Aviation career?

Post by padre12 »

You know, it's funny... I am one of those Class 1 Instructor/ATPL's who did leave the industry for the tenured professor/PhD route. While I will never make what heavy iron Captains will in ca$h, I at least have a job that is business cycle proof, unlike aviation! :)

Ultimately, M: do what works for *you*, regardless of what the rest of us think!

cheers,
padre12
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