Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

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currysonic
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Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#1 Post by currysonic » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:32 pm

Hi all,

Lately I've been thinking about living overseas after meeting a Canadian 737 Captain (graduate of UFV!) working for Jetstar (Singapore). I also have a couple of regular working stiff friends who are just returning to Canada to settle. It looked like a good life experience to live in a massively different culture once in your life. However, all this PML and flow plans make it seem like the industry is "piping" pilots to AC WJ, with pretty solid "pipe walls" blocking off the street folk who may want to return home.

So any stories about Canadian ATP's working in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and coming back to roost? What did you/they like about living overseas? What made you/they want to come back? What were some of the challenge? Do you/they miss the food?

Good chat all, lets do this again sometime! :wink:
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#2 Post by Eric Janson » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:06 am

Some of us left, made a career overseas, and have no intention of coming back.

25 years and counting!
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#3 Post by telex » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:24 am

currysonic wrote:Hi all,

Lately I've been thinking about living overseas after meeting a Canadian 737 Captain (graduate of UFV!) working for Jetstar (Singapore). I also have a couple of regular working stiff friends who are just returning to Canada to settle. It looked like a good life experience to live in a massively different culture once in your life. However, all this PML and flow plans make it seem like the industry is "piping" pilots to AC WJ, with pretty solid "pipe walls" blocking off the street folk who may want to return home.

So any stories about Canadian ATP's working in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and coming back to roost? What did you/they like about living overseas? What made you/they want to come back? What were some of the challenge? Do you/they miss the food?

Good chat all, lets do this again sometime! :wink:
How long are you planning on working overseas?

Right seat DH8 upon your return to Canada should be the least of your concerns.

A Mcchicken tastes the same no matter where you are so you'll always have at least one dining option.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#4 Post by littlebird » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:27 am

Coming back doesn't make much sense from a career perspective. A 737 Captain in Asia could make the equivalent of a half a million dollar Canadian gross salary. To come back and join a major Canadian airline at the bottom would cut income by 90% and at best you might recover to 50% by the end of your career. If you want to go as a First Officer you can gain some valuable experience but you are wasting all the time you put into that airline when in comes to a Captain upgrade if you leave before getting it.

The only time a temporary foreign airline job makes sense is when you are a brand new pilot and don't want to work the ramp or instruct in Canada, so you go overseas to sit in light aircraft for a while. Otherwise you should probably go with the intent to never come back.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#5 Post by confusedalot » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:29 pm

All depends on your total life situation.

Total life=expat making money, don't come back.

Total life=other responsibilities and other issues, do an analysis on the pros and cons. Money is a hell of alot of importance, but it is not everything.

I see an awful lot of bmw and mercedes drivers living in big houses in this admittedly communist country.........

How do they do it? No clue.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#6 Post by currysonic » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:34 pm

I'm still young, just passing mid 20's with 500 hours to go till ATPL and with work commitments I intent do make good. So I have lots of time to think!

On the top of my "what I want to get out of life" list is living comfortably and being able to help family in the future with money like how they helped me. Second to that is living a life full of experience! To be honest I think I'm already started in living a life full of experiences. I'm just thinking of what I want to experience next.

IF I was to go overseas, I'd do at least 4 years. Seems to be the bond for most NTR FO's, maybe a bit more with pilots with no time on jets such as myself. So I guess I would be early or mid 30's by the time I make a "stay overseas/go back to Canada" decision. Not the end of the world if I don't go, its just something fun to look into and think about... I'm fascinated by all the differences with local pilot markets.

Money is important up to a point. I guess HYPOTHETICALLY one of the important questions is if, for example, someone coming back would be able to make for example average of 60k (Arbitrary minimum livable* income from the top of my head) within the first 5 years (arbitrary number) of being back in Canada, assuming living in a Canadian City, and an indifference to aircraft type.

I'm more of a BigMac person... I've yet to have a poutine anywhere else but here though...

*Livable being, able to save money for surprises/retirement, being able to help family with financial contributions, supporting your own immediate family
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#7 Post by complexintentions » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:51 pm

Your entire question assumes that after you'll leave you'll want to come back. I left completely planning to return after a period of time. Now I have no desire or plans to ever return as a resident. There simply is no reason to do so - I visit frequently to see family and friends, and have more free time and money to spend with them than I would if I lived there with a full-time job. That doesn't mean I hate Canada, I am proud to have a Canadian passport. But now I simply choose to enjoy the positive things about Canada while avoiding the negative. Some people resent this, although they tend to gloss over the sacrifices required to be in a position to have these choices, and close their minds to the fact that the same choices are available to them as well. But once you make the conscious decision to consider the entire world as your employment market and place of residence, instead of just one country, your perspective changes forever. Be warned.

Money definitely isn't everything. Yet, when I visit Canada it certainly seems to be the one thing most people worry about the most. Unemployed, underemployed, precariously employed, low wages, high taxes, large mortgages...If you put the time in and make some sensible choices, the money outside Canada will definitely be far beyond that within. If you consider money (wages) to be something traded for your time and effort, it is possible to save a lot of both by looking beyond the borders. Not guaranteed - possible. Some consider the sacrifices required to achieve this acceptable, some do not. I have noticed though, that the vast majority of people negative about expat life...are not expats and never have been. Food for thought.

Experiences? Again, no comparison - you're moving from one culture to being exposed to the entire planet. And no, meeting foreigners in Canada is not the same as meeting foreigners in their own country where YOU are the foreigner. Just bear in mind not all the "experiences" are positive ones. Not by a long shot. It's not one long episode of Lonely Planet. It's nothing like vacationing in the place you live.

Basically you'll have to decide at some point if you want to be a Canadian that just happened to work outside Canada for awhile, or embrace global citizenship. Both choices are fine, but they're very different paths so can't really give you advice until you figure out which route you're on. Which you won't know until you take the leap into the expat world. A circular problem, I'm afraid. You take a risk, and you may or may not be rewarded for it.

To answer your specific question though, after being abroad long enough to get a decent amount of any kind of experience, you shouldn't have a problem making 60K within five years of returning. You just may find it hard to transition from making that in a few months, to making it in a year. And frankly, 60k - especially 10 years from now, with inflation - isn't a lot to live on, after taxes, supporting a family, putting the kids through university, buying a house, and saving for retirement, in any Canadian city worth living in. And if you only go abroad for 4-5 years, you definitely won't make enough to offset that.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#8 Post by dumbbell daddy » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:59 am

^ +1. Fantastic post from someone that has been there and done that. I love Canada but the way the current government (ie. tax system) is going, becoming an expat is looking more and more appealing.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#9 Post by squash junky » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:18 am

confusedalot wrote:
I see an awful lot of bmw and mercedes drivers living in big houses in this admittedly communist country.........

How do they do it? No clue.
It wasn't that difficult.
Left Canada at age 24, quit at 51.
When I left there were barely any jobs in Canada so I decided to expand the horizon, which worked out well.

Lived very modestly until I quit.
We didn't live beyond our means
Never got loans or debts except for the house
Paid off the house asap
Didn't get divorced.

And now we are in a situation where we can afford things.
Just sold the mercedes convertible and got a bmw. :-)

We've been (back) in Canada now for a few years and are shaking our heads at the politics, national debt, taxes, etc. and are strongly considering moving away to somewhere warm.
Although we are thinking....better the devil you know than the devil you don't
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#10 Post by confusedalot » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:06 pm

squash junky wrote:
confusedalot wrote:
I see an awful lot of bmw and mercedes drivers living in big houses in this admittedly communist country.........

How do they do it? No clue.
It wasn't that difficult.
Left Canada at age 24, quit at 51.
When I left there were barely any jobs in Canada so I decided to expand the horizon, which worked out well.

Lived very modestly until I quit.
We didn't live beyond our means
Never got loans or debts except for the house
Paid off the house asap
Didn't get divorced.

And now we are in a situation where we can afford things.
Just sold the mercedes convertible and got a bmw. :-)

We've been (back) in Canada now for a few years and are shaking our heads at the politics, national debt, taxes, etc. and are strongly considering moving away to somewhere warm.
Although we are thinking....better the devil you know than the devil you don't
Actually I can see that scenario for one who has put decades of time into the expat world. What I was really referring to was the disconnect you see between consumption versus typical income that you see in canada, meaning that not everyone is a surgeon or a VP of some company. You get the idea.

Lots of expensive toys and livelihoods, yet, few canadians make THAT much money to support that sort of lifestyle.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#11 Post by squash junky » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:04 pm

confusedalot wrote:
Actually I can see that scenario for one who has put decades of time into the expat world. What I was really referring to was the disconnect you see between consumption versus typical income that you see in canada, meaning that not everyone is a surgeon or a VP of some company. You get the idea.

Lots of expensive toys and livelihoods, yet, few canadians make THAT much money to support that sort of lifestyle.
No worries, but there are still people that worked for it :)
But really my point is about going overseas.
I started @$400 mth swamping for a bofa. Drove 2500kms knocking on doors to get it.
Worked my way up to flying bn2a, c310, dhc6, whoohoo!
(When I did my sim check overseas the instructor asked: what do you fly? I said: a 310. He said: great! we have those too. Uhhmmmm I said.....a c310. he meant Airbus. Cough cough...still got hired)
95% of canadian aviation were small aircraft and all these guys were trying to get on the big ones.
I thought I'd better search else where. I wanted to chase the big tin and got lucky.
Have a dream. Chase it. Work at it. Big or small doesn't matter. It is what you like. Set goals. Go overseas or stay here.
Enjoy it. Money was never a priority for us, which payed off at the end.
So go overseas and come back: yes!
Stay here and fly a 180 on floats? yes!
Love it and go for your dream.

It wasn't all a dream though :) be careful what you wish for.
I was cpt 22 out of the 27 yrs with the last 9 on the 777. Always been a shitty sleeper which finished me at the end.
at age 45 I was tired and we discussed that I couldn't keep up that lifesyle.
Jetlag, shift lag, too many (gorgeous) continents. Not enough time for me to recover.
Been there done that!
I quit before it killed me. Loved it, but don't miss it.
Bought a nice little fishing boat this year and haven't even had time to use it. (next week we are taking it to a rented cabin)
Chase your dream!


OK, that's what happens when you have a few glasses of wine. Sorry. Reading back it makes me proud of what I did and where I am now. Wish for all of you can say the same.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#12 Post by confusedalot » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:45 pm

Actually, that is a very good dissertation. Reminds me of why I decided to go expat in the excruciatingly slow periods just to get out of debt (which was only a small mortgage), but I only did it for three years. In hindsight, meh, should have done it for ten years and I would be slightly better off, but the same constraints apply, I recall thinking I was in one place at a certain hotel, but I was in another, and could not find the bathroom in the dark LOL. All of that without alcohol! Time zones screw you up.

Oh well, got the house, got the car, owe nothing to anybody, suppose I should be content.

Cheers,
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#13 Post by Eric Janson » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:31 pm

confusedalot wrote:I see an awful lot of bmw and mercedes drivers living in big houses in this admittedly communist country.........

How do they do it? No clue.
That's easy - with borrowed money.

Canadian household debt per capita is one of the highest in the world.

Not going to end well imho.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#14 Post by complexintentions » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:43 am

You beat me to it.

Debt.

Insane, unprecedented amounts of borrowed money. At all levels of government and consumers.

The best illustration of debt I ever heard was by Preet Bannerjee, who said to just picture an older, more tired version of yourself in the future still slaving away just to pay for the things you "needed" today. That motivated me to retire my small debt in the first four months of leaving Canada and never enter into debt since. All a loan is, is reaching into the future to spend money you still have to somehow earn. Ugh.

On the national level, it's kind of funny how people harp about the US and their massive national debt. Yet Canada is far more vulnerable if you choose to consider debt-to-GDP as a more critical metric. Canada is number 7 in the top 10 worst debt-to-GDP ratios. Yay!

https://howmuch.net/articles/worlds-debt-2017

I'm sure it'll all work out...
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#15 Post by Eric Janson » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:47 pm

Some great infographics here showing various debts.

http://demonocracy.info/

Sorry for being off topic.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#16 Post by Gino Under » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:38 pm

I thought it was tough acclimatizing to the sand box but I think it was tougher returning home after several years over there.
This country changed while we were away and the people in it. It was like being a foreigner in my own country. I'm sure everyone I spoke to thought there was something wrong with me. (they probably still do, TFB)
As for the airlines here, a complete waste of time. Since I returned the number that have gone bust is ridiculous yet they keep lining up to have a go. This time, it's the ULCC. Good grief.
I'm inclined to echo Eric Janson and complexintentions comments and suggestions so I won't bore you with anything further.

Gino Under :drinkers:
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#17 Post by complexintentions » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:01 pm

hahah! Nope, nothing "wrong" with you, you (we) just changed as much, or more, as the country has. No wonder the place seems unrecognizable - it is.

Your comments about reverse culture shock are bang on, and worth noting for those considering expat life. It's not unusual for expats to return briefly and then realize they'd romanticized a lot of things they thought were good about their home country to help adjust to their new country, and promptly leave again. A friend of mine consults with expats and it's so common they call them "boomerangs".

There is truth in the saying (ok, novel title) "You Can't Go Home Again".

:partyman:
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#18 Post by Eric Janson » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:40 pm

@currysonic

The most important question to ask yourself is "What do I want?"

We're all different and that question will be answered very differently by different people. What works for me may not work for you.

Ideally you then make the choices that help you achieve your goal. Just be aware that your goals may change as your circumstances change.

An example of this would be that your goal is to work at large airline X.

While working at airline Y you get your command.

At this point it may no longer make sense to join airline X.

If you go overseas as F/O - make sure you join a company that will give you the chance to upgrade.

Don't end up like a friend of mine - 60 years old with not a penny to his name.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#19 Post by Wheels » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:54 am

This is a great thread,

I often dreamt of cutting ties and exploring the world. I did a brief contract in Europe on a 737 in my early 30's and got a taste of the money and lifestyle. It would have been a great jumping off point but alas, I chickened out and cashed in my Left seat NG rating for a wife, 2 young kids and a stable, well paying corporate job.
The problem with a well paying job in Canada is that half of my pay check goes directly to income tax. Another 15% goes to HST. The remaining 35% of my pay check that I am allowed to keep is divided between mortgage payments, property tax, RSP/RESP savings and basic living expenses for a family of four.
We basically break even every two weeks. It will take me a lifetime of savings to accumulate what an Expat could put away in 20 years or less. Would you trade a year of your life in China for 3 years of early retirement? What about 5 years in China for 15 years?
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#20 Post by Eric Janson » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:39 pm

Wheels wrote: Would you trade a year of your life in China for 3 years of early retirement? What about 5 years in China for 15 years?
No!

The funny thing is I don't know anyone who has done this. If it was as easy as some people seem to think then everybody would be working there.

The fact that they are continually looking for people says enough.

They don't honour contracts - that's already a red flag for me. I'm too old to put up with that!

I'll take the lower salary for 400 hours/year and a roster that starts and ends at home.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#21 Post by currysonic » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:08 pm

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to take the time to thank you all here for sharing your experiences, both the pro's, con's (and quick economic debate on the future of the Canadian housing market and consumer debt analysis!) in a respectful manner. We will all go down in history as a standard of civil discussion! :smt040 :smt040 :smt040

@Eric Janson, thank you for your life and career finance tips! That "what is important in life" list is underway, but has evolved in the past and I'm sure will evolve again in the future, as you mentioned...

Meditating on future plans definitely make one, such as myself, realize how uncertain about what you really want in life. But I suppose that's what a positive attitude and friends and family are for! My mind is always open to new foods and my cooking skills are superb, at least that will always be a constant in my life :lol:
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#22 Post by Eric Janson » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:17 pm

One more thing that is important to understand.

There is no such thing as a stable job in this business - it's an illusion.

It's entirely possible to be a victim of circumstances beyond your control. This is especially true if working overseas.

Happened to me 4 times already - I've only left one company by choice.

No amount of planning will help you in this case. It's a question of picking up the pieces and moving on.

Interestingly I've always been able to find a job quite easily when I've needed one. My strategy has always been to try and have the ratings and experience that the market requires.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#23 Post by confusedalot » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:43 pm

I've gone through this thread and I must say, I am confused.

I have done the big airplane contract thing and after 3 years I had decided to come back to crappy old canada, for reasons that outweigh plain old money or shiny airplanes, so.....no big bucks over here....mad a few dollars but in the big scheme of things, not all that much.

However, if I have to compare southeast asia quality of life to canadian quality of life, I think everyone understands that canada, with all of it's ills, wins over southeast asia. People come to canada, few go the other way.

I can also say that....for the lucky ones who made it into big red, over time, are now reaping the financial benefits big time that no expat job could even come close to provide. They waited a long long time for the payoff, but, the payoff will surpass any expat job. (I am not one of those people).

So...since timing is everything and everyone is screaming for warm bodies to sit in a seat here in canada, suggest you go as far as you can in the canadian system, your long term investment will pay off in spades, better than any expat job in this current environment.

The average senior pilot at big red, air canada, is a millionnaire many times over. I will say it again, many times over, paying taxes and all..... I am thinking about two of my buddies.

If you are a short term guy, then, expat is the way to go. If you are a long term guy, things are hopping here in north america, you won't get your money right away, but over time, this is the place to be.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#24 Post by Boreas » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:18 pm

telex wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:24 am
...

A Mcchicken tastes the same no matter where you are so you'll always have at least one dining option.
Definitely not true... but you get used to it I guess.
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Re: Coming home after working overseas (ATPL)

#25 Post by Boreas » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:39 pm

confusedalot wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:43 pm
...
If you are a short term guy, then, expat is the way to go. If you are a long term guy, things are hopping here in north america, you won't get your money right away, but over time, this is the place to be.
Is it?

Aside from being a big red skipper, what else is there?
What happenes if after years of working pathetic WAWCON you get PFOed?
Canada is a wasteland of shit-pay! And its getting worse by the day.

WestJet?
How long before you become a millionaire there - to use your metric - if you join Encore today? 15? 20 years? Ha!
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