Monday, November 13, 2006

The title of this post would be "Mainlining" if I knew how to title my posts ;)

Life has been insanely busy lately.

Yesterday we went to New York, Maryland, Florida, then back to New Jersey. We did 8.0 flight time, a figure I haven't matched for a few years since I flew the sick and elderly from small towns to big towns with accompanying sweet, sweet chemical release. I have grown fat and weak flying corporate, so 8 hours in the air really kicked my ass; fortunately the last 3 hours back to Teterboro was an empty leg so I sat in the back and ate teriyaki salad and napped while my fellow pilot (who was on oxygen, as per CAR regs) aimed us in the general direction of the east coast. Apparently my snores are poundin' like a freight train soundin', but clearly that's false as snoring is a working-class habit and I'm a classy biatch.

But life is good; the purpose behind our flight yesterday was to check out a new plane. A new plane, you say? Yeah, a new plane; a fairly bad-ass corporate jet. More details to follow, assuming everything works out the way I hope.

So here's my current life dilemna - corporate is really interesting to me at the moment, and I see no reason for that to let up. I honestly enjoy the challenge of making the trip work, and making our pax happy no matter the circumstance, like if they show up early or they suddenly decide they want an exotic foodstuff, or they call to tell me they are 2 hours away, then call back 10 minutes later to say they are 5 minutes out (it happened to me last week). Or if they decide they need to make a meeting in a city that's being disassembled by tornadoes. Or whatever.

To be honest, I love it. I love the challenge and I love knowing that I am up to it. Between myself and the little man in my head, we get the job done, and I get immense satisfaction from the feeling of accomplishment that results. It's not just stupid passenger demands, it can be things like scheduling multiple concurrent trips in the most efficient manner while still turning a profit (or at least not a loss) for my parent company, or making it so we still maintain our (currently) hectic flying schedule and find the time to pay our bills, or move to our new location (we are moving to Pearson airport as soon as I find a free day to drag all our stuff from our world HQ to the north end) or planning for a new addition to our aircraft family. Or 2 additions.

That's not the dilemna part though, that's like the job satisfaction part. This is the dilemna: What do I do if Air Canada says they want me to fly for them? The difficulty of this question is that I want you to answer in a certain way; I want you to tell me it's okay to decline AC and stick with corporate because I find it more stimulating. I want to hear that following the path that challenges me is better than the path that will eventually be worth more money, assuming AC still exists in a decade.

Do me a favor and say that it's okay to decline the airlines, even if you don't believe it. Because I think I do.


Anonymous said...

I won't just tell you to decline the airlines because you want to hear it; I will tell you that it's okay because it's something I have done myself (and I have no regrets for the record.) And it's a choice I made myself - it wasn't made for me, if you wondered!

Air Canada, or some equivalent airline is always going to exist in some form (if it doesn't there are probably bigger problems in the world to worry about) and therefore you can always change your mind later. Even so, the airlines aren't for everyone. It's disappointing to realize this after years of slugging through crappy air taxi jobs or ramp jobs or other aviation crap with the goal of AC, and then you realize that maybe it's not where you want to be. It's difficult to get your head around and accept, especially because for every one person who says it's a good idea, there's twenty colleagues who say you're crazy to give up "the" dream.

There is something to be said for a job and lifestyle you love... in years to come I'm not going to look back and regret all the perks of the job I am enjoying right now, but I would regret being a sheep and going to the airlines because I felt that I had to, and it was expected of me. Screw that... flying is just a job at the end of the day, regardless of what employer is signing the cheques.

Splendor said...

I think the previous comment says it all ... It doesn't matter in the least what other people think, what matters is whether it's your dream.

I can tell you really enjoy your present job, so why change? ACA isn't the end-all of flying ;-)


Aviatrix said...

It's definitely not about money. You'd be doing something else by now if it were about money, so put that aside.

Is there anything you haven't got now that Air Canada would offer you? Scheduled longhaul and lots of scheduled days off would be nice, but what are you willing to put up with to get it? Do you need to fly a B777 for your life to be complete? You've got nicer avionics now.

And to title your post, you just type the title in the little box above the box where you type the body of your post. If you blog by e-mail, it uses the subject line of the e-mail.

Good luck with the decision. Give them my number when you decide to say no.

Anonymous said...

I think you already know that job satisfaction is really what it is all about: what lifestyle elements will you give up to move to a scheduled airline? What might you gain? I recently had a chat with a pilot for a major charter operator. I have known the guy for a while but never realized that he has no intention of moving out of his job nor of looking to upgrade aircraft (he flies a 320). Why? Because his job allows him to sleep at home every night, which is what he wants because of his children. In fact, he mostly flies an early morning sched that has him home in time to pick up his kids from school. Once they are grown up in a few years, he will put in for some foreign flying for sister companies and he and his wife will get time based in various European cities. This is not the AC job he always dreamed of, but it is totally a job that provides him with the lifestyle he wants. I also recently chatted with a guy who flies Dash-8's for Jazz. With all the pilots moving up to the CRJ's and over to AC for the Embraers, he is in a position where he is deliberately turning down opportunities to move up to larger aircraft. Why? Because he has jumped way up the seniority ladder and can now get a great schedule. Lots of home time. If he had moved up to a CRJ he would be deadheading from where he lives to pick up his flights, or he would have to move to a city that is way more expensive than where he lives now.

I think it all comes down to what sort of lifestyle you want--and yes, money will buy you lots of that, but there is lots more to it. I made the choice to stay in a small city that I am not really crazy about rather than take another job in Vancouver--where I would love to live--because I get to live in 500% more house here than there. And now I can afford to go there and other places pretty much as often as I can get away from work. If I had taken the job over there, I'd probably be losing sleep every night over insane mortgage payments and never get to travel anywhere. I still dream of living out there, but at least I don't have nightmares.

Of course, all life is a series of choices and roads taken and not taken. It's all in the adventure. Enjoy!

Soaring Student said...

AC, or some other carrier, will always be there. With your current experience, they or someone else will always take you. So there is no urgency.

This is the classic question: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? What are you going to do tomorrow to get there?

Is there a compelling reason to leave your current employer? Safety? Scheduling? Financial shakiness?

Neil said...

I'd take Corp flying over the airlines any day of the week...

Anonymous said...

With AC, what are the odds that you'd end based close to your girlfriend/fiance?

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on whether you want to be a pilot or a bus driver doesn't it? A lot of what you currently do will be done for you at the airlines and most of that is what you describe as the "fun" part. At an airline, you'll have your route, you'll have your fuel, you just have to make sure it's right and push the right buttons when they tell you it's time. I don't know, I don't have a commercial license but I've always thought that flying corporate would be a heck of a lot more fun.

Anonymous said...

Sully, just remember that it only takes five minutes every so often at a party to tell someone what a great job you have. It takes the rest of your life to live your life. Do what brings you the most satisfaction. If you have a job that truly satisfies you then you are truly blessed and will be envied by those who "get" life.

jennifer said...

You know my thoughts on the whole AC matter.
Fuck them.
They dont' deserve you anyway.
I hope you get to turn them down...heh.

Anonymous said...

From what we know of Global Warming aka Climate Change , aviation is going to be the choice of the most privileged of the world's polluters. So AC and the various airlines who provide flights affordable to the vast middle class will be down scaled or extinguished as fuel becomes impossibly expensive. Your current employer will likely afford the jet for longer than AC will be affordable to most paying customers. This is not so much a long term view as a middle term view.George Monbiot's book, Heat spells it out as does Nicholas Stern's report from the UK. Knowing that might affect your choices.

Flyer said...

Do me a favor and say that it's okay to decline the airlines, even if you don't believe it. Because I think I do.

Why ask for people to tell you what you want to hear? what will you learn...why not ask them what they think and use that info to make up your own mind?

I think you have found a very good job that is a lot of's safe and stable ..and the easy choice...the question is do you want the easy choice or do you want more.....