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Starting to think I did it wrong

Discussion in 'Military Pilots' started by JDean3204, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. JDean3204

    JDean3204 Well-Known Member

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    It's been four years since I selfishly parted ways from the navy ( a great career) and chased my "dream" to fly planes. Now going through the fire hose that is 121 training I find myself reflecting on this decision to do so. I am in class with many that planned better for the wages of the entry level world, whether that is retirement or rich parents that float them through training. I am 28 and have no savings, no rich family or a sugar momma. I have never stressed being perfect and "on point" as much as I now am, yet the bearded tattooed barista that served me my crap coffee this morning seems to make more money than me. Am I wrong for thinking this is complete BS?? Should I just shut up and take the fact I get to fly a shiny jet at 1700 hours in stride? I get the fact that in the last ten years people have been worse off to fly less capable airplanes, but seriously the pay is abysmal still... I could make more chucking trash at 5am daily into a truck and that saddens me, does it anyone else? I feel like I wasted my GI bill on a dream that thrives on people sacrificing their best years chasing a dream that may never be. Or maybe the whiskey hit me sour tonight... Still not sure :/ nonetheless I will keep pressing on, learning to not be a "hinderence" to the check airman that has to trust me flying and landing a plane with 70 plus people on it...providing I make it past the sim training and what not that is involved in me earning this poverty level wage. Either way, I feel like I did it wrong as I made less than pilots in mil, but make less than mechs now#RegrettingmylifechoicesATM #I could'vemadechiefbynow.
     
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  2. Flyinthrew

    Flyinthrew Well-Known Member

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    I think the whiskey is just hitting you too hard, my friend. I have the feeling that you ditched the Navy after more than one enlistment, and I also have the feeling that you did that with eyes wide open. You are currently enduring the hardest part of 121 flying (so far as I can tell from the outside) and it is a point that you knew you would be at when you left the Navy. Actually, you didn't know you would ever reach this point, and you still took the risk, so you're better off than you could be. Every day brings you closer and closer to moving up. You're at the front of a massive hiring wave, and the regionals are announcing monthly that their compensation is getting better and better. The Majors are doing the same.

    You did not waste your GI Bill. You used it to gain knowledge and skills that companies will eventually pay you handsomely for once you gain some more experience. It is easy to argue that you have multiplied your lifelong income potential over the Navy, and the QOL that you will have soon enough beats even living in the Goat Locker and eating 26 plates of food and drinking 4 pots of coffee a day like most chiefs. As a year 3 FO at the right major you'll be making more money than your ship's Captain. I will submit that the savings potential that you're missing out on currently is an adverse aspect, but that's not what you're complaining about.

    As a point of reference, I stayed in the military, went through an enlisted commissioning program similar to STA-21, gambled on whether I would get to fly or not (and won) and am making a pretty good salary. However, I have to stay for another 3.5 years, and will not be at the front of the hiring wave. You will be at a major when I'm just showing up. I'm not exactly knocking the hours back as we are currently standing squarely in the breach of the "fighter gap" and rarely go on a flight that doesn't involve an airborne malfunction. I work 60 hours a week and rarely fly for more than 2-4 hours in that week. I could also make more hourly chucking garbage.
     
  3. woodreau

    woodreau Well-Known Member

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    Don't look back. Always look forward and try to change the things you can change.

    It is BS that you have invested time and money to be paid so little.

    However, all you can do is keep building up your newly chosen career at your airline. Keep putting in apps, network, go to job fairs and eventually you'll end up somewhere. It might not be where you envisioned, but you will be okay. Or you could change careers again midstream - you'll need to figure what resources you have to make the change. Or what do you need to do to get the resources and how much time will/could it take.

    I also left the navy for an airline that paid me $18/hr as an FO. It took me 10 years as an airline pilot to get back to pay wise to what I was making when I left the navy. Yes sometimes I sit there and have a self induced pity party / reminisce at what if / what might have been. I could have been coming off my command tour on a DDG... had I stayed in. but you can't do that. It doesn't help you in the situation you find yourself in now. So all you can do is look forward.

    Hope that helps.

    Good luck we're all here for each other.
     
  4. BEEF SUPREME

    BEEF SUPREME Well-Known Member

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    I think everyone goes through this realization at some point. For me it was when I finished my commercial multi engine. Which cost much more than first year pay at a regional. At the time that was around 18-22k a year. It was overwhelming and depressing.

    All I can say is that it will get better but the next few years are gonna suck. Count on at least 2 years sucking.

    Also don't do what I did: fly 135/91 because it pays more to start. It quickly tops out and there are no protections like you get in the 121 world.

    If it helps you are in a better situation than I. I have 3 jet types and 5K hrs or so of experience and I am no planning on starting at a regional because long story short 91/135 sucks balls for guys who have a family. So you are way ahead of I and you have a 12 year head start.




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  5. trafficinsight

    trafficinsight Well-Known Member

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    I've been behind the eight ball my whole working life it seems, I've realized that my parents never really had the opportunity to teach me about money... Because we never had any.

    As a result when it comes in it goes right back out. Since I see that now, and now have a lot of medical stuff to save for I'm trying my best to manage my money better.

    It's hard, hang in there.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
     
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  6. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

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    You aren't going to be wealthy flying airplanes. Accept that, and realize that there are worse places to be in life.
     
  7. zippy

    zippy Well-Known Member

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    If you've still got a clearance, or think you can get one back, check out the ISR contractors. Lots of prior non flying military guys end up there for a while as wait for a major... money is very good too. They're seeing more regional guys at the ISR contractors who have prior experience with military life.

    If you're at a regional, consider heading to one with a flow agreement so you'll at least have a light at the end of the tunnel, and first year pay @ about 50k.

    Either way... keep your head up and keep plugging- you'll do alright
     
  8. Soku39

    Soku39 Well-Known Member

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    Are there any regionals left not paying at least $38/hr? I had the same thoughts 4 years ago but everyone started out at $21/hr.

    Just keep your head down and keep studying, you'll make it through procedural trainers, sim and IOE.
     
  9. Springer

    Springer Well-Known Member

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    Quit whinnying! Sheesh. You are 28? I was hired by a major at 35 going on 36. Made enough to retire comfortably at 59 with zero debt. That included going through two major pay cuts, BK, and a much reduced pension. A two year FO at my airline now makes what I made when I retired as a captain.

    You have many good years ahead of you. Snap out of it!
     
  10. Itchy

    Itchy Well-Known Member

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    Don't sweat it. You are young, and in a good position. Add three or four years, and it will be an entirely different picture for you.
     
  11. Hacker15e

    Hacker15e The Intersection of Opportunity and Preparation

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    Yeesh, I got hired at a major at 42, and I feel like I hit the career goldmine.
     
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  12. Springer

    Springer Well-Known Member

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    Is a 28 year old in that millennial category I hear so much about? I was going to pile on more by saying that at 30, I was freshly divorced flying for a turbo prop commuter, living in a studio apartment, driving a Chevy Chevette, making $850/mth punching out individual resumes for anything that had an airplane but decided not to. :biggrin:
     
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  13. JDean3204

    JDean3204 Well-Known Member

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    So two things I learned this week. Don't post a new thread on JC late at night on your iPhone after a few drinks. Next, buy decent toilet paper if you are living in a hotel for more that three weeks. This sandpaper is really taking its toll... :)

    In all seriousness, wish I could delete this one. I sound like a Serious Nancy..
     
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  14. BEEF SUPREME

    BEEF SUPREME Well-Known Member

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    Consider it a lesson learned. It's no big deal, we've all be there bro. How you deal with the next few years will say a lot about who you are. Much much more than this post does. Which is basically very little. Just a bit too many adult beverages and the realization you have a long road ahead.


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  15. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

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    Why didn't you go to one of the regionals that pay 60k the first year? There's at least 4 of them now.


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  16. Hacker15e

    Hacker15e The Intersection of Opportunity and Preparation

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    On one hand, almost nobody under 40 even remembers what a Chevette was.

    On the other, wouldn't it be great if we could *all* forget what it was?
     
  17. Crop Duster

    Crop Duster UNSUB

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    Don't worry, Bro. America will be great again soon... You'll have a swimming pool and 72 virgins and make a magnificent income flying 2 days a month.
     
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  18. BEEF SUPREME

    BEEF SUPREME Well-Known Member

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    Make the regionals great again!


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  19. Flying Saluki

    Flying Saluki Well-Known Member

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    In a year, that barista might be making another 50 cents an hour, whereas you'll be earning 50 percent more. And it will keep going up. When you make captain your income will double. You didn't waste your time. Besides, every time you go into that coffee shop, that barista is wishing he could do what you do.
     
  20. Lunchbox

    Lunchbox Well-Known Member

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    Agreed!!! I was going to ask this also. The days of taking the first regional that calls are over, they usually all call at the same time.
     

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