but here are some downsides

sixpack

New Member
This is something that user john_tenney posted on Aug16 on thread "Hello and Help!". It is a list of downsides to the airline career.
Although I agree with his list, I'd like to compare it to other occupations.
[ QUOTE ]
...but here are some downsides:

1) Commuting (HUGE!)
2) Low pay
3) Overnights away from home
4) Long duty days
5) No privacy to speak of. (People watch pilots now.)
6) Security aka the TSA Nazis
7) No planning ability (your schedule changes month to month.)

[/ QUOTE ]

I worked in the High Tech industry for many years. Here's how the list compares.

1) Commuting (HUGE!)
commuted during rush hour weekdays. 1.7 hours on the automobile-hobbs. About 37.4 frustrating hours per month.
2) Low pay
OK, the pay was descent. More than an FO, but much less than a major Captain.
3) Overnights away from home
Went on 5 business trips to Israel in one year, plus a few domestic trips. Overall, away from home about 10 weeks (20% of the year)
4) Long duty days
Left for work around 6:15am. Got home around 6:45pm. Logged into work from home after dinner from 9pm to 11:30pm. You do the math.
5) No privacy to speak of. (People watch pilots now.)
Have you ever worked in a cubicle?
6) Security aka the TSA Nazis
Guards at all doors. You wear a badge with a microchip inside. As you walk throught the door, a scanner scans your face to determine if it matches the information on the microchip in your badge. If there's a mismatch, an alarm goes off.
7) No planning ability (your schedule changes month to month.)
Project take priority over vacations, but you can make plans in advance. However, the number of days/weeks off in a year is very much less than in the airline industry.

Now I'm not saying that High Tech (or other careers) have more downside than the airlines. They don't really. But I think the difference is less than you'd think, because you don't see the details of any industry until you get up close. That's why I like this forum so much. The members posting bring new light and exposure onto this industry.

-sixpack

PS: Thanks john_tenney, for inspiring this post.
 

Cheechako

Well-Known Member
Sixpack, thank you for your insight!
I have a good friend who has a tech job in the Los Angeles area who has just about the same working conditions. Our wives are best friends and they're always comparing our times at home. You're right, the project usually takes priority. He's been working overtime (12+ hours a day) for the last three months, and then the stress of the deadline follows him home. A real nice thing about being an airline pilot, is when my shift is over, I go home and there's nothing for me work-wise until my next trip three, four or five days later. It's my impression that in the corporate world to have the same salary progression as an airline pilot one must work, travel, and stress out more than what I'll do in my career.

I'm glad I made my career choice.
 

TheWife

New Member
Not that my prior job is even that relavant in comparison, but I will do this anyway. I was an Insurance Agetn before leaving to have a family.

1) Commuting (HUGE!)---well, it was 30 minutes a day, so a total of 5 hours a week, still other things I'd rather do with my 5 hours.
2) Low pay---you can say that again. You have to be a hard seller to make money, and if you don't get any new customers this week, you don't get much of a pay check.
3) Overnights away from home---well there was an occasional training, but not too often.
4) Long duty days---office hours, + people who want you to come to THEIR house to write the policy, then back to the office so you can catch up. Usually a 10 hour day.
5) No privacy to speak of. (People watch pilots now.)---backround checks are done on agents, AND, get this, your customers call you at home and on your cell at all hours of the night to tell you they were in an accident, or didn't get their payment in etc.
6) Security aka the TSA Nazis
7) No planning ability (your schedule changes month to month.)---not so much an issue on this other the dealing with training and outside appointments.

This was a very stressful job because a small mistake can lead to a huge lawsuit, and well, let's face it, people hate insurance and aren't usually much happier to talk to you then a they are to a dentist.

Bottom line for me, say my husband were to choose this or something else as a career, office jobs are just, if not more, stressful then flying. I'd rather do something I love, under difficult circumstances, then do something I hate in great circumstances. 'Nuff Said.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Now I'm not saying that High Tech (or other careers) have more downside than the airlines. They don't really. But I think the difference is less than you'd think, because you don't see the details of any industry until you get up close. That's why I like this forum so much. The members posting bring new light and exposure onto this industry.

[/ QUOTE ]

You have forgotten that I was a SW Engineer for 10 years before starting on the aviation career.

Lets address some of your points:

1. Commuting: You are talking about driving to work. At least you know you will make it! I'm talking about having to non-rev to another city. If you don't make it you can be fired or at least be in trouble. You can't just make a phone call and say "hold the flight, I'm running a little late." Many people live 1.7 hrs from the airport anyway and who likes airport traffic. Oh yeah, did I mention parking? You think your airline pays for your parking at your home airport? Not likely!

2. Low pay. A senior engineer with 15 years experience makes more than a captain at Delta with 15 years experience. That's because 15 year captains at Delta are pretty junior right now! At Lockheed Martin, senior engineers were making over 120k when I left 15 years ago.

3. Overnights. Hey when you went to Israel you went in style. Expense account, rental car, decent hotel, decent food. Just wait till XYZ Commuter puts you up at the Roach Palace with $1/hr pr diem. And no, you don't get a car.

4. Sounds like you are approaching a 14 hr duty day there. We regularly had to do 6 15 hr duty days in a row. Most of it was sitting around crew lounges. Now remember, crew lounges are an after thought - usually some closet somewhere. They are NOT like the fancy FBO pilot lounges for corporate pilots! Some bases didn't even have them - we slept in the plane.

5. Privacy. Yes I was in a cubicle for 8 years. But to this day I never remember anyone putting in a "CVR" (Cubicle Voide Recorder) or giving me random drug and alcohol tests so I could be safe on the keyboard.

6. The guards at Lockheed Martin treated us like people. TSA targets pilots and has had several "disrobe" in public. I never had any trouble with guards at PAR, GE or LM.

7. Vacations. I beg to differ. Most commuters give you two weeks for the first five years, and then they start incrementally upwards. LM gave two weeks first year and added a day every year after that. I also liked that I could take vacation on short notice - even as little as a day's notice.

I often regret leaving LM for airlines. The grass was not greener as I thought. Sure, engineering has downsides, what job doesn't? All I am saying is that to wear rose colored glasses when looking at airlines is a sure set up for disappointment.

Make sure you get all the facts before proceeding! If you still want to, then go full speed ahead!
 

TheWife

New Member
Don't kill me for asking, but what keeps you doing it then? It seems like you have a lot of unhappiness with flying. I am sure you are just being realistic, which is refreshing, but I am just curious to hear what you DO like about it.
 

I_Money

Moderator
Here is the break down of my job -

1) Commuting (HUGE!) - My commute is not too bad 20 minutes in the morning and 30-40 coming home. I do smile when I cross the freeway as they have it much worse then me!!

2) Low pay - I honestly can not say that is a problem. My job pays very well, especially when you live at home and have very few bills.

3) Overnights away from home - Nope home everynight, I would not mind a bit of travelling, especially at the companies expense.

4) Long duty days - I work from 7-5 so I have long days, and my weekends are generally packed too. Infact today is my first lazy day in a long time.

5) No privacy to speak of. (People watch pilots now.) - Cubicle - enough said (that made me laugh).

6) Security aka the TSA Nazis I can't say I have that problem but junior staff trying to micromanage your time is just as bad.

7) No planning ability (your schedule changes month to month.) - I thought I had planning ability until one of my bosses got fired for fraud and I had a trip to AU planned and then his supervisor said I could not go. It really pissed me off.

I can not believe no one wrote about management - but that sucks everywhere.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Don't kill me for asking, but what keeps you doing it then? It seems like you have a lot of unhappiness with flying. I am sure you are just being realistic, which is refreshing, but I am just curious to hear what you DO like about it.


[/ QUOTE ]

Not flying! My problems are with line flying for commuter airlines.

I love flying


I hate being a slave though. If I was forced to go back to a commuter I would have to keep a positive attitude and go out and fly every day and do my best to enjoy it.

But you are in a unique situation, you have a choice. I cannot go back to engineering because I am too old and been away too long (according to Lockheed -Martin.)

My goal now, as a business owner, is to be the guy in the back of the corporate jet
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
JT is the most negative airline pilot, poster, here. You should know that. Doug and the others, and even me, have our days where it's easy to slam our careers but never once have I heard an airline pilot here say this:

"I often regret leaving LM for airlines. The grass was not greener as I thought."

JT has his opinions based on his experiences. I have mine. One of the best things about jetcareers is you have people from all walks in the industry telling you the way it is. It's something to counter the empty promises and lies the big schools make to draw in fresh meat. At the same time, each of us have have different opinions based on our experiences in the industry. That's just the way it is. Be sure you talk to a wide group of pilots from different backgrounds before you draw any conclusions.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Well I don't look at it as negative - just realistic.

I am no longer an airline pilot. I now run my own business.

I suppose you could say I show the downside as well as the upside.

Upsides:

1) The people you meet. There are tremendous people in aviation, and you certainly get around and meet a lot of them. You also get pretty close to other pilots, since you often spend weeks or months in a tiny little room with them (the cockpit!) Some of them you wish you didn't know so well, but there are always those you miss a lot.

2) The camaraderie. I suppose even prison inmates have this. It's sort of like "shared misery" LOL! I always looked forward to walking in to the crew lounge and seeing who was there. I liked hearing the stories, rumors, etc.

3) The challenges of flying. Flying is like no other job I know. A stressful approach can really bring you to the limit of your abilities and see if you "have what it takes." Once you get on the ground the stress is over and you can relax. I heard someone define IFR flying as "hours of boredom followed by 5 minutes of sheer terror." I like that


4) The jumpseat. This is gone now, but man what a privilege to be able to ride in the jumpseat of an airliner for free! When I was single it was a tremendous way to get around and visit all my friends and family. Of course now being married with children it's not such an advantage.

5) The training. Talk about being on top of your game! Nobody trains like airlines, and nobody is more current and qualified than a BE1900 or J31 pilot. "Autopilots are for sissies!"

6) The travel. Yeah it doesn't all suck. Sometimes you get the occasional great overnight. I got to do my RJ type in Berlin. That was pretty cool. One RJ overnight was from Sat afternoon to late Sunday morning in Boston. Heck we took the "T" all over the town and had a ball. My favorite overnights were probably IAD though. The Holiday In Express was clean with a great continental breakfast, and there was a strip mall across the street with a sports bar and several restaurants. Since there were 4 crews overnighting there every night, you always had someone to swap war stories with.

7) The thrill of upgrade. Moving to a new seat was always a new set of challenges, and often very stressful. But what a relief when you made it.

I remember sitting on the roof at the Marriot in Berlin the morning after my CRJ type ride, relaxing in the glow sharing some German Liqueur with my instructor and really feeling like I was something special - a "jet captain."

8) The Humor. Crazy stuff on the radio. Gags and pranks. Nutty jumpseaters. Doing gag PAs for the pax and hearing them laugh.

So I hope this isn't a negative post!

Would I give up watching my daughter grow up for this? Not a chance!
 

TheWife

New Member
Thanks for sharing that.
How old is your daughter?

BTW-negative doesn't bother me, I can take it. Insults and assuming instead of asking are about the only things that really bother me.
 

davidhigbie

Well-Known Member
There's positives and negatives about every career I think. I lived with 7 other people during senior year in college...6 of the 7 just graduated med school this past May and are now interns/residents/whatever young docs are called. They work insane schedules and 1-2 nights a week are on call at the hospital and do not go home at all. 2 of the 6 are engaged (to each other)- imagine how often their schedules cooperate and allow a night out or dinner at home? All of them also owe alot more $$$ on school loans than I do on flight training.

Although their are times when I doubt my career choice and wonder if I'll really make it...once the wheels of the piece o crap C172 that I teach in lift off the ground, it all goes away and, not to sound cheesy, I am happy.

SO, I guess my point to all potential prof pilots is to follow your heart...if you really want to do it and make it a career you have to go for it...otherwise you'll regret it the rest o your days!

This has been one serious thread...been watching it grow all day- yes, I've really had nothing better to do.
 

CRW

Well-Known Member
Well, I just thought I'd add my career in here with the few others.

Truck Driver


It can be the best job if you love to travel and see parts of the US and Canada that most people don't ever get the opportunity to see, however most of the time your resticted to the interstates (wouldn't want to be in Chcago in a 70' long 13'6" tall vehicle). Here are some downsides.


1) Pay
Starting pay is $35,000 if you "run" hard, but most average $27-30K. Once you get 5+ years of experience under your belt, your earnings go up to around 45-60 thousand.

2) Hometime/Schedule
It really sucks. OTR (over-the-road) companies require drivers to stay out 2-4 weeks at a time. Most companies hometime policy is 1-2 days off for every 6-7 worked. You can rarely ever stop at "tourist" locations because of the hectic schedule.

3) Weekly hours worked
The Department of Transportation regulates that we work a maximum of 70 hours in 8 days. However, with the cost of operation going up, and the income being generated going down, drivers are working more like 120 hours per 8 days.

4) Lack of sleep
This goes hand in hand with #3. Most drivers get 5-7 hours of sleep per day. Often, you will be sitting in say, Phoenix, AZ at 1PM and your company calls you and says "we need you in Los Angeles by 8PM for a load to Las Vegas. So you bust your butt to get to LA in 6.5 hours, sit in traffic for an hour and finally get to your pickup point. The foreman says, you can use that hand jack to load your trailer. 35,000 boxes of mustard and 4 hours later your finished. You drive 3.5 hours to Las Vegas and are told to now unload 35,000 boxes of mustard. Another 4 hours later your done to get up at 5AM tomarrow.

5) Security
As many of you have said, security has gone through the roof. With the DOT concerned about "Truck bombs" we are being asked by the Department of Homeland Security to become the "eyes of America's highways". We are also being searched much more at many places around the country. This isn't that big of a deal, but when it wastes 2-3 hours, hours with you can be driving (we're paid by the mile) it gets a bit annoying.

6) Public disrespect
Back in the '50 and '60's, truck drivers were known as "Knights of the road", now they are know as "slobs and pigs". I was using a restroom the other day when a small child and his dad walked in. They use the facilities and wash their hands. The child then goes to throw the paper towel in the garbage and the dad says "Just throw it anywhere, this is just a truckdriver's restroom". I was shocked and was going to speak my mind, but ultimately decided against it.

Miscellaneous
-MOST trucks are restricted to 65MPH by a "Governor" placed on the engine by the company, this is fine unless your in a 70-75MPH state, then you become a major traffic hazard.
-Split speed limits. In CA and various other states, cars can travel 65-75MPH, while trucks are restricted to 55MPH.


Sorry about my rambling!

Now I want it to be known that I'm not complaining, I love my job even with it's downfalls, I'm just attempting to provide an accurate comparison to others career fields.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Truck drivers have my respect. That is truly a more "away from home" job than any I know.

And for the record, I prefer truckstops and the restrooms there because I know they are taken better care of! What a jerk that guy was!
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Like JT, I've always had a lot of respect for truck drivers. To be able to drive those big rigs in traffic and back up to a loading ramp is amazing. I didn't know much about the details of the job...like having to do your own loading. I thought it sucked to have to load my own Aero Commander 500 when I had a 135 job...
 

TheWife

New Member
Well I think it sucks to load my own groceries! You are amazing to work like that. Like a lot of careers, sterotypes are there and will probably never go away. I am trying to deal with the pilot/FA romance stereotype, and the stereotype I see with truck drivers a lot is that most of them are drug users, like meth, to be able to stay awake! (NOT MY OPINION! Just saying what I have heard). There will always be all kinds of stereotypes and until we all grow up a little, we'll have to keep dealing with it!
 

John_Jones

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I am trying to deal with the pilot/FA romance stereotype

[/ QUOTE ]
I have found this to be a big problem with many wives/husbands of FA's and pilots. I have seen it tear apart relationships to. I promise you its not worth it, dont sweat it. If you spend all you're time worrying about it, you will agervate both you're self and you're partner! Marrige is all about trust, and if you dont trust the person you supposably 'love' the most obviously something is wrong...
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
. I am trying to deal with the pilot/FA romance stereotype, and the stereotype I see with truck drivers a lot is that most of them are drug users, like meth, to be able to stay awake! (NOT MY OPINION! Just saying what I have heard).

[/ QUOTE ]

Nothing like a good dose of three amphetimine "go" pills like we have.
 

TheWife

New Member
PS. I trust my husband just fine. He knows that there are no women out there good enough to risk his wife and son for. BUT, it's just irritating when people ask what he's going to do and there eye brows go up and they make comments about so and so who's husband slept with six FA's etc. And when I go to the airports and see one captain and 4 FA's having lunch and they are slobbering all over him. And even with trust, in the back of my mind the thought is just there, but I am working on letting go of that.
I mean, it's not like I am ugly or something so hopefully he's a happy hubby.
 
Top