Thursday, November 16, 2006

Carrie And A Pilot

There's a lot of truth in this letter. He doesn't mention that US Airways led the industry in this. I don't really think of him as bitter at all- more like 'enlightened'.... Reality is not always pleasant. My decision to leave a career where I believe I FLOURISHED was not easy- looking at duty rigs and commuting and everything else that goes along with it makes me think I should become a plumber...I work for a heating and cooling contractor (himself only high school (but hard working) educated.)...He has 6 guys he sends everyday to someone’s house and collects $94.99 for the first HALF AN HOUR!


A Bitter NWA Pilot Retires - to SEARS!

Isn't it interesting that the high school dropouts at the airport security (?) checkpoint have more authority and power than the Captain of the ship? I was certainly born at the right time - to require me to retire before being thrown in jail for telling the homeland insecurity folks what I think of them and their mothers.
Well, the good news is, today I officially retire from Northwest Airlines and I was hired last week for a Service Advisor job in the automotive division of Sears (which is the first real job I had while going to college and loved it and it's what I want to do in my old age)--pay is good and it includes full medical, dental, 401k & profit sharing--should be more than enough even without the retirement money--may still consider the same line of work at a regular dealership at some point, covering my six for now--
I'll be home every night--no more check rides--no FEDS or commuters on my jump seat taking up my office space--no more 25% PENALTY for being legitimately sick--no more scum bag hotels--no more old bitchy flight attendants--no more 14 hour duty days with
10 hour layovers--no more drafting my butt downline to fly the remains of somebody else's trip because they can't staff the airline correctly---no more zero/zero approaches into blinding thunderstorms or blizzards--no more strip searches at the security
checkpoints by high school drop-outs (my I.D. means nothing)--no more subway sandwiches at the airport served by Somalis that can never get my order right. Can't sit down and have a hot meal between legs at a nice restaurant cause there's not enough time--no more missed recitals, birthdays or holidays--no more 3:30 am (body clock) wakeup calls on the east coast--no more number 20 for take off behind 18 little regional jets at La Guardia--no more company bus rides from the employee lot in machines, where either
the rear door doesn't work or the A.C. or heat is out of order--no more "fear and intimidation style management" to live under.
The head honcho of the Sears store actually gave me the second and final interview (not normal). He actually wanted to meet me and said I should consider a position in management with my credentials and philosophies about how I believe people should be
treated and that he was really happy to see someone like me consider a position with his company. He told me I would be an asset to any organization, unlike my current employer, that has always "behind the scenes" regarded me and my peers as liabilities and
Prima donnas...go figure!
I'm not unique. Most pilots at this point still fit the same mold. Unfortunately that mold is slowly and methodically being reshaped by corporate robber barons into something they can shackle to a Yoke and, who, they hope, will never question the methods
to their madness.
The more I re-read this e-mail, the more I wonder why it has taken me so long to come to this decision to hang up flying--oh yeah, it's cause I couldn't touch my retirement money 'till now, penalty free.... I’m finally ready for the simpler life with considerably less stress. It used to be that the airline rewarded us for all these little inconveniences we take for granted and the time we spend away from home and family that was part of our daily lives in this profession. We made good money, had considerable time off and the benefits were to brag about. That is no longer the case.
My Plumber makes more a year now than I do. His labor rate alone was $95.00/hr when he set my kitchen sink last May and he's a high school drop out. His yearly salary is based on a 160-hour work month (40 a week) - My $93.00/hr and annual salary is based on
an 80 hour month (hard time in the air) with considerably more time on duty and away from home. I suspect the New Airline Pilot of the future will probably be one of those kids you remember in high school that got out of classes on a 2:30pm work permit to go
learn a trade because they weren't particularly bright.
Of course he'll have to be on some kind of Government program to pay for his training. There's no way he'll be able to come up with the $100,000.00 in flight training costs to get his licenses, and you'll never see another Military Pilot leave the armed forces for an air carrier position where it will take almost his entire career to reach the salary he left behind at his Military job.
I would not recommend this profession anymore to anyone I really cared about. My guess is the airline industry will have to lower their standards as well as their requirements as the airplanes get more automated (the FAA will agree) if they're going to get any applicants. Let the buyer beware when he takes his next airplane ride in the future.
I have absolutely no regrets about getting out while the getting is good. I used to love my job and the adventure that every trip brought. It's just no fun going to work anymore. It's all about quality of life ---unfortunately, you don't figure that out till you're on the backside of the clock in most careers and in the Big Scheme of things, approaching your own ultimate demise.
Life is really too short to devote one extra minute of your time to a company as well as a profession that is not everything you had hoped for. I'm baffled trying to think of another industry that has so brutally passed on the increased costs of doing business to their employees rather than their customers. Even my garbage man is charging a surcharge for fuel to me rather than rape his employees.

Ps: I will forward a short movie to some of you of my Northwest Uniform going up in smoke so no terrorist can ever use it. My Eastern Airlines uniform and my Navy uniform still hang proudly in my closet...

Clear Skies & Tailwinds,


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