Monday, May 09, 2011

I'd Rather My Life Be About Flying, Too

A few days ago, a reader posted a comment that I was expecting. Truthfully I was expecting more resembling this comment, and sooner.

OK, I think this diversion was fun. I also think it has gone on long enough and we ought to get back to flying or something close. Don't ya 'spoze... If we don't (or won't) want to write about flying anymore, let's reclassify and get off the aviation lists. Frankly, I DO think you still give a twit about flying and you are just hiding it because you are a bit frustrated - and I can appreciate that. Maybe it is time to take a slightly lesser flying job, keep those hours building and do what you are supposed to do. Some folks on their way up the ladder believe that ANY flying is better than no flying. Where do you stand?

I answered briefly (or at least as briefly as I get) in a comment, but decided to take some more room here to answer more thoroughly, point by point. As I learned as an instructor, most of the time when someone asks a question there are others wondering the same thing. I appreciate your attention and your comments, and enjoy hearing from different people as I happen to veer into your areas of expertise. This blog, as it has always said up there at the top, is about the adventures of an aviatrix: me. I am doing my level best to make them once again aviation-related adventures, but I can only write so many posts about PDFs of resumes. I like to be a reliable blogger, but in my case reliability is in the regularity my posts, or at least reliable information on when I'll blog next, as opposed to reliably blogging on a given topic. Despite my diversions, I think I produce as many aviation-themed posts in any given year as any other non-aggregator in the blogosphere. Remember in that vein that a non-aviation post is not depriving you of an aviation one, just giving you something to see before the next time I have an aviation-related one ready.

I'm a little surprised to have given the impression that I was unwilling to write about flying, or that I didn't care about flying. I didn't think much more than a week went by without me saying something about my desire to be flying, my impatience to hear back from a company I had interviewed with, or at least comparing what I was doing to some aspect of flying. I'm definitely not trying to hide it. Getting off aviation lists wouldn't really be something I could do of my own accord. Most blog directories, well the good ones, at least, classify blogs themselves and I wouldn't even know where to look to find what lists I'm on or how to get off them.

The "time to take a slightly lesser flying job" question is an interesting one. I wonder if he has ever tried to take a slightly lesser flying job. What is a "lesser" flying job? For less money? The job for which I attended groundschool would have paid half as much as my previous one, and for close to twice as much work. A slower or smaller airplane? Not out of the question. Every type of commercial operation is different, and the management want pilots who have direct, recent experience in the narrow area they are hiring for, yet who do not have so much experience that they could easily get a different job. I apply for but don't get called to interview for near-entry level jobs, even ones I really want, because my resume is clearly not one of an entry level pilot, and the employers want someone who needs the job as a rung on the ladder, and who will take some time to be eligible for a different one. Cynically, such a pilot is easier for them to abuse, and practically they feel they have a better chance of amortizing their investment. I'm already eligible for almost any job advertised without specific type-rating demands, but as the specific type of time any given employer might be asking for falls further into the past, my competitiveness as a candidate declines. And yes, that's very frustrating, and it's something that sent me to go back to school and prove that I could go and learn things like I was still twenty.

I have absolutely no interest in time-building. It's one of the strengths of my resume, that any employer can look at it and see that I'm not applying because I'm looking to build time. My time is built. I'm not sure what "do what you were supposed to do" means in the question. If I was supposed to fly airplanes and write only about aviation, then you not I are the one doing the supposing. I'm a whole person and I do lots of stuff, little of which I consider to be something I'm not supposed to do.

Any flying is most definitely not better than no flying. If you are flying unsafe aircraft, with undocumented dangerous goods, with abusive management or customers, or otherwise operating in an environment hazardous to the physical or mental health of yourself or others, you're making a poor decision. I will fly for any operation I consider to be safe and respectful. Regular readers have seen me accept a contract to fly an airplane I could lift without starting the engine, and jump in a simulator for an airplane that could probably lift my house. I'll follow any SOPs I consider safe, legal and moral, but I won't stay long where I'm not respected.

It so happens that the school from which I embezzled the most recent phase of my education ended its winter term. The students all applauded the professors on the last day of classes, something that seems superior to what happened when I went to school. I think we all walked out grumbling about the exam schedule. I cancelled the Netflix subscription without watching anything else I deemed worth reporting on. Except that I watched all the Red Dwarf episodes, including a few series that weren't out the first time I watched them. I discovered that you can be inspired and roll your eyes at the same time, with the line, "Even the word "hopeless" has hope in it." Netflix Canada has a very poor selection. I'm holding back on trying another movie delivery option because whether DVDs-by-mail will work depends on whether the job I am destined to get is in Nowhere, Nunavut or Downtown Distribution City.

And all this blogging isn't a complete waste of time, as I now have e-mail from a couple of blog readers with real job tips: jobs that are available to a Canadian, and related to my experience. One of the companies experiences an unfortunate setback actually during our rapid-fire e-mail conversation but the other one seems promising, as the employer e-mailed me back.

Update: I removed the reader's posting name from this blog entry because, while I wasn't intending it as a name and shame, he took some heat from the blogosphere and sent me a sincere apology. So we're good now.


Will said...


Please don't be discouraged. Usually the dissatisfied minority is most vocal. I look forward to each of your posts, aviation-related or not.

JetAviator7 said...

To the winner go the spoils, or so the saying goes.

Or, better yet, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

No matter, the point is keep on applying, trying and interviewing until you get what you want, then hang on to it for all your worth. Trust me, once you get that job you will love it.

5400AirportRdSouth said...

I'll admit to glossing over the linguistic chapters lately, mostly because I have little interest in it personally. HOWEVER, I did find your enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject fascinating in and of itself.

I can read I'm-a-pilot blogs all day long, few and far between are I'm-a-pilot-and-an-interesting-human-being at the same time.

I personally don't feel the original comment has any worth other than peanut gallery chaff, If it were me, I'd keep on with whatever makes you happy.

Aaron said...

Hang in there 'Trix! Something will come up at some point. Your attitude, about what is certainly a tough situation, is admirable.



sean said...

Don't stress it 'Trix.

Some people tend to forget that you don't owe us anything. Your posts, while entertaining and informative, are not your job. Every post you do takes your time and effort, and you get nothing from us, your readers, but appreciation.

Personally, I welcome every post. Whether about aviation, Cambodia, linguistics, or poetic posts about caturday. You take time out of your day and express what you want to say in a way that I want to read.

So, because I've never said it before, thank you for the many hours that you've put in. I've enjoyed the hours taken to read it all.

DataPilot said...

Any flying is most definitely not better than no flying. If you are flying unsafe aircraft, with undocumented dangerous goods, with abusive management or customers, or otherwise operating in an environment hazardous to the physical or mental health of yourself or others, you're making a poor decision.


Back in the early 1980's, I flew for a fixed base operator that routinely sent pilots out into dangerous circumstances. I put up with it for three years because I was young and stupid and immortal. I put up with it despite the sexual harassment (a term that didn't yet exist), since I thought all female pilots were expected to tolerate that crap. I put up with it even after one of the other FBO pilots crashed and died and my boss lied to the NTSB about the circumstances. I put up with it because my desire to fly was so great that it outweighed the value that I placed on my own life.

Neither you nor I are that gullible anymore.

Cirrocumulus said...

Write what you want to write.
If a reader doesn't like it, their remedy is to skip it. Just please don't start writing when you haven't anything to say!

Cirrocumulus said...

PS if anyone knows of a blog by someone flying prohibited freight for gangsters please post the URL.

D.B. said...

I will admit to nor reading the linguistics posts as avidly or as thoroughly as the "where in Alaska is Aviatrix" series of yesteryear.

Still, I agree 100% with the commentary about enjoying reading about an interesting, inquisitive and intelligent "whole person", who happens to work in aviation. Keep your chin up - something good is about to happen.

Ben Read said...

I second what 5400 and sean wrote. Hang in there. One big strength of this blog is that it provides a broad-spectrum portrait of the life of a pilot. Everything you've written about is part of the picture. Your loyal readers wish you well in all respects as a person, not just as a source of aviation narratives.

Aviatrix said...

You guys are so nice. I really wasn't fishing for validation. Now I feel so guilty I'm writing a post about generators. See what you made me do?

zb said...

Wow. It's a rare quality that someone is this considerate while answering a question. It has sometimes been mentioned how nice the comments are in this blog -- compared to other places on the many, many internets. Well, I guess the comments just reflect the style and tone set by the host. Thank you.

You know who keep their fingers crossed over here, or, as the saying and gesture goes for us; we keep our thumbs pushed.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Netflix Canada has a very poor selection. ..."

I noticed the same thing about Netflix... I'm a big fan of iTunes 99Cent "theatre." At least there are usually reviews available to give me some idea of what to expect - and reviews online elsewhere. Don't usually mind risking 99cents, but the 1H30M of my life I'm more concerned about.

Re: Blog Topics - I'm always amazed when people who read blogs for free! begin to believe you owe them something. It's a strange, strange mindset indeed. At least this reader was positive, encouraging and not really expressing the "you owe me," attitude. But there are some ....

Grateful for anything you feel like posting,

TgardnerH said...

I think like most of your readers, I showed up for the planes (I was googling to find out what you do if the engine dies half way down the runway and you only have one engine), but stayed for the writing and the interesting stories. I too want to hear about your next job when you get it, but mostly just because I have a sneaking suspicion that you'll be enjoying life more when you get it.

Your care and restraint in your response is impressive, so I'll say nothing more than that cederglen should be ashamed to feel so entitled to something freely given by a stranger.

P.S. I, for one, enjoy the linguistics posts.

Paul said...

Oh generators, goodie. ;)


Paul said...

Gotta say, linguistics is not my thing, but I thouroughly enjoyed the concept of "stealing" education! Kudos for an excellent idea.

Especially for something that interests you, but is a soft science or arts course that you will never get your tuition back in the job market.

While staioned in Europe, a friend of mine used to take his little girl, who loved swimming, to big fancy hotels to "steal the pool". Similar concept.

I don't mind the odd non-aviation post, or even series of posts. I am in full agreement with the comment made by 5400AirportRdSouth, I too much prefer I'm-a-pilot-and-an-interesting-human-being at the same time blogs.

Keep up the good work, and (hopefully soon) keep up the "good work".

Inspector said...


I have followed your blog with interest for years. I believe that we are in similar situations. I recently left the aviation industry (although I do some freelance flight instruction still) because after achieving my ATPL, Class 1 Flight Instructor Rating, an Aviation Diploma from a well-known college and a Bachelor of Aviation from Australia, I was unable to find even an entry level job where 200 hour pilots were getting hired.

I decided that I had more to offer than simply flying. I have applied to law school and received an offer to one of my first choices and am in the midst of applying to medical school. During this time, I went back to school to improve my application to medical school and was surprised to find many of the same experience that you've blogged about.

All of that being said, after not being employed as a full-time pilot for over a year, I find myself missing the profession. I now find myself in the position of trying to see if I can attend a professional school and then marry the two professions.

Thanks for your posts, I enjoy them very much!

Chris said...

Hey, Trix--

Just passing through. Love what I've read--interested in a link exchange? Check my aviation-related blog and let me know.

Please don't let anyone talk you out of your voice, your focus and your subject matter. Your eyes and heart and soul are what make your blog unique and thoroughly readable. There's never any shortage of critics wanting you to speak more in the voice they wish they had, or tailor your thoughts to theirs. Nonsense.

Keep up the good work, and don't give a second thought to those who would offer nothing, but would take your unique and excellent viewpoint away if they could. Don't let them!