I receive many questions about my aviation career, and how I got to where I am. This particular email was interesting due to the author's fear of needing 10 years before he had enough experience to go to a major airline. Take a look and tell me what you think:
"I am planning to get an undergrad either Business or Aviation (with the pilot license). Obviously the aviation degree sounds a ton more attractive then Business degree (interest wise). I looked through your blog, studied our previous conversations and the advice you gave me, and over the past couple of months, I realized how great it would be to fly and do something I love instead of wasting time doing something boring/not interesting for money. Of course there are people over the internet, friends and even my mom who tried to pull me away. And as you said in one of your blog "run from those people", and I'm trying my best to follow my dream.
So my question is, how did you get where you are now? From flying while doing college to B727, B737, B747 B757 B767 and now the A330... One of my biggest concern is the money to get to where you are now. Obviously opportunities and regulations have changed, but how many years was it before you became a professional major airline pilot for northwest? Flying is already expensive but studying college while flying? How many part time jobs did you have to get? :P.
Forget about the barriers to get to your commercial license, I am frightened by the fact that even after you get hired by the regional airlines, you need at least 10 years or so before you have enough experiences to be hired by a major airline, I would love to fly for those regional airlines, but many knows that regional pilots barely able to pay their bills."
How did I get to where I am now?
We'll get the full story one day. But today is about my principles of life.
By never saying no to a job, despite the complications. By taking every opportunity to learn. By living each day with a dream of the future, but not living in that future. Enjoying each job, and each moment. I had the attitude that when one job shut down, another was waiting in its place.
My life was a little different because I made career choices with childcare in mind. I took a non-seniority teaching job while my kids were young. I commuted because I did not want to uproot them. But that teaching job that I sacrificed the seniority number for, turned out to open more doors, and gave me the ability to teach on the side...and for NWA.
The real question here is how many years before I got hired by NWA? I thought if I didn't have a job with a major airline by the time I was 23, I was out of luck. That was the reality when I started flying. As life would have it, I got that first job with Evergreen at 25. And exactly 10 years later, I was hired by NWA. There were many jobs in that ten year span. But it was the philosophy of not giving up that enabled me to reach my dreams.
The point is... times today are different. We will have a pilot shortage in the very near future. I cannot believe that any pilot starting today would work longer than two to five years in a commuter job, unless they wanted to.
How many side jobs?
How much money do you need to live on?
Getting to the majors is not an easy task. But if anyone goes into it with fear, and the 'what if I don't make it' attitude, chances are you won't. You need to go forward knowing what you want, while not fearing the unknown, or fearing the what ifs. If you love each day and what you're doing... loosening your tie to the end result will help you get there.
The point is, there are no guarantees in life. What if you don't make it? Will you feel you wasted your life? What if you get hit by a car tomorrow? What if you were on your death bed at 99 and never did what you wanted to do in your life?
Wasting your life means living in fear of the what if,
and never following your dreams
Best of luck to all the dreamers. I say... Go for it! For everyone else... what advice do you have for our pilot to be?
Enjoy the Journey!