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.