What Were Some of Aviations Most Valuable Lessons?
I think one lesson my kids learned was watching their dads work ethic when it came to honing his craft. Every year was recurrent training and they would see their dad lay out all of his notes and training materials on the dining room table. It was organized by systems. He would make flash cards to memorize or walk through procdeures. My husband was a pacer, he really did not sit much when studying except for the computer part. He would walk around and talk to himself. You could see he was flying the procedures in his mind. At first we joked about it, but then we all came to realize that he was pretty serious about being prepared when he went to training. I know this, he needs to be ready so that he can absorb the material. If he felt like he did not have everything else tight, he would not have a good experience. Our kids not only watched that, but learned how to be better prepared and ask good questions.
My dad flew a lot of different trips and some of them had him getting up at crazy early hours. I would notice my dad going to bed early on his days where he would have to get up early. I asked him why once, he said, “would you want your surgeon to be well rested and sharp or dragging his knuckles on the way to your surgery?” Its pretty hard to argue with that.
The Halo Effect
If you go to any kind of social event, it is immedietly apparent that people introduce you or refer to you by what you do. Its impressive to a lot of people. A good friend of mine once responded to my self induced pity party because I had to miss an event because of flying with this quote: “most of us wish we could fly man”. That resonates with a lot of people but sometimes pilots forget because they are caught up in the day to day operation. The halo effect is where people assume that because you have the smarts or ability to make it as a professional pilot, you probably are an expert in everything else. While this is complementary, it is certainly not true by any means. However some pilots start to believe in their own superiority and it can lead to broken marriages and broken friendships. Humility is your greatest friend here and at some point just by being aware that the halo effect even exists can make all the difference in the world. I have often said, don’t let being a pilot define you. You can fly, its not who you are, your a person. I once had an instructor say to me, you can teach a monkey to fly if you have enough bananas
Doing the opposite
In this social media driven life, trends are easily recognized and copied. Its actually an age old problem, people want to be hip or cool and do the same as whatever is popular at the time. Sure flying the biggest jet is considered better by most non pilots. But sometimes flying the heavy jet has the worst schedule. A good indicator is a B-777 position going unbid or super junior in a system bid. The lines or quality of life were so bad at a particular base that it more or less trumped the fact of nostalgia for the big plane. Being a slave to the company, being the whipping boy, reduced rest, long trips and the like get around quickly to crews when it comes time to bid for a new base and aircraft. This leads me to the concept of doing the opposite of what most pilots do. Consider bidding the least attractive equipment (usually the junior plane) and base and becoming senior on that plane for the reason. It works great.
Have a plan B
right now the economy is great as of this writing, however, that is not always the case. The economy moves up and down in a cyclical process. When times are good no one thinks about having a plan for when things go bad however, when the economy turns all the sudden everyone is looking for an idea and it’s often too late. A good plan B is something that you can work on and pick at over the course of time. This blog is a good example I tend to write articles while on layovers and on long legs where there’s nothing much to do. Overtime. Those articles tend to become an authoritative resource. However, anything will do such as remodeling homes, getting into real estate, building a side business, etc.. the real value is thinking ahead and knowing that every 10 years a cell, the airline industry can hand you a real lemon. Yes, you may be the golden child today and have a killer schedule, but you cannot control the lack of good financial leader ship of any company, including airlines.
Read a lot
if you went to college, chances are good that you had to read a bunch of stuff that you didn’t really want to read. However, once that is all over and done with, there’s time to really read so that you can become a better rounded individual. One of the best things you can do is to read books on leader, ship or self improvement. This keeps me motivated, and it’s good for your mental health as well. There is no shortage of good books, and that would also include the increasing popularity of Podcasts instead of just driving to the airport. Listen to a good podcast and get educated as a secondary improvement to your main source of knowledge. Not only does this utilize this dead time, but it makes you a better informed person.
It’s still a rat race
just because you got your dream job does it mean everything is going to be perfect. Schedules can be hectic. You can find yourself coming and going at weird times. You also may find yourself not having enough time with family. It’s a rat race, the best thing to do is get a bigger rat. That’s what this little blog post is about, get smarter, learn to analyze figure out how to improve your quality of life analyze everything it makes a huge difference, the bigger rat that you have the better chances.
so many times I notice guys come to work they do the thing and they kind of just get by which is fine I guess from a lot of people. But they’re missing out on adding value to other peoples lives. You can add value in a lot of different ways. I’m a big fan of asking questions and taking interest in people, that in itself is very rewarding. Find a way to encourage someone whether it be a small child looking up into the cockpit or one of your fellow crewmembers. It’s up to us as leaders to breathe life and positivity into the industry. Otherwise it just becomes a bunch of grumpy, crusty old men and women that are just trying to fly the contract and go home. That sucks.