14th Mar 2012, 14:24
For those that have made a career with the airlines especially ones who have had several employers, redundancies, base closures, contract revisions etc. - did you ever face burnout and just want to walk away. Tips on dealing with the roller coaster ride this is.
14th Mar 2012, 15:35
I agree this is an issue, especially in the frantic pace of our industry and the imposed Victorian work practices of many employers.
Simple piece of advice - happiness and peace of mind are far more important. Yes there may be financial implications and you might have to downsize (maybe temporarily) but if it really is getting to the stage where you feel well and truly burned out then STOP!! Your long term mental, physical and emotional health are far more important than anything else.
When you have had a few months off and your sleeping and eating pattern are back to normal and all the weekends are free and you don't have to cope will pleading calls from crewing you will be able to see things in a completely different light and then make an informed decision as to what you want to do.
I repeat your health is far more important than any job.
14th Mar 2012, 18:02
It helps to take a few months off or flying part time instead of quitting completely. Sure has a financial impact but often only a few days more at home each month or a month of uninterrupted sleep can do wonders. And there are pilot specific burnout training providers who help with identifying problematic areas and how to cope with them, often available via your local union.
Depending on local laws even sick leave might be justified and helps if things are dire, but check your CLA's and local regulation how much paid sick leave is available. For example in my outfit up to nine months of paid consecutive sick leave is available depending on length of service with the company.
Anyway, best time i had when i was forced to sit at home for seven months without flying when my company tried to force me (and quite a few others) out. Regular sleep and eating patterns helped a lot, even the pressure of a potential loss of job didn't matter much after some time.
Sir Niall Dementia
14th Mar 2012, 21:03
Lost my medical for seven months and life became sooo relaxing. Now fifteen years later if they took it away for ever I don't think I would be too upset.
The seven month grounding made me look at other things and I started a business. That company pays me a nice little extra and should I be forced out or when flying finally stops it will become my full time job.
Fifty years old I'm not actually sure I need any more hours (14,500 last time I looked) and certainly don't need more long nights or grief from CAA/JAA/EASA/quality dept/ management. I would miss seeing the sunshine every working day, and some great colleagues, and the smell of JetA1 and the feeling of the aircraft coming alive before departure, I've seen a lot of the world, but now home has a lot of charm and I also own a puddle jumper for flying just for fun.
We all chase the dream at the start, but it really is just another job, sadly too many of us are defined by what we do, not who we are, I'm proud to be a pilot, but I enjoyed it a lot more before we became so ridiculously rule bound. When flying stops I will have great memories and I will be proud to be an ex-pilot who is able to give work to others and who enjoys creating things for others.
15th Mar 2012, 08:21
Sir Niall, I'd echo that. Twice I was med grounded for 6 months. Having achieved over 20k hours on types from HS748 up to 747, and a further retirement job in a rather unpleasant company that thankfully passed away, I find myself back in retirement and loving it, with absolutely no desire to get back into work. It's not the job I came into in 1970 anymore- so much nastiness and desperate shoving for position over others heads!
I have a puddle jumper too which is great, I share a boat, lie in late. What makes the difference in enjoying life though is financial stability, and I would advise while you are working to set aside enough to give you options in life when time is up, and the chance to take a breather. I was unduly lucky and I know easier said than done, but it is something you have to work for and achieve a realisable income post-career.