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A Matter of Time

Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

A Matter of Time

Old 13th May 2015, 19:55
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A Matter of Time

We all seek three basic features from a job: Money or value in benefits, Job satisfaction and Time off or, more pertinently, time unencumbered by the employment. This is not necessarily in order of priority and the value of each aspect is a personal choice.

Of course there are other aspects and features but I would argue that these are the three main pillars. For example, the feeling of being valued and respected by the company would be a subset of job satisfaction.

These three aspects, Money, Satisfaction and Time are almost always counterweighted. If you want more time off be prepared to sacrifice money. Some of the higher paying jobs require eating plenty of humble pie and keeping your mouth shut as fools around you make decisions. Hardly satisfying, depending on your tolerance of bullies.

Most of us try to strike a ratio that is constantly changing as we progress through life.

As pilots early on we often chase the machine. The prospect of a heavy jet, the kudos and the ego send us up the slippery pole, prostituting ourselves as we climb.

Enter the wife and kids and suddenly a C172 looks good if the salary is enormous. Unlikely I know but anything will do if it pays the bills!

Later, when we have flown it and been there and done it several times, our mortality dawns upon us so the appeal of unstressed time off with the children and grandchildren moves to center stage provided there have been no major financial disasters along the way.

In aviation all three pillars have been eroded; less money, less time and increasing stress.

I see many posts asking for information of salary, benefits and flying hours at my company and it amazes me how naive the questions are.

Salary – That’s simple. As an absolute monthly value it has been decreasing in real terms for the past 20 years. This is indisputable and provable to anyone with a modicum of financial savvy. As a function of remuneration per hour the picture gets rapidly worse. Equally provable. This is in line with the industry as a whole.

Job Satisfaction – More complicated. The equipment is superb as is the route structure. Work colleagues are a great bunch on the whole. Company ethos however has been devastated by a punitive culture often devoid of empathy and frequently disrespectful. See threads on punitive action and unexplained major changes – An unexplained order to fly flat out being the latest testament. Additionally there is no cognizance of previous record, you are as good as your last flight and therein the Sword of Damocles hangs. It hardly makes you feel valued or part of some “team”. Attempts to hear concerns through “wash ups” are a placebo to an ever increasing resentment – most issues never followed to a conclusion or even presented to someone who can act or respond coherently.

This brings me to the final pillar…

Time – Arguably this is where the most damage has occurred. To look at flying hours expected per month for an indication would be insanity for any prospective joiner. If they asked that at an interview I would immediately mark them as either having a low problem solving aptitude or a lamb to the slaughter. It is way more complex than that.

The question must be: How much time does one spend in the service of the company? Here is where it gets murky.

For a start any official indication would be false. For example you won’t start work an hour before the flight as per FTLs nor will your work be over half an hour after. There is much about unaccounted duty on this forum.

Then there is the question of how much actual time will be spent in attaining the magic monthly productivity threshold target of enthusiastic rostering clerks. This can vary by over 50% depending on fleet and roster. Understand that if you spend more time at work in pursuit of your hour target you will get less time off to recover. Insanity at its finest. Ask the walking zombies on the No ULR/Turnaround fleet over the last years.

Next factor in time not accounted for in the productivity target but nevertheless rostered. Simulator sessions, groundschools, SEP. Serious work but the target hours will not be affected, look forward to real roster compression.

Next factor in the time spent with other company related business. Online learning, endless deluges of notices many accompanied with dire warnings on failure to comply report and email writing to explain various online occurrences.

Leave and Days off is a subject all on its own. Again there is much on this forum. Leave is often used in for and in lieu of days off. A financial coup for the company when they attain over 90 hours with 5 days leave in the month.

Now drill down some more: Accommodation and Payroll issues, medical claims and appointments, claims for various other legitimate expenditure, Roster and Leave queries, HR compliance – the list is endless. Many of these involve multiple unanswered emails and phone calls due to the inability or reluctance to act or simply inadequate or incompetent staffing. Claims are legendary. The system seems to be designed for every possible obstacle and delay.

I have not even begun on the time spent simply living in the city. This comes with a host of requirements to simply exist. Photos and original copies are required for almost everything, the distances are vast, the traffic frenetic, parking sparse and you are likely to be met by a blank face advising you they require yet another form not mentioned on website or phone. Banks are at liberty to do exactly what they like with little avenue for recourse. The best of a bad bunch is another topic on this forum. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time in monitoring the villains who will attempt to extract another penny for every service you may need. Perhaps other posters can flesh out this area – The multiple frustrations of living in the Middle East.

I could go on but hopefully the essence is clear.

If you have eyes in this direction please do your homework and look at how the three fundamentals are important to you both now and in the future. However pay special attention to Time- You can’t buy it and lack of it makes you sick and old. There won’t be nearly as much as there seems on paper. It is extracted at every turn.

With low hour FO’s on the cards due to the recently reduced experience bar and DECs in the offing, allegedly being lured by joining the salary scale several steps above other captains, the package may look attractive but I suggest they consider what is important in life and do a pragmatic review.

Don’t return home with a bank balance but a bankrupt and broken life.
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Old 13th May 2015, 20:02
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Thumbs up

Well said !!!
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Old 13th May 2015, 20:41
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Very good...
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Old 13th May 2015, 21:04
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Excellent and well thought out post Pixy. Life as we know it, in a nutshell.
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Old 13th May 2015, 21:25
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Perfectly stated
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Old 13th May 2015, 22:35
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Hi Pixy

Well said.

This applies to ANY job, ANYWHERE, I work in the Far East and the considerations mentioned here are just as valid.
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Old 14th May 2015, 02:17
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This is the most accurate description of working for EK that I've seen. It should be handed out at all road shows and interviews!
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Old 14th May 2015, 05:28
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An intelligent, perceptive and insightful post

Thanks for taking the time to write it.
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Old 14th May 2015, 06:31
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Old 14th May 2015, 07:44
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@ Pixy

Another cogent statement of facts from you. I do enjoy your postings... Keep them coming...!
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Old 14th May 2015, 08:06
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Well said,

The have summed up the very reasons I want to retire on peanuts.
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Old 14th May 2015, 08:49
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Nice post Pixy...

Direct, accurate and factual.
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Old 14th May 2015, 11:20
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Worth more than 10 "Employee Surveys", and a fraction of the cost. If management want feedback here it is. Print, deliver to top floor, convene, find solutions, implement and promulgate.

If there was genuine intention this narrative would be passed up the ladder as we know its already been read. They should be moving with the times and acknowledging social media. It is often brutally honest.

They might also find the cost of improvement is less than they fear. Its not all about the money as stated.

Great post.
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Old 14th May 2015, 12:52
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Would it be fair to say you had due warning & full heads upwhen you were asking Q's a few moons ago prior to you and wifey moving to the 'Meydan Mansions' from the UK. ?

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Old 14th May 2015, 20:42
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Sorry Pixy, but I have to agree with fliion on this one. Nice post, but if you arrived after the beginning of 2009, did you think all of the "frustration" posts were just guys that had been at the pub too long?

Nevertheless, much of what you post is true. Will outsiders that read your post not heed your missive or ignore it as you may have ignored other posters post 2009? But please forgive me if you are pre 2009.
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Old 15th May 2015, 04:05
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Absolutely Correct

I've worked in the ME for over 10 years. This is the first post that really tells it like it is. Any dreamy-eyed aviator aspiring to get onto 'heavy iron' needs to read this.

Good work!
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Old 17th May 2015, 11:49
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Well said Pixy this is exactly what I say to the young first officers.
I am expecting an offer as Dec, but I didn't know you guys were flying above 90 hrs, so im not going. There is no amount of money that will make me work like you do guys. I m planning to go back home flying in the north 65 hours a month.
Time is the key, and when you go shopping think about how much life (time)you are going to exchange for that thing u want so much, I now buy only the things I really need, my time is too precious. Good luck to you all in finding
time vs money equilibrium. Im planning to retire early also with less money
on a low cost style because my time is what I want, nothing else.
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Old 17th May 2015, 12:46
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The comment...you did not know that guys were flying above 90 hours a month...worries me.

I am now convinced that people think that the regulars on here, go home, ingest illegal substances and start typing.....

Generally what is on here are the facts, or pretty close to them.

Do your homework people.
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Old 17th May 2015, 13:59
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Others on here seem to have joined without even knowing how many Salary steps there are. Big shiny jets must be more important.
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Old 17th May 2015, 15:40
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I'm more interested in the "12 Steps" as this place has driven me to drink

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