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Burnout in the pilot profession

Old 21st Jan 2018, 17:16
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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topic from 2011.
you have a good sense of timing LOL
Burnout is possible, in many jobs as well. But it depends how you see the jobs. As long as you don't care, just do your job, no more no less, go home and leave it behind you, burnout will not happen.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 13:35
  #22 (permalink)  
BSD
 
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I can't take issue with any of the previous posts, they all seem to have valid points made on both sides of the debate.

I've gone on longer than I'd expected to and now have a little over a year to go.

Whilst like any job, frustrations from time to time can overwhelm one, in essence I can say "I enjoy the job, I shall miss it when it's gone"

Have I avoided burn-out? I'd like to think so, but my colleagues might be a better judge.

If I could put my finger on three things which have made this job one I still relish, they would be:

1. I've worked for a good company for a long time. I've only suffered one bankruptcy in my career and was out of work for only 5 weeks. The company is good partly because we have a strong union peopled by keen, intelligent, fair-minded pilots. They've kept the managements excesses at bay.

2. Variety. Short-haul, long-haul, a mix of both, detachments, secondments, base changes, type changes, etc. They re-vitalise you.

3. I was lucky enough to marry the right woman who has coped with all the ups and downs, "the reversals of fortune" the frustrations from time to time, the rosters that didn't work for us and been beholden to the tyranny of a roster over which we've had little control. That stable family base is critically important I'd suggest.

My AME has made a study of burn-out and both lectures and writes on the subject, but for me the three points I've made above have been key. Oh, and when I found the delete button on my computer and learned to get rid of anything that came from the PR dept, the blogs, Vlogs, general propaganda, weekly updates and the like, focused solely on being a professional, flying safely, efficiently and comfortably, my blood pressure dropped, my stress levels dropped and the roses smelled a good deal more lovely!
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Old 20th Jan 2019, 00:18
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Managed through contacts (and much luck) after paying for my own type-rating (I know.. I know..) to get a years contract work, this turned into a second year and I had no problem believing what I'd been told that it would go on indefinitely. It was well paid, through a US agency where because I self-employed contract non-resident Brit in SE Asia paid zero tax... single in 30's, I was rolling in cash, also great girlfriend, nice apartment , you get the picture.

However was working with some OK guys, but a lot of politics, a lot of shit and actually pretty miserable existence., I dreaded days sometimes and hated earlies (really screwed me up).. so rather than quit (which was what I should have done if I were rational) I took "sick" leave and then went AWOL... the long and short of it was this was 2006... and the company wouldn't give me a reference until early 2008 when I repaid some dispute items (I refused before mostly because they were wrong)...

Believe me you CAN suffer burn-out after just a few years..... or at least have some sort of break-down... it doesn't take decades.... and can happen to anyone.

Never went back to flying, my old profession in Software was in huge demand, the money was the same or better, and I kind of drifted away, too old now to go back after such a gap, but no regrets.

Oh yes, both the CP and some of my colleagues have also left flying and now work doing various other stuff... well actually CP was jailed so his career came to an abrupt end!
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Old 20th Jan 2019, 02:30
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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I have been described as a "prickly sort". I dont have an anger management problem. i get p!ssed, get angry, tell you exactly what i think, and then my anger goes away. Still pulling 120/80 every medical
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Old 26th Jan 2019, 06:14
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Good thread.
My advice: go to contracting.
You'll make more money, so you'll be able to afford to leave, if you want to.
You have some control, which is quite positive, because you won't be tied in by seniority.
Working in other countries can be jolly interesting.

My only regret is not starting earlier.
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 14:59
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1998
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I was right seat in a A330 in 2009, thought there was no way I could do this for th next 30 years. So I went corporate, and never looked back. Never done greater than 400 hours a year, the lowest was 100 ! Been all over the world , and itís been a blast . Plenty of time off between trips to catch up on rest.
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Old 9th Feb 2019, 21:40
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dan Winterland View Post
For me, the fun went out of flying when I left the military.

And now, the fatigue, the constant pressure of management decisions, the perpetual adjustment of rosters,the constant re-writng and inventing of SOPS and manuals and attacks on our terms and conditions, especially in the area of FTLs have made the job a chore which quite frankly I would not be upset if I had to stop tomorrow. (Apart from the cash that is!)

Not burnout, just fatigue and tedium.



My advice, go and get a hobby removed from flying and leave the job behind you when you leave the airport. Sailing works for me.
I sympathise Dan as I felt much the same way. I stuck with the arline business for twenty plus years after military but bailed out early. Don't get me wrong, I flew with some great people either side of the flight deck door but the sheer tedium of sitting on autopilot for hour after hour at all times of the day and night did not do a lot for me. The only challenges were the difficult airports and the days when things went awry for whatever reason. I also found the relentless changing of SOP's and reinventing the wheel an absolute pain. I still do a little flying but like you have found other hobbies to keep me occupied !
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 04:08
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
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Stilton

I'll help you get over your burnout you poor things
I am not surprised you had a nasty stressful divorce from hell with heart problems if this is the way to speak to other people. You must be such a lovely person to fly with.

I am not surprised you don't know how real the fatigue is when you you didn't fly for several years anyway.

You grow up.

No doubt most pilots suffer from fatigue. Do you really think you are some type of super human that doesn't suffer from fatigue? Well done hero.

No you can't be superhuman as you had other several health issues. I wonder how well you have taken care of your health and diet in the past ?

life sux hey?


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Old 16th Feb 2019, 21:08
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Stilton

I think you are being a little unfair here. Not all folk are cut from the same block, have known some under immense pressure that just buckle down with it, others crack, same whether on the line or any other profession. You may well have had it not so good (and my genuine sympathy) but that if anything should be making you more empathic!

A little sympathy for your colleagues would not go amiss!

Flash
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 22:21
  #30 (permalink)  

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Hopefully Stilton will have got over his problems.....he posted over eight years ago.
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Old 3rd Mar 2019, 02:47
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Eight years ago I wrote
Not burnout, just fatigue and tedium.
I would say now that in my late 50s, I may have been getting too much of that tedium and fatigue - to the point you could say I'm close to burnout. Since then, we've been working harder and the FTLs are being increasingly ignored. I used to sit on the company Fatigue Management Committee and used to hear comments such as "Sure you're working hard, but it's within the limits". I liked to point out that limits are not targets. The engines can be used at full power for five minutes on every take-off as that's in the limits too. But if the pilots started doing that, they would end up with plenty of time off while the aircraft are grounded during frequent engine changes.

Most pilot manning projections are based on all pilots working to 65. This isn't happening - most retiring from my airline are stopping well before 65 and I suspect it's the same with other airlines. I will not be flying an airliner past 60. I was were to, I would probably be dead before 65 anyhow.
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Old 12th Mar 2019, 11:22
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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Originally Posted by Dan Winterland View Post
Eight years ago I wrote I would say now that in my late 50s, I may have been getting too much of that tedium and fatigue - to the point you could say I'm close to burnout. Since then, we've been working harder and the FTLs are being increasingly ignored. I used to sit on the company Fatigue Management Committee and used to hear comments such as "Sure you're working hard, but it's within the limits". I liked to point out that limits are not targets. The engines can be used at full power for five minutes on every take-off as that's in the limits too. But if the pilots started doing that, they would end up with plenty of time off while the aircraft are grounded during frequent engine changes.

Most pilot manning projections are based on all pilots working to 65. This isn't happening - most retiring from my airline are stopping well before 65 and I suspect it's the same with other airlines. I will not be flying an airliner past 60. I was were to, I would probably be dead before 65 anyhow.
I sympathise.

All I would say, is that for me, looking back, the warnings were obvious. My blood pressure started being consistently higher than it ought, taking it at home it would be for example 133/89.This was complicated by the fact that I’ve always had ‘white coat syndrome’, and frequently the Dr would have to take a reading more than once at Medical’s. I felt like there was no way out, very limited options and suffered colds, sore throats and other niggly things.

Things improved when I once again changed jobs. I played the bass guitar and I thought that would be helping any stress that I still felt. My blood pressure was still an issue, but not enough to talk about going on medication. Ironically, I remember telling my aviation Dr at my final medical, that I would prefer to lose my medical than die! Nothing came from that discussion, which I now see as yet another cry for help. I ought to have been more forceful, but denial has its comforts. I started line training with my new company, and after a couple of years moved onto sim training and checking, which I really enjoyed.

So, it came as a total surprise to me when four years on I suffered a life changing stroke on the 19th of April 2011.

Looking back, it shouldn’t have been that surprising. Also, I would now say that my stroke was a blessing. Some might find that hard to compute. It was a rude awakening, but an awakening nevertheless.

If you recognise anything I’ve talked about. Speak to a Doctor.

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