Thursday, July 31, 2008

A response to a comment

Rodolfo sent me this-

'Hey David check out this quote from this mech forum:

"I have 27 years experience, in all facets of aviation, and if I leave my current job, all I have to look forward to is about 17 bucks an hour at a new job. So 27 years of experience, plus 30K in tools, is worth 17 bucks an hour. "

It makes me sick to think about it.I know why I got into aviation. It wasn't the money. It's in my blood and I know it. But these statistics aren't very encouraging to someone starting out. If my goal was to be single for the rest of my life I wouldn't care. But I'm at that age where I could actually see myself as a husband and father. If an opportunity comes along that is outside aviation I'm almost tempted to go for it.'


I am NOT out to discourage you. Especially if you're in it for love rather than money.

Aviation is more volatile that 100LL. I think it's getting worse.

I've seen shops close without notice. Complete with padlocks from the FAA and IRS. (I ran into a guy years later that told me he had to get a lawyer to get his tools out of the hangar.)

I've been with companies that lost contracts. Once, I just pulled one patch off of my shirt and Velcros another on. The other time it took an international relocation. I had to move my family home from Sicily.

Right here at Wiley Post Int'l I got laid off one July. I went down to the other end of the same hangar and got a job lined up for the very Monday after my current job ended. Same money etc. Same everything.

Two months later, on a Monday, my new boss called me in, "David, you see that Baron out there?"
It was hard to miss. It was the only paying customer in the place at the time.
"Yeah, I see it."
"When you're done with it, I don't have any work coming in for two months. I'm gonna have to lay you off."

Big deal, I thought. Just went through the same thing two months ago...

On the way to work the next day the news on the radio wasn't good. It was horrible.

I got to the shop just in time to see the second plane driving into the World Trade Center.

G.A. went to shit. Quick.

The reason I say that it's getting 'worse' is because of buy outs and sell offs.

Just this week-

I heard of a company in Alabama that was bought out. (Not sure when this happened. It was recent given the age of the storyteller.)

A meeting was called. NO ONE from the outgoing management was present. The new owner said, "In case you don't know, I am the new owner. All of you with badge numbers above number 500, you are terminated as of now."

Yesterday, I met a man that I'd known by name and reputation for 20 years. He'd been with the same company for 23 years.

That part of that company had been bought out, "All of your are fired."

Now, my (presumably) young friend, I've said all of that to say-

Weave yourself a net of friends. It's your safety net. (Be prepared to catch friends as the fall too.)

Continue your education now while it's just a bitch to do so. Don't wait until its nearly or seemingly impossible. Weave more friends.

Build your skills. Various skills, but be sure you're confident in a couple of them regardless of the airframe involved.

You have no idea how it pains me to quote my Grandad on this one but, "It's your attitude." When the other guys are grumbling, keep your mouth shut. Don't fall into the 'this place sucks' void. It will suck you down.

I could go on. TRUST ME! I've been thinking about this post since 0530 this morning!

Rodolfo, just be prepared to bail and have a landing zone in sight. It might not happen but...
When it does...

Either way, do you really want to be dragging your knuckles around a hangar deck 27 years from now?

That doesn't mean you have to get out of aviation. You just have to get ahead of those of us that have done it for decades. It should be easy for you! We're old, beat up, bruised, crippled, blind, slow, and, at any given moment, bleeding profusely!!!

"Come on in!!! The water's fine."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wise words David, as usual.

David said...

I don't know 'bout "wise". Just honest.

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