Well-Known Member
OK, I need some input here. As most of you have probably read, I don't really care much for the place I am working. My boss is a cranky old tyrant, and treats people like slaves. I work out of a trailer, and fly about 30-45 hrs. a month. I am required to be at the office 9 hrs a day, 7 days a week.

I now have the potential option to instruct full-time at another nearby school. I would have to give up my base salary and go to hourly, but it would be in a 141 program, and I would be flying considerably more. Not only that, I would have the potential to eventually maybe do some Part 135 flying and building more multi time. No chance of that at my current job. I would not have to move, since this airport is reasonably close by (15 min. drive).

A few weeks ago, I would have jumped on this job in a heartbeat, but now that I actually have the chance, I'm a little worried about some things.

First, what would potential employers think of my resume if I quit one CFI job after 4 months there and got another? Will I have a lot of explaining to do? Also, this place is looking for instructors ASAP, so I may not be able to give much more than a weeks notice. I'm not overly concerned about that, because I don't think my boss will really be able to lash out and hurt my career any. But I would feel bad for my students here. Also, my boss here made me sign a contract when I started saying that I would not take employment as a CFI within a 70 mile radius- so that I could not take away business. I don't think that will be a factor, as he cannot tell me where I can and can't work...but he would be the type to take me to court to try.

Overall, I think I would be happier at this other place, and I think the positives outweigh the negatives. I'm not sure why I even have any reservations about leaving where I currently am. Any insight would be greatly appreciated...Thanks in advance!
Nah, you have the right to work. However, if students go with you, he can take you to court.

I'd say go for it. You always try to burn as few bridges as possible, but it seems as if your work environment is miserable. Is a bad word from the owner worth your happiness? I say absolutely. But then again, aviation is a small community. However, I really don't think you'll have a problem explaining that you left for a better opportunity.
I'm not a CFI, but here are my thoughts...

1. I don't think you have to worry about looking like a job hopper if you leave after 4 months. I think if you show them your log book before and then after leaving. They'll understand. IMHO it's better to leave a job after 4 months for something better, than to sit there for over a year doing nothing.

2. Read that contract you signed. While he can't tell you where you can and can't work, by signing an agreement like that you may have given him the ability to do just that.

3. As a student who's been left by 2 CFI's here's how I would want my CFI to handle things. Call each student personally and explain that you're moving to better things. Give them an idea of who is a good instructor at the current school to get on with, and then ask them to call you after they find a new CFI so you can brief the new CFI. My first CFI did this and I really appreciated it. My second just left without a word. That irked me.

4. Finally, 2 weeks should be fine. It is everywhere else.

Good luck to you.

if students go with you, he can take you to court.

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Of course he has to prove that the students left because you left, and not just because they wanted better instruction.

IMHO all the students have to say (if they were asked) is that they decided to go 141 instead of 61, or they wanted to fly better planes, or out of a different airport, etc.

Besides, if your current boss is a decent human being he'll be happy that you're moving up. If not, well then he's probably not worth your time.

Here are some questions I'd ask: How long has the alternate flight school been in business? Does the BBB have anything on file with them? What do the current students have to say about their training? What do the current instructors have to say about the school. Are you sure you'd be flying more? As the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But, if everything checks out, it might be worth a shot.

I can't imagine how your current boss would be able to legally enforce a contract that says you can't work near him! It would have to be a restraining order. I wonder why he said 70 miles and not 100 or 2000 for that matter.
I say go for it. In my experience I have found when a better opportunity arises, take it, because you never know when the next one will come around. I left a part 61 job for a 141 job after three months, I found a replacement briefed him on the student load and made the transition as painless as possible for the FBO, and received no animosity for my departure. Good luck....
First, what would potential employers think of my resume if I quit one CFI job after 4 months there and got another?

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Wouldn't worry about it ... beside you're living in the here and now. If the other job is better go for it. Staying in a dead-end job because of how something you do now may be perceived in the future is kind of silly.

As far as the contract goes A) its unenforcable B) the act of signing something does not inturn make the document you signed legal C) don't tell him where you're going. All he needs to know is that you quit. End of story. If you're worried about it don't even tell your students where you're going. Unless this guys makes it a practice to call around to other schools on a regular basis he won't know (at least right away).

I dunno, though, do you at least get a day off at the new place?
Yeah.... I really don't know what that means. Is that supposed to be forever? So 40 years from now when your a retired captain and want to instruct.... you wouldn't be able to CFI within 70 miles of the guy??? If anything... I'd say it was illegal for him to try to impose something like that on his employees. Maybe r2f can clear it up... Any career changer lawyers out there?
??? If anything... I'd say it was illegal for him to try to impose something like that on his employees. Maybe r2f can clear it up... Any career changer lawyers out there?

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Don't know your state law, but I'd say that your present boss would have a tough time imposing whatever "non-compete" clause.

As has been said - you have a right to work. He can't stop you from taking on a better opportunity.

If it were me, I'd go for it.

If it appeared that your present employer was going to make things difficult - make things difficult for him and get an attorney to make his life miserable.

I'd just tell him that you have a better opportunity. If he's a jerk about it, so be it, but you might be surprised.

(btw - I am not an attorney - I just play one on T.V... er... I mean.... I do all of their work....crap... I'm a Paralegal.
First, what would potential employers think of my resume if I quit one CFI job after 4 months there and got another?

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Most employers understand the nature of the business and it's not unusual for new CFI's to move from one employer to the next trying to improve their resume and quality of flying time. It's really a non issue. BTW, nobody ever asked me about my CFI days during any airline interview other then questions about how I built my time.

CFI'ing is a great time builder and learning experience to prepare you to move on to better things but GA CFI'ing really carries very little weight at the airlines. They want PIC in complex multi engine turbine equipment and it almost seems that what you did prior to that point doesn't even count.

If you have a chance to fly 135 and gain multi time else where, don't let the door hit ya in the #@% on the way out and don't look back. Your slot at your current employer will be filled before you're out the door.

If your students follow you, great! That says a lot about your teaching abilities and the trust they put in you. Your current employer can't do squat in the courts nor will he want to spend the money pursuing it. If he wanted to spend more money he'd pay you more.

Your students are your real boss and they will dictate who teaches them to fly, not your current employer.