Tough decisions and broken crystal balls


Old enough to have watched Wings live on TV.
One of the unfortunate side effects of having worked for so many airlines (and one corporate dept) over my 18 year career is that I have started to question every decision I make. Part if it is because I have seen so much of our industry. I've watched the rise and fall of stand-alone carriers that seems destined for success (Skybus, Vanguard, Eastwind, ATA, Midway, Midwest, Eastwind, Legend... you name it), and some "airline within an airline" (Metrojet, CAL Light, Ted, Delta Exprerss, Song). I joined AirTran just after the Valujet merger. I watched my friends suffer following the TWA merger. I watched the evolution of commuters from 19 seat turboprop feed to major airlines in their own right. I was there the night United Feeder Service flew her last flight and listened to the sad PA announcement the Captain made that night. And, of course, I was involved in the thousands of furloughs that followed 9/11. 2002-2012 is sometimes called "the lost decade" by 9/11 furloughees. I can't tell you how many employers have told me, "you will upgrade in 5 years" or, "this is the last uniform you will ever wear" much less, "we have never furloughed" or "our furlough protection is iron clad!" So many careers disrupted makes one question every decision.

True that some of my career changes have been due to furloughs, but almost 2/3rds of them have been decisions that I made for myself (chasing upgrades, money, or shiny jets) or for my family (chasing quality of life, time off, perceived job security). It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that some of those decisions when looked at through the mirror of history have been mistakes. I hate regretting what I've done. I don't like wasting time wishing that I had done things differently and yet, I suppose it's who I am because I can't stop doing it.

Anyhow, I am faced with another one of those tough decisions now. I'm 99% sure that I know what I'm going to do. But I find myself second guessing again. Both paths are good ones. I harbor no ill will towards this company as I did towards some in the past. I think they'll be successful and I love the product they provide to the customers. I think they have a bright future.

There are advantages to changing. Ultimately living in a part of the country we like without a commute, a strong CBA, good pay and work rules - but much slower seniority progression.

My wife, to her credit, says she supports me no matter what I choose to do. I love her for her support... But it also means making the decision on my own and hoping against hope that my 9th uniform change in 17 years doesn't come with a whole lot of regret and Monday morning quarterbacking.

Not asking for your help (and I'd like to keep specific company names out of this thread to lessen the risk of Google searches), but just needed to bear my soul to my JC family. Some of you won't understand, or will think I'm washy washy. (You may be right) But there are also those here who have known me for the better part of two decades or more and who will understand completely.
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Zap, I enjoy reading your well thought out posts, but IMHO, you worry a little too much. I say go with your gut, and enjoy your time with your wonderful wife. Keep her happy and live without regret.
Sounds like the decision is made. The new position is something you obviously want.... The industry (from I have seen) is always moving and shaking. Your current company is a place where many are going to escape the regional rat race and from my Magnum P.I. mad skillz I can imagine that the 'soon to be new' company is one that many would consider a place to ride out the remaining career. I havent heard of many going from A to B, but you are going from B to A....

Put the hammer down and don't look back.
In my opinion, you should go for it with no regrets if its an opportunity to put your family in a good position and better your quality of life.

We can't focus on the past because there's not much we can do to change it. All we can really do is keep moving forward and adjusting.

Good luck Zap!
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there are no guarantees…but the only way to live, to truly live and appreciate today, is to put down the shackles of worry and regret. Every thing, good or bad, is woven into the tapestry of who I am today. I really like this person, so to change one thing would be to make me different, to follow my analogy, should I pull out a thread I don't care for, the whole tapestry comes apart. While I can look back and see mistakes I've made in the past, in order to get here, I needed those to learn.
I don't really know you but......
I read a quote a while back that stuck with me.
"You don't stop living life until the regrets you have outweigh the dreams you have".....or something like that. Don't regret your past decisions....they are what make you, who you are today.
I'm ok with my old regrets. It's the new ones that worry me -- and not so much for me, but for my family who are the ones who really pay the price for my being away, commuting, etc.
Honestly, you have to do what's best for the family. Sounds like the commute has been HARD, and the new commute doesn't look like it'll be much better unless you move. I'd love to see you stick around, but you have to do what's best for you and them. Unless you're still planning on moving down here, a move to another airline might be that. Good thing is, if you do leave, you're not giving up a ton of seniority.
I can 100% totally relate, and I haven't had near as many uniform changes as you. I do it to myself on a regular basis and it has been known to keep me up at night.

It honestly sounds like you're in a good place either way, but I think I hear a change in your voice.

And take it from someone who grew up there: Central Florida isn't for everyone. Loving where you live is priceless.
Zap, we don't really know one another but I have enjoyed many of your posts and you seem like a decent guy. What I can tell you is that there are no crystal balls in life or in our careers. There are also no sure bets in aviation any longer. It's all a guess at this point. What was true last year is different this year. It is constantly changing and often not for the good. So much of a career now is not just the decisions we make or don't make, it's breaks, it's luck, it's guessing, it's trying and exploring different paths, (often many of them) , it's networking, it's making and keeping contacts, it's being in the right place at the right time, it's so many variables that are under flux, no one can be completely sure that what they are doing is always the "right" thing any longer.

All you can do is try not to second guess yourself too much. That can make you doubt yourself and stop you from trying new opportunities. We weigh our options, we hope, we try and determine the risks and the losses and the gains. But really in the end, no matter how much we try to plan, no matter how much we try to control things, a lot of what we do is a crap shoot.

And while we all want a rewarding and stable this industry that is not so easy to achieve. What counts, what really matters is how you grow and learn and hone your skills along the way, your family, your wife and kids and your friends. All the rest is icing and much of what people strive for in life....hell, they don't even really need it to be happy. We all desire stability....but again in many careers this is not that certain any longer. What we have for stability is out family and our loved ones and ourselves. It's the ability to take a deep breath, pick yourself up, be able to change and to adapt and keep plugging forward, no matter what.

Sometimes, we just need to step back, take a little breather and gain some new perspective. Sometimes, it's better to wait a bit, and see what happens before making a new choice. Just don't beat yourself up over the past. NO ONE has a perfect past. NO ONE. None of us gets a road map to life that's let's us know everything we are supposed to do and not do. But that's okay....we all walk down that path together.

With the right partner (which it sounds like you have) we can make damn near anything work out eventually and we have that anchor and security in them and their belief in us to keep ourselves going and keep re-inventing ourselves.

I sincerely hope that whatever you decide to do that it works out well for you. Merry Christmas.
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Honestly, you have to do what's best for the family. Sounds like the commute has been HARD, and the new commute doesn't look like it'll be much better unless you move. I'd love to see you stick around, but you have to do what's best for you and them. Unless you're still planning on moving down here, a move to another airline might be that. Good thing is, if you do leave, you're not giving up a ton of seniority.

I'm just a whiner. It hasn't been that bad if a commute other than the fact that it took a while. I made it on my first choice 95% of the time. ;-)
I've been wearing the same uniform for decades. It does not pay as well as a well regarded 73 operator, but a great job with great people, awesome schedule and generally a happy place to be. That said, I would *love* to work for a well regarded 73 operator. Congrats!
1. Determine your values, and which of them matters most.

2. Act in a way that is most supportive of those most important values.

3. Roll like Sherman through Atlanta and let nothing stop you, including the picture in the rear view mirror.
You have to make decisions based on the information that is available at the time they are made. Look at all the variables that you can. Sit down with pen and paper and write out the pros and cons of different decisions. Money, QOL, time with family, retirement, benefits, etc. You can not regret your decisions when outside influences change the variables. That's just life and you have to adapt as necessary. You can, however, take a good look at what you think might happen in the future and base your decision partly on that. Also look at what the path you are choosing will do to your marketability in the event that you find yourself looking for another job.

I'll just ask one question. How will you feel sitting in the right seat of a 737 for 20 years?