13 March 2008

Interview, part 1

Okay, well, everybody wants to know, so:
I made it through the interview. I'll tell more about it in a bit, lots to do right now, but I did survive. The sim was awful, but then I haven't flown anything in nearly two years, and I didn't have to fly an approach then (man was it ugly). But as one of my fellow interviewees mentioned later, because I have so many hours in crew airplanes I suspect they gave me a big pass on a lot of things. Didn't know all the tech questions, haven't ever had to read a Jepp chart before (we used USCGC/NOAA charts in the Air Force, which I like better because they're less cluttered; also, I'm used to them). Got through the HR interview okay though. The easy part. I was pretty surprised they asked me back for the "physical" on Wednesday, though I guess some of my fellow interviewees were not as surprised even with my being horribly noncurrent. I guess the hours and the crew time is a good thing.

So I haven't formally been offered the job, that comes on Friday after they complete the background check and my paperwork goes to a Captain's Board. I don't think there's anything in the background check that will be a problem and I've been told the Captain's Board isn't likely to deny you a job offer when the company wants to hire as many pilots as they do (700 this year) unless you turn out to be a total jerk and nobody else noticed. So there's a pretty good chance I'll get offered the job on Friday.

Now I just have to figure out whether I actually want it. Lots of time away from home--as in, more than half--and the pay actually isn't that great. They pay $24.34 an hour for first year guys, which sounds great. But you are legally permitted to fly only 1000 hours a year for a 121 company (that is a passenger-carrying company). So you do the math. For perspective, a first-year teacher in Anderson School District 5 makes $29,600 a year (give or take a few bucks). Food for thought. If I make $12.67 an hour and work 48 40-hour weeks a year I make the same. And I'm probably home every night.

I want to fly again, but unlike every other interviewee and all the captains I talked to, I didn't grow up wanting to fly for the airlines. I happened upon this thing accidentally, and as much as I enjoy it... I don't know whether I want to take on the burden of commuting to San Juan, flying for three or four days, then commuting home, then doing it all again the next week. That's just a lot of time away from home and Smittygirl--I don't think it's a good idea to start married life by spending four nights a week away from home all the time, especially when there will be plenty to do at the home in question...

Lots to think about. But much to my surprise the interview went fairly well and I'll probably get offered the job (it's nice to apply for a job where there are more openings than applicants). And it was nice to just sit and talk pilot talk with people for a couple days. I don't do much of that. Funny, it used to annoy me when it was all anybody could talk about (and it would if I was back in that situation)...

So that's the update. Thanks for the best wishes and crossed digits. Now I just have to think a lot about things. And stuff.

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