Aviators' Thoughts

My job search and business aviation as seen on AviationWeek

Posts Tagged ‘commentary

Still Working After All This Year

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This last year has certainly been an exciting one as I am enjoying my new company and my new job. Frankly, I was VERY VERY lucky in some respects that I was able to land a position through social media (Facebook) and that I have a client who treats me and my family wonderfully. I cannot say enough good things about him.

To give a quick recap, I am now working for a client here in South,FL managing and flying a Quest Kodiak (which looks like a Cessna Caravan for comparison). While it is not the jet fllying that I had done in the past, the ability to run the flight department the way I want to and to have a wonderful work/life balance has been nothing short of amazing. Frankly, based on the troubles some of my former employers have been experiencing recently, it wass the right move. Still, there are some lasting effects from the last 3 years of unemployment and uncertainty.

The biggest change was the move to Miami. We rented out our house in Central,FL for a while, but in the end were forced to “short sale” it. That process is only NOW coming to a conclusion. It was not the perferred way to sell our house, but the expense and debt that it created became unsustainable. We are hopeful the new owner will treat the residence with the same love that we put into when we bought it. For me at least, real estate has been a TERRIBLE investment and I could write a book on how many hoops we had to jump through just to get to this point.

The other effect is the amount of debt we still need to pay back. With my last two jobs ending so quickly we often had to rely on credit cards and government assistance to get by. That debt doesnt quickly go  away and its going to take YEARS to get back finacially  to wheere we were in 2008 if ever. It really is a “new normal.”

The last couple of years also leaves you a little “gun shy” about any job you have. I dont think Ill ever see employment the same way again. Nothing is “certain” anymore and the ability to move quickly when things change is now a part of our lives. That means renting insted of buying and keeping an eye out for new opportunities or new ways to create incomee “just in case.” The lack of  stability can make your life difficult but we have learned to adapt and take one day at a time. Still, there has been some benefits with my new job.

I now live a MUCH healthier lifestyle. I work out, eat right and have the time to take care of myself. In fact Im in the BEST shape of my life! I dont miss the stress of being on the road 250 or more days a year and my wife and I have been able to grow closer as I am home most nights.  I also feel I have much more control of my life with my own company. We also moved to a more urban environment were you really dont need a car to get around.

Certainly 2008-2011 was very difficult period for my family, but at least for now, things are looking up, but life is NEVER going to be the same as it was before and that might just be a good thing.



Written by tdwnds1

February 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Back and better than ever

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I realize its been a while since Ive posted on this blog. Big changes have happened in the last year and I plan to share them in my new post “still working after all this year” look for it in the near future.

Written by tdwnds1

February 17, 2012 at 3:57 am

3rd Time’s the Charm!

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I am happy to report that after several months on the job hunt, literally penniless and on food stamps, I once again FOUND A JOB and it is still in the aviation industry! I think this job hunt was by far the toughest because financially the clock was ticking pretty fast.  Truly, not being able to buy food for your family is one of the most humbling experiences you will ever encounter.

Many people discount the power of social media in the job search,but that is EXACTLY how I found this last opening. Facebook is truly becoming a powerful networking tool in the online world and its use as a job seeking source should never be disregarded. I friended many individuals in the aviation industry through Facebook and was lucky enough to friend that one individual who lead me to my new position. This job is unlike the others in that I am taking a senior role in a flight department, in fact I am building a corporate flight department from the ground up!

The advice that I can give to job seekers out there, is  to continue to build your network and base, talk to everyone you can and learn to leverage your best talents.  This new position has still allowed me to stay in my chosen industry, while being able to use my talents outside of aviation (social media and management) more effectively.  I also have started my company Jet Right Aviation Services as an aviation consulting group and my new boss is also my first client. It is incredibly challenging and exciting at the same time.

Even with my current employment, I take nothing for granted. My network has only continued to grow and many of those individuals have given me quite an education in building a new flight department and I am happy to help them in their business as well. For my wife and I ,this difficult experience has actually brought us closer together and we are now partners in our new business, a powerful team!

In the future, I would like to write a book about my two and 1/2 year experience looking for work, losing 3 job and yet being able to find work again in the worst job market since the Great Depression. To say this has been life changing event woud be an understatement and I would love to share my experiences with others who need help.

It is certainly my hope that my new position will be a long-lasting one. I have a great client and plan on offering him the absolute best service that I can offer.  As an advocate of Business Aviation it is the least I can do!

I will continue to use this blog as a tool for the job seeker and for the business aviation community. Once again, I want to thank everyone who has offered their help and support during this long and winding road. I continue to be forever grateful.

Written by tdwnds1

October 31, 2010 at 2:54 pm

From Ferragamo to Food Stamps

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What a difference two years can make. Back before my first job loss I was on top of the world financially. My six figure salary easily paid our bills, my wife and I were planning a big wedding and our financial future looked bright. I remember going into the Mall at Millenia and looking at Ferragamo shoes and easily being able to afford them. Now, after my last layoff, I have found out that I have been denied unemployment and have been forced file for food stamps to feed my family.

I don’t take these decisions lightly, I am young, healthy and ready to work. I have been looking for a job, any job that will pay the bills. I do not like to take any government or family assistance and frankly if I didn’t have to take another dime from the state or the government because I have a job I would be happy.You might think I am panicking, but strangely, I am not. There are still bright spots in this grim picture.

The last two years has really forced me to reinvent myself. I have taken up this blog, gotten some notoriety and attention that simply would not have happened if I had not gone through this period. I have built up my network and they continue to feed me leads on a regular basis. Not all of them work out, but I am grateful for the help from the people I have met. My wife continues to support my endeavours and is working just as hard to find employment. It has been a difficult time, but in the end it is only “stuff” that you lose. As long as I have family and friends I still have something. Being a pilot forces you to often pack or sell everything and move to another place to start over again. I’ve done it a few times already and I can do it again.

My job search continues and I remain optimistic about the results. Some contacts have resulted in interviews and in one case the process is moving along. While there is no job offer yet, I am cautiously hopeful. In the meantime I pursue multiple tracks to find employment both inside and outside my industry. At this point I MUST keep working at finding work. Yes, the fear is there, but like I have said before, I use it to power my search forward and continue with the same optimism that has gotten me through the last two years.

I also continue to help others find employment as well. Many of my fellow aviators are also out of work and have called me on a fairly regular basis for advice or just support. After all, when you have been at this job hunt as long as I have with its ups and downs you do gain some experience. Even in my situation, I consider it my duty as a person to always help others in these tough times.

Lastly, I am also branching out into starting my own consulting business. I have gained considerable experience in helping build a flight department from my contract work and also helping utilize my experience in the charter and corporate world.I also have learned to navigate the social media world both for job hunting and for advocating Business Aviation which I would like to teach others. It may not make money overnight, but the one truth in this new economy is that you need to have a side business to survive a sudden layoff (or 3).

I have never known tougher times in my 40 years on this earth, but continue to see “opportunity in adversity”. It is truly my hope that in the near future I can once again post here that I have gained full-time employment, this time for good.

Today is Still the Day!

Written by tdwnds1

August 1, 2010 at 4:52 am

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The success and attention my blog and my job search has received has not just been the result of my own efforts. There have been so many people who have supported me, encouraged me, and directly helped me in my ultimately successful job hunt. Though it is not possible to name them all, I would like to thank those who have had a direct hand in the success of this effort and those that stayed by me even in the darkest moments of my job search. To each of them I am eternally grateful.

First of all, I would like to thank my wife, Carolina.  It is rare in life when you truly meet your soul mate. My wife has been there beside me through all the challenges we both had to face. We truly learned to lean on each other when times got tough. My wife picked up the ball and took an extremely physical job, making very little pay to keep money coming in when I wasnt working. She was there to keep me motivated, to push me when I needed it and encouraged me to take the chances that ultimately lead me to a new job after nearly a year. If it wasnt for her help, I do not know if I would have put in half of the effort that has put me in this position. One of the truly remarkable things about her is that she had brought incredible insight and ideas into my job search and social media exposure. She was the one the encouraged me to approach CNN early in the process which started the whole ball rolling. I am an EXTREMELY lucky man to be in love with such a beautiful and intelligent wife. As many of you have commented “she’s a keeper” and I wholeheartedly agree!

A big thank you to Carlos Gil, founder of Jobsdirectusa.com: I met Carlos through Facebook early in my job hunt. He has been a tireless (and I MEAN tireless!) advocate of the unemployed. Carlos was once a manager at AIG and found himself out of a job a few years ago. Rather than getting back into the industry, he began the “Pink Slip Party” and eventually “Pink Slip Mixers” movement that brings job seekers and employers together. I was so encouraged and inspired by his efforts that both my wife and I volunteered for his gatherings. Carlos was DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the birth of this blog and its exposure on CNN. About 6 months into my job hunt he suggested that I start a blog and call it Helpclintfindajob.com. Who could have thought that this idea would be so incredibly successful. He has also helped to get myself and this blog exposure on the local and national media. If you are looking for work, I strongly suggest you get in touch with Carlos, his contacts might just land you your next great job.

Another big thank you to CNN, specifically Sonya Houston and Jessica Dickler: When I started looking for work, I noticed that CNN was doing a segment called the “30 Second Pitch“. They were giving job seekers an opportunity to put themselves on national TV to sell themselves for 30 seconds. When I saw the segment on TV, I commented on their CNNmoney web site that I would also like the chance to be on the program. Within two hours I received a response from Sonya Houston and a few weeks after that found myself on national TV! Though it didn’t directly lead to a job, it was THE spark that started the process of reinventing myself and find new ways to get noticed on my job hunt. Ms. Jessica Dickler also has a BIG hand in the success of this blog. Her contact with me through Carlos put me on the front page of CNNMoney and has given me the opportunity to begin to help others find work. I am EXTREMELY happy to see CNN be so proactive in helping job seekers and would encourage other news programs to do the same in the future.

Thank You to Benet Wilson of Aviation Week and Space Technology: I met Benet directly through my exposure on Twitter. Ms. Wilson has been a leading advocate of Social Media for the aviation world. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, being the subject of a very successful symposium at NBAA (National Business Aviation Association). She had noticed my blog and was impressed the story of my job hunt. Benet began to mention my blog in her articles in Aviation Week and Space Technology and was primarily responsible for bringing my blog out of obscurity. Prior to her help the only people who were reading my prose was my mother and my wife. After her mention and links to my articles, I began to receive anywhere from 30-40 hits a day and GREATLY expand my networking possibilities. She has been tremendous asset to my job search and I look forward to continued contacts with her in the future.

Thank you to Scott Wolcott of CompanyAirplane.com and John Peroyea of  Findapilot.com: I have spoken to both of these individuals directly many times and they two of the truly “good ones” in the aviation industry. The help of these two men have been invaluable.

Scott Wolcott, a pilot himself, came to me during my job hunt after noticing my CNN video on ProPilotworld.com (a leading aviation message board). Mr. Wolcott has taken job hunting in aviation to the next level using video,  the power of the internet and social media to help pilots and other aviation job seekers find employment. In under a year, he had built CompanyAirplane.com from the ground up into a leading aviation employment web site. I am grateful for his help and in watching his efforts continue to grow and succeed. Several of his clients have received attention and opportunities directly from his efforts and web site. Certainly worth subscribing to if you are looking for work in the aviation industry.

John Peroya, also a pilot and the owner of Findapilot.com, has also been a tremendous help. Findapilot.com has been around for quite a few years and I have been able to find employment TWICE in the last 10 years directly from his web site. Many of the phone calls I received from employers came directly from my exposure and subscription to his site and it is well-known in the aviation industry. I would also enroll with FindaPilot as well if you are looking for flying work.

A Thank You to my fellow pilots, friends and supporters: I have been truly humbled and amazingly thankful for all the support, encouragement and advice that I have recieved from my friends and pilots both within and outside the aviation community. When I started this process, I knew very few people. Your emails, letters, phone calls and comments continued to give me inspiration when I needed it the most. Many of my friends are job seekers as well and I am more than happy to “pay if forward” to help them after they have been so supportive of my efforts. Often we hear about these tough times bringing out the worst in people. I have been most fortunate to see just the opposite. Many people, some I have just met, have offered direct and indirect help simply by telling them that I was out of work. These people reached out when they didn’t have to. There are too many to mention here, but know that you always have my eternal thanks.

Lastly, but by no means leastly a big Thank You to the rest of my family: My mother and father (on both sides of the family) have been incredibly encouraging and supportive of all my efforts. They have been there for me and offered whatever help that I asked for. Their direct assistance, thoughts and prayers gave me hope when I couldn’t even get the phone to ring in the middle of last year. Like my wife, they didnt allow me to get depressed, to give up hope. I have been fortunate to have my mother and father living close by to offer assistance. To my mother-in-law who lives in Chile, her love, prayers and words of encouragement were also a tremendous help. I would also like to thank my brother, sister and the rest of my extended family who sent me words of support and for their assistance.

This is by no means the end of this blog. I intend to continue to comment on the aviation industry and will not rest until all those looking for work in this field find it. I am going to use my exposure to help my fellow aviators and job seekers have the same opportunities that I was so fortunate obtain. I will also talk about the the challenges we continue to face in this industry as it enters the next decade of the 21st century.

I thank you all for taking the time to read this blog and hope that you will continue to follow me in the future.

Written by tdwnds1

February 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Even A Miracle Needs a Hand, My Job Hunt Finally Ends!!

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I havent been posting much on the blog lately, not because I have nothing to talk about, but because my life has suddenly become so busy. Some wonderous things have happened to me lately and I could not do justice to the whole story until everything was complete. So, as promised, is here is my “Miracle” story and the proof that professionalism, determination and perseverance will ALWAYS pay off in the end…. NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

My life just before Christmas had become much like the life of Joshua Trundle from the Rankin and Bass cartoon “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It didn’t look like Santa was coming to my house, money was running out and my wife and I were really wondering how we were going to soon pay some of the bills. We dreamed of a happy Christmas,  but that was just a dream at the time. As the holiday drew closer, I became increasingly nervous about our ability to stay afloat, my wife was working harder than ever for what little pay she made and my folks actually had to LEND us money so that we could buy a Christmas tree. I did stay, however very optimistic and like the song in the Christmas cartoon I told my wife to “Hope while I hurry, pray while I plan, well do whats necessary, because even a miracle needs a hand”

And a plan is exactly what I had. I took a chance that many people would pull out of the job search during the Holiday season thinking that no one was hiring. I decided to push my job search harder than ever, with the thought that I would stand out among the crowd that had withdrawn till after the New Year. At first, my efforts seemed futile, but I kept my social media exposure higher than ever and continued to network closely with friends and colleagues. I had also been commenting on blogs from the leaders of other aviation companies and they seemed to like what I had to say, but no interviews or  job offers yet….

Then suddenly, things began to fall into place around the last week of December…

Between Christmas and New Years, my phone started to finally ring. To say it was a surprise would be an understatement!  This was always the time I am told that very little gets done business-wise. First it was from a charter company in Nashville, TN that has its own online blog. They had seen my blog and comments on their postings and found my writing intelligent and thoughtful.  When they had an opening (for which they had over 3900 resumes submitted!) they gave me a call. Thus this opportunity and interview came DIRECTLY from my social media exposure and blogging.

The second call came from a private operator based out of Orlando,FL. I had submitted for this job on-line and they noticed I had a type in their aircraft and that I lived in the local area. “The right place at the right time”  Both these calls came with a few days of each other. I was thrilled! As was my wife. Two interviews in a week after months of very little movement. Could it be a happy New Year after all?

I had the opportunity over the next couple of weeks to personally interview with both companies both on the phone and in person. Each company treated me extremely graciously and gave me an overview of each of their operations. I dared to hope to get two job offers after months of nothing, but went in with realistic goals of having at least one job offer. Both companies were well-run and well placed and I was excited by the prospect of being employed by either one.

To my utter astonishment, I received job offers from BOTH companies on the SAME DAY!!! I couldn’t believe my luck. So much effort, work, and perseverance had FINALLY paid off. They say the aviation business is either “feast or famine” and it was NEVER so true. It was going to be an EXTREMELY difficult choice because of the qualities of both jobs. I had a BIG decision to make, but I didn’t make it alone…

I got on the phone and called my wife! She was nearly in tears of joy. We sat down that night and looked over both offers and wrote down the pros and cons of each one. This went on ALL night. My wife and I discussed exactly what each of us wanted from my new job(s).  Both companies had treated me with great respect and I got great feelings from each. In the end it came down to aircraft (the one in Orlando was a big bigger), Salary (a little more in Orlando) and the fact I wouldnt have to move.  Still, I felt bad about turning down the one in TN since they had chosen me because of my comments on their blog and the quality of the people (including the CEO) that I had met during my interview.

The next day I called the company in TN and graciously turned down their offer. I remarked that they I thought they were a GREAT company and wanted to be honest about the other, somewhat better offer and not play one against the other. They were VERY VERY good about it and certainly respected my decision. As I said, it was a TOUGH choice turning them down and they way they handled my decline of their job offer was a great example of a good company.

I have since signed a contract, starting in February, for the position in Orlando flying a nearly brand new Hawker. I am thrilled and excited about working again and looking forward to going back to recurrent school. Its been a long hard road, but I am GLAD it’s finally at an end.

My mission now is to work as hard as ever for my new employer while helping others find new positions. I would not have had the opportunities that presented themselves in this past year if it wasnt for the help and support of others. I plan to continue to “pay it forward” and help friends and colleagues that are currently out of work. I also plan to continue to have a substantial social media presence online and continue to network within the aviation community. I have so many people to thank and I will address each one in a future blog post.

As Zig Ziglar and Mel Fischer once said “Todays the Day!” and this week TODAY WAS THE DAY!!

It is now time to help others.

Written by tdwnds1

January 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Im Back and Happy New Year!

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Hello all and a Happy 2010!

Its been a LONG couple of weeks, but they have been rather exciting. I have a long and very positive story to tell which I will blog about in the very near future. I truly believe I am beginning to see that light at the end of this long tunnel of unemployment.

Stay tuned for the “Christmas Miracle” story I will be posting in the next few days.

Written by tdwnds1

January 7, 2010 at 3:48 am