Barely hanging in there

ColtsATC

Trusted Contributor
Aug 27, 2008
590
14
18
Me? Dope? Nice. How about I break it down so you can understand.

I spent 4 years active duty Army with a 1 year combat tour overseas. 99% of the time I hated my work. Its was physical, it was hot, mentally exhausting, I had to deal with guys twice my rank with 1/2 my IQ. Typically I went home every day asking myself why?

However 1% of the time when I was actually doing my job (combat action) or when a stranger shakes my hand and says thank you, or a veteran shares an old war story with tears in his eyes I found reason to do what I did. That understandable?

A cop may get harassed everyday by ungrateful citizens, but the day he saves a live its worth it forever.

I'm certain many controllers "keep on trucking" if only for those 1% situations, and I wanna hear about those situations.

And thanks for hoping I fail out...

Ya...I have absolutely no clue what you are talking about... I'm starting my 8th year in the AF. 4 yrs active, 4 yrs guard. I'm in Iraq right now. It's my 5th deployment. It's hot, I miss my family, but I love my job. I'm already in the FAA, but since my training got frozen at my facility, I decided to go spend the summer in Iraq.

Controllers don't do this job for 25 years strictly for the money. But they will hold off retirement a few years because of the money (and the crappy economy, falling retirements funds, etc).

Walk up to your trainer one day and tell him your only there for the money, and see what kind of reaction you get. I'm willing to bet it's not going to be pleasant unless you are the badass trainee that is flying through training with no problems....and there are very few of those.
 

JoshJarvis

Rookie
Jun 4, 2009
35
0
6
Iowa
8 Years AF (thanks for serving btw) should have shown you that many people can dislike their job yet they'll still do it. Some do it out of pride, some do it for those 1% moments, some do it to support their family financially.

Your quote...
If you do this job for the money only, you won't make it. Simple as that really.

The statement is simply untrue. I agree that doing a job you dislike for 25 years is rare (and stupid) but you have to admit there are controllers who are "barely hanging in there" right now. They still find motivation to push on and this was a thread for those guys, their stories, and possibly their need to vent.


For reference, this thread wasn't created to clear up anything concerning my choice. My family is founded in aviation (Father and both Brothers are pilots) and I love the field. More importantly I've liked everyone I've met working in Avaition sans tonight.

I'll try not to take these first impressions to heart tho, forums can be nasty by nature. :)
 

Nodak

Rookie
Mar 11, 2009
38
0
6
Valdosta, GA
I've been doing this for 8 years and those that "keep on trucking"...if they make it in this career get out as soon as they can. We are cocky cause anyone that has been in this job for any bit of time has seen someone come in for the money, and many that have come in just cause they hear it's a good job...but they have seen plenty of those people not make it cause they don't have the drive and determination to do it.

I've only seen 1 guy in 8 years that tried his best, did everything that he could to become a controller...he just didn't have the ability it takes to do it.

This is the best job as everyone else has said but if you come in "for the money" and don't enjoy doing it...and not saying you won't enjoy it but...if you hate coming to work or getting in the scope positions, everytime you do will put lives at risk cause your head won't be in the game.
 

The Heatles

Loving Life
Jun 15, 2008
2,172
24
38
Miami, FL
I'll try not to take these first impressions to heart tho, forums can be nasty by nature. :)
Well you come here and ask a question, get an answer... then tell us we are wrong. Why ask if you dont have an open mind?What do u want us to say? All replies from actual controllers are the same. The only one agreeing with you isn't even a controller... how does he know?
 

tangowhiskey

Rookie
May 30, 2009
27
1
3
Virginia Beach, VA
Hey Josh, they will not get it. Just stop trying to make em.How's this: 90% of the time I love my job, 9% of the time pilots or other (stubborn) controllers work my nerves so bad I just want to scream, 1% of the time I feel like someone appreciates what I do (when a pilot thanks you for keeping them out of a sticky situation, or coordinating all their unusual requests). And yes I do look forward to those moments. They don't always happen, but when they do, it makes you feel great! (and proving your supervisor wrong by referencing a pub never hurts either, lol!!!)
 

JoshJarvis

Rookie
Jun 4, 2009
35
0
6
Iowa
Well you come here and ask a question, get an answer... then tell us we are wrong. Why ask if you dont have an open mind?What do u want us to say? All replies from actual controllers are the same. The only one agreeing with you isn't even a controller... how does he know?
Does the vocal portion of a populace speak for the whole population? No.

If a coal miner can work his whole entire life doing double shifts for minimum wage just to support 3 kids and a wife, then a controller can certainly do his job for the money. Thinking otherwise is definitly wrong and I dont have to be a controller to point that out.

So far we've heard from controllers with huge amounts of pride in their work. Thats outstanding and I love that the ratio is that high. However we've yet to hear from those who are struggling. Are you seriously going to tell me they dont exist? Give it time...
 

Centerpuke

Junior Member
Sep 22, 2008
149
1
18
HOT-LANTA
Does the vocal portion of a populace speak for the whole population? No.

If a coal miner can work his whole entire life doing double shifts for minimum wage just to support 3 kids and a wife, then a controller can certainly do his job for the money. Thinking otherwise is definitly wrong and I dont have to be a controller to point that out.

So far we've heard from controllers with huge amounts of pride in their work. Thats outstanding and I love that the ratio is that high. However we've yet to hear from those who are struggling. Are you seriously going to tell me they dont exist? Give it time...
Josh, here is an easy way to answer your question. Go to any facility and ask all of the "eligible" controllers why they are still there. You will get the following answers:

1. Kids in college.
2. Not ready for the pay cut.
3. Each year I stay, it adds a percent to my retirement.
4. I am overextended, etc.

Every answer you will get involves money. There are no old guys hanging in there because they have enormous pride in their work or because they enjoy being noble public servants. They are there for one reason...MONEY! There are TONS of guys that hate this job and can't stand going to work every day but need/want the paycheck.

It also doesn't take a particular love or dedication to the work to stay in this job. I happen to love it which is a bonus but I work with tons of people that are not particularily dedicated. It doesn't matter if you really want this job or if you are here for the paycheck. I have watched both types wash out. The only certainty is this: Some people can do it and some can't. This job requires a natural ability that CANNOT be learned or taught.

People can preach on about so many things in this career. You will learn two very important things when you start:

1. Most of the people that rant about things like this are full of shit.
2. Everyone thinks they are great at this job and they bragg about how much traffic they work. The ones that tell you this, are the ones who don't have a clue!

Also, I am pretty sure most of the guys that answered you work in small facilities or contract towers (i.e. refer to #2 above). In fact, you can come to my facility and ask "who here truely loves their job?" You won't find a handful of people that do. Incidentally, I have watched several people wash out that wanted this job more than anything. I also work with several people that heard about it, liked the money/benefits and went for it.

99% of the older controllers in the workforce are only here because they heard about it on the radio or something after the strike. They make $160,000 per year without a college degree! Gee, why do they stay? Im sure as hell isn't for the "love of the work." Just ask them.
 

JoshJarvis

Rookie
Jun 4, 2009
35
0
6
Iowa
Hey Josh, they will not get it. Just stop trying to make em.How's this: 90% of the time I love my job, 9% of the time pilots or other (stubborn) controllers work my nerves so bad I just want to scream, 1% of the time I feel like someone appreciates what I do (when a pilot thanks you for keeping them out of a sticky situation, or coordinating all their unusual requests). And yes I do look forward to those moments. They don't always happen, but when they do, it makes you feel great! (and proving your supervisor wrong by referencing a pub never hurts either, lol!!!)
Lol I bet!

I was talking to my father earlier about his experiences with controllers and he definitly appreciates ya'll, even when he can tell your not having the best of days. Has some good stories about the good and bad days lol.

Appreciate you guys looking out for him, hopefully I'll be joining ya'll soon.
 

JoshJarvis

Rookie
Jun 4, 2009
35
0
6
Iowa
I was thinking the same exact thing!!

You really can't blame a wash out or a person who's having difficulty in training for not posting though. You have to think about how bad they feel and it's probably the last thing they want on their mind. If they were to post here they would definitely get ripped on..lol It's really not funny but I'm a little goofy.:lol:
Aye, tbh I didnt expect alot of success or talk in this thread due to exactly that. But it was 2am at the time and I was curious. Then simple curiosity turned into :banghead: lol.
 

zabnut

Senior Member
Jun 17, 2008
275
9
18
Albuquerque
Josh, here is an easy way to answer your question. Go to any facility and ask all of the "eligible" controllers why they are still there. You will get the following answers:

1. Kids in college.
2. Not ready for the pay cut.
3. Each year I stay, it adds a percent to my retirement.
4. I am overextended, etc.

Every answer you will get involves money. There are no old guys hanging in there because they have enormous pride in their work or because they enjoy being noble public servants. They are there for one reason...MONEY! There are TONS of guys that hate this job and can't stand going to work every day but need/want the paycheck.

This job requires a natural ability that CANNOT be learned or taught.

Also, I am pretty sure most of the guys that answered you work in small facilities or contract towers (i.e. refer to #2 above). In fact, you can come to my facility and ask "who here truely loves their job?" You won't find a handful of people that do. Incidentally, I have watched several people wash out that wanted this job more than anything. I also work with several people that heard about it, liked the money/benefits and went for it.

99% of the older controllers in the workforce are only here because they heard about it on the radio or something after the strike. They make $160,000 per year without a college degree! Gee, why do they stay? Im sure as hell isn't for the "love of the work." Just ask them.
I will also say that for most of my career I did love my job. The last 5 years have basically been taken from me. I hate every single day I go to work. NOT because of the actual work I do, but because the FAA is a terrible employer.

Once you get a couple years under your belt this job is on autopilot and super easy.

The ones that are staying for bills (No matter where they came from) made poor choices in life.
 

The Heatles

Loving Life
Jun 15, 2008
2,172
24
38
Miami, FL
Josh, here is an easy way to answer your question. Go to any facility and ask all of the "eligible" controllers why they are still there. You will get the following answers:

1. Kids in college.
2. Not ready for the pay cut.
3. Each year I stay, it adds a percent to my retirement.
4. I am overextended, etc.

Every answer you will get involves money. There are no old guys hanging in there because they have enormous pride in their work or because they enjoy being noble public servants. They are there for one reason...MONEY! There are TONS of guys that hate this job and can't stand going to work every day but need/want the paycheck.
I'll give you that for those scenarios, definitely. Anyone with that amount of time invested would be stupid to quit and leave a retirement like that. I was commenting about his situation as a new hire. With the amount of work this jobs requires (at most airports)... people who truly hate this job with only a year or two invested will decide that this isnt the job they want to do for 25 years. Like zabnut said above... he loves this job still, just not his environment.

1. Most of the people that rant about things like this are full of shit.
because they like talking about their job and have a passion for it?

2. Everyone thinks they are great at this job and they bragg about how much traffic they work. The ones that tell you this, are the ones who don't have a clue!
LOL...no, they are the ones who enjoy this job and like talking about it. Usually, the ones who are whining about people who "bragg" are the ones who are jealuos, grumpy, weak controllers . God forbid people take pride in what they do.
 

JoshJarvis

Rookie
Jun 4, 2009
35
0
6
Iowa
In fact, you can come to my facility and ask "who here truely loves their job?" You won't find a handful of people that do. Incidentally, I have watched several people wash out that wanted this job more than anything. I also work with several people that heard about it, liked the money/benefits and went for it.

99% of the older controllers in the workforce are only here because they heard about it on the radio or something after the strike. They make $160,000 per year without a college degree! Gee, why do they stay? Im sure as hell isn't for the "love of the work." Just ask them.
Amen, and thanks for the post. It seems like plenty of people handle the workload without loving the job. I'd wadger its a typical "Stress vs Salary" scenario and whether or not an individuals "breaking point" makes it worthwhile.

And to everyone else who felt the need to berate the "new guy" because of BPS (blinding pride syndrome). Piss off. :)

Lol I kid I kid....
 

Centerpuke

Junior Member
Sep 22, 2008
149
1
18
HOT-LANTA
Like I said, small facilities and contract towers. You know who really has a grip on the pulse of the FAA? Those that don't even work for the agency.
 

SnowAviation

Senior Member
Jan 29, 2009
292
3
18
Southern California TRACON
We are realists you dope. Everyone that has responded are actual
controllers doing the job. Amazing how we all had the same response.
Don't get all sensitive cuz we told you the flat out truth.

Every controller thinks we are a cut above the rest. We are. Not
everyone can do this job and we take a lot of pride knowing we can.
Colts you have made some serious "Spot-on" comments.

You won't find controllers here (@ StuckMic) who are just "hanging on"
because of the money, who hate the job and stay for the money.
They won't spend an extra minute even thinking about ATC and typing
on an ATC forum would be too much like the job.

I am elegible in September and intend to stay as long as I can because
I love the job. Period. My only worry is passing the physical and as long
I can still pass them, I will stay.

I don't like the hours, the newest round of supervisors are knuckleheads,
and the current contract is a bunch of crap, but the job is still fun.

Traffic around most of the country is the slowest it's been in 20 years,
thanks to 9/11 and the economy, some people forget how it used to
be, so it's easier to "hang in" than it's ever been.

If traffic ever picks back up to Pre-9/11 levels, everyone better hang
on, because it's gonna be a wild ride. (at least on the west coast...)
 
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PorkBarrel

Rookie
Nov 21, 2008
35
0
6
Why do others care about what reasons people have to be a good controller or to make it in this field? If you can show up, do the job and be dependable, then who cares? People have their different reasons and if money is one of them, again, who cares - just so long as they can do the job. I've heard controllers rate other controllers about how good, fair or poor they are when it comes to the job, and these are veteran controllers they are speaking of. You think because some of the weaker controllers care more about the job it automatically makes them better controllers? It's true that a positive attitude will help your relationship with your co-workers and management, but if they feel you can't work the busiest traffic, they'll wash you out. Period. The rest is politics and dealing with people and management.
 

JoshJarvis

Rookie
Jun 4, 2009
35
0
6
Iowa
Colts you have made some serious "Spot-on" comments.

You won't find controllers here (@ StuckMic) who are just "hanging on"
because of the money, who hate the job and stay for the money.
They won't spend an extra minute even thinking about ATC and typing
on an ATC forum would be too much like the job.
Actually it was that posters failure to see this observation that scared me. What he considered "flat-out truth" was actually an inability to think further than he can see. The inability to think "outside the box" coupled with an unprofessional attitude is hardly ATC material.

I'd take skill over blind pride any day.

However you caught it and I'm glad you mentioned it. The thread was likely to fail because controllers who dislike the job (or feel stuck in it) wouldn't post here. They're probably watching sports center and trying to recharge for the next day.

But they do exist. Many OTS controllers hired during the first surge did it for the salary, and now they're going to retire soon.
 

MrWhyte

Rookie
Jul 24, 2009
35
0
6
Outside the Tannhauser Gate
I have almost 22 yrs in and while I take pride in my work, I no longer have the love for this job that I once had.

For the mil types who are new (or are trying to get in), I'll describe it this way:

From my experience, the veteran controllers are like seasoned NCO's in a combat arms unit (I am a former Infantry guy, so bear with me, please); they know everything there is about the job and the stuff that is unique to that facility.

Then you have the FLM's (EDITORIAL NOTE: Some FLMs---> one's that were doing it before the IWR, are decent)...

These folks have less time and experience than the veterans, and yet, they think that they know everything there is to running an operation. You try to give them a clue as to what the correct way of handling something and they blow you off cuz they know everything (the little mtg in St Louis gave them super powers).

Dealing with that every day, gets old, and wears on you...

So...some folks love this job, and would do it for half the pay they are getting now.

Some, like me, do a good job, but if something else came along that had financial compensation that was ok, then I would be out of here.
 

Roddy_Piper

Resident Knucklehead
Jun 15, 2008
3,339
18
38
Vegas baby
www.myspace.com
Every answer you will get involves money. There are no old guys hanging in there because they have enormous pride in their work or because they enjoy being noble public servants. They are there for one reason...MONEY!
Brother, u are always spot on from what I read. You are probably spot on right now. However, I must add that a lot of those people u are talking about are only "hanging around" because they are waiting for their retirement. They have lost the love for the job either because of age, the BS, or training new people. They continue to stick around because they know that if they leave they will lose their retirement. Yes...money is the same as retirement. If you offered a lot of these guys an early retirement same as if they worked another year or two then i'm guessing a lot of them would take it. The reason?? I don't know. I would venture a guess that they lost the love of the job or just got burned out. It's not because they simply stick around for the money. It's because they simply stick around because their not eligible to leave YET!!

IMHO
 

Davo

Trusted Contributor
Mar 14, 2009
699
3
18
How many people that do not like a job do you think goes home and reads about it, especially a website like this catered to those that they will one day be training? As snowaviation said none, or very few, that is why you did not get the response you were looking for. And for you guys that are/were controlling for the military, there is a big difference in being a grunt and an office worker in the military, you all know that. I do not see why everyone keeps comparing controlling to some of the other jobs in the military.

Snowaviation: stay in long enough to train me (if I get there)! What sector are you in? And which is the hardest and easiest?
 

ColtsATC

Trusted Contributor
Aug 27, 2008
590
14
18
My experience from my old job (supply) to ATC is completely different. The environment, the people, the mentality, everything. It's a completely different world from my own personal experience so far. ATC is so much better