Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The coming storm?

A's father sent us an article out of the Wall Street Journal the other day. He sent it old school- cut it out of the paper and snail mailed it to us. It was about the looming pilot shortage that is forecasted due to massive retirements and increased training requirements ( like total time needed prior to applying. There was a quote from Kit Darby, a former United pilot turned industry hiring authority, saying "we are six months away from a problem and four years away from a solution" or something to that effect.

That sounds like good news for those "forever FO's ( like A) who are waiting to upgrade and get on with a legacy or a major and those that are starting training now to get in on the boom. But I don't know if I really believe the situation is as dire as they predict. Right now there are thousands of pilots at regionals just waiting to get to a bigger plane. Plus there are plenty of pilots on the streets who are looking for jobs and can go to a major (most recently all those Comair pilots and many more regionals are teetering). That's a lot of pilot back up to work through. Airlines are also consolidating routes but also possibly changing their scope and taking back some flying from the regionals. So the regionals stand to be hit hardest when it is taking new pilots longer to meet training requirements except that they also stand to lose flying and need less pilots so perhaps it will all balance out. A's company is offering month to month leaves of absence to mitigate less flying that they are doing. They may be looking at furloughs again down the road. A came home with a rumor that the major he contracts with wants 70 seat jets their own. I guess I am just so jaded at this point that I will believe it when I see it and not a day before.

The other tidbit in the article was how graduates of ERAU could enter the industry with less total time. How is that? Don't they go through the exact same training and check rides to get their certificates as any pilot from any other school? Yes they may get supplemental instruction in meteorology or homeland security or airline administration, but how does that translate into better flying skills or flight training? I know, I know, it's all about the lobbying group in the end. But it just irritates me to presume that one path is better than another.

I guess we will see how it all shakes out in six months. But for now I remain a sceptic.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's just a day

Thanksgiving day has come and gone. Already. How did that happen so fast?

 A worked on Thanksgiving. He has never been home for the day. It's just become a standard for us and it's no big deal. We live across the continent from our families, so it's always just me and the boys for the day.  This year we went to the zoo and had a surprise when A arrived home at 5pm instead of the 11pm we had anticipated. We had a normal chicken dinner and then had "fancy dinner" on Friday when A was home to enjoy it. Working in a hospital that operates 24/7 and also having friends on facebook who have to deal with mandatory coverage there was no shortage this year of people whining about missing Thanksgiving or not being able to spend it with their family. As if you can't have a nice dinner with your family on any other day of the year. As if turkey can only be cooked on Thanksgiving. As if presents can only be opened on December 25th. It boggles my mind that people don't seem to be able to make arrangements to get together on any other day of the week, month, year to accommodate their schedule. It's just a day, make it your own.

My favorite E Card of the season is this one :

Friday, November 2, 2012

One of those days

Today was one of those days. The days when I wish my husband worked normal hours, in this city. Or that I had some family nearby to step in and help out. Babyzilla has a bad cold with a fever. Thursday I called out sick and stayed home with him. We rested, napped, breastfed, and watched movies. Today we had a big conference at work with several people already out and our on call staff already tapped. I took Babyzilla to daycare with the hope that he could make it through the day and I could swing getting off two hours early. I didn't have a lot of faith in my plan, but I was hopeful. And barely an hour after I arrived, I got the call from daycare that he had a higher fever and I needed to come get him.

Let me interject with a bit about my job. Hospital discharges wait for no one. They aren't the kind of thing that can be put off for a few days and gotten back to when you are feeling better. Beds are finite, if people don't get out, sicker people can't get in. And people can't discharge if their medical equipment, home care, housing, medications and whatever else are not lined up. We have staff in house 6 days a week and on call after hours and Sundays. If I'm not there- someone else has to be. If no on call staff is available, which is usually on a same day call out, then cases get rotated to other staff- each one getting 3-4 extra beds to cover. Calling out usually means more work for your co-workers. Frequent call outs mean less friendly co-workers.

So I was faced with the decision of leaving work and feeling guilty about dropping my caseload in their laps again or leaving, trying to dose Babyzilla up with Tylenol (after stopping at a store to purchase said Tylenol) and heading back to work for a few hours. It would have been nice to have a second parent or family to fall back on. But then again, we made the decision to leave here. (I wrestle with this all the time...). Our department secretary saved me from much guilt by shifting some on call staff around and finding coverage for my cases, although as the expense of a co-workers less demanding cases. I was ultimately able to take the day off, again, and be the parent I needed to be. I know A hates that it all falls on my shoulders when he is gone and that it tears him up to see me struggling on days like this. Especially this trip when he SHOULD have been home on Thursday. In the end, I'll suck it up and deal with it, because really, what other choice do I have? I know that A is just as torn between his job and family. Today it's just one minute at a time.