Every person has a unique situation and at the end of the day I strongly encourage each person to follow the path that provides the most happiness and satisfaction to both you AND your family. Honestly I did not put as much thought into the “after” plan as I should have. I’ve invested well and don’t need to work, but as I got closer I decided I still wanted to avoid becoming a sloth and do something meaningful, at least for a few years. I hit the button a year in advance and the airline gig was really heating up, with over 4,000 hours TT and 2500+ IP time I thought it was a no-brainer, I could work part-time make decent cash and have the travel benefit for my family. I obviously have many bros at Delta and Fedex and they shared the good and the bad, so I decided to make that plan A. My plan had two basic flaws that were mistakes on my part, not insurmountable, but still limitations I needed to overcome.
1. I had been sitting at a desk for the last two years NOT flying.
2. I had not completed my ATP and now had to do the ATP/CTP course.
I started flying private again and signed up for the CTP deal (what a complete waste), and built my application on airline apps. I hit the apply button with the written complete and provided updates with the CTP complete, new hours flown and finally added my ATP practical two weeks after my retirement ceremony. When I hit the last update button with the ATP complete I thought, “ok the phone will ring any day now”…it did not.
Luckily I talked to a lot of folks (including Rainman), and I had a plan B that I was also working. There are MANY resources for vets and Rainman walked me through several I had never heard of which, one really really helped (http://www.acp-usa.org/). In very short order I was contacted about several positions, I had not applied to any of them, all word of mouth through my network. I made it to the final two for a very senior job and was a bit relieved when I did not get it (location). Over the course of a month I interviewed with several major defense contractors, with Google, with one of the largest food production companies, and with a major university. I don’t want this to turn into a dissertation but I learned some valuable lessons.
1. Industry is STARVED for leadership.
2. Industry professes to love Vets but in reality they are very concerned about them. Many think every Vet has PTSD.
3. Most jobs come from contacts and networking.
4. Industry has all the same problems and BS the military has. As a SQ/CC, Grp/CC, Wg/CC I had to deal with DUIs, Rapes, theft and other buffoonery. I have encountered many of the same issues at my current level in Industry.
After a flurry of interviews things went quiet for a while which was EXTREMELY frustrating. Industry hiring moves at a glacial pace and I began to contemplate outright retirement. I was REALLY shocked the airlines hadn’t called and am honestly still somewhat perplexed by that fact. I have since learned how important recency is to the majors, I get it they are the pros, but it does not make sense to me. When I returned to fly as a O-5 it took two weeks to requal. When I returned as an O-6 I was scheduled for 10 rides, I did three rides and proficiency advanced to my checkride as a mission IP. I was flying civilian but still had less than 100 hours in the last six months…oh well it is their ball and their game, they get to make the rules.
Four months later I got the call from Delta, over nine months after I first hit apply. The next day I got a call from a company I interviewed with early on…the made me an offer (turns out they were waiting for a senior dude to say yes and he didn’t know he had to say yes.) I sat down with my family and we had some long deliberations. Every situation is different and my family was tired of me being gone all the time. My son was established in school so taking a position with Delta was going to mean commuting and sitting reserve in a crash pad for at least a year. I must say after going through all the asspain it was not easy to call Delta and say "no thanks!"
In the end I was able to parlay the industry position into a remote position working from my house. My company flies me to the home office once a month and I generally leave on Monday morning and return Friday night. The other travel has ramped up a bit but some of that is seasonal, some was unexpected because our company is GROWING, and the rest is self-imposed. I ended up starting at about 7-8 year airline pay, well over that with my annual bonus which means I can do this for a few years and walk away with another chunk of $ to add to my portfolio. We bought a few new toys but I have managed to save every penny of my retirement check. It was not a simple choice but it works for me and most importantly my family.