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Civilian World Burnout - Expectation Management


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Hey everyone,

 

I'm currently waiting on my FC1/MFS stamp approval w/waiver, so I am anticipating a late summer early fall OTS start date. Currently working at a huge engineering defense contractor and experiencing terrible burnout. Just got pulled aside by my team lead and said my teammate told him I am not performing and there is no progress from me. I feel like I am limping to the finish line and God forbid my MFS gets denied and I can't attend UPT. I have little to no passion for what I do and it results in me watching YouTube for like 6-7 hours a day, especially because I am working from home. I am stepping it up now because I don't want to lose my job just in case but this fire under my ass won't last long and isn't sustainable.

 

My question is: if I am blessed and pass my MFS and get to UPT, will this burnout carry over? I want to be the best pilot I can be but I don't want this to be a red flag for happening in the middle of UPT when things get hard. Just looking for advice cause I am really starting to get down trodden and lose hope as I feel worthless right now for some reason. If it is just a nut up and shut up situation and tough it out then I will gladly do it lol. But I want to make sure if this is behaivor I need to fix before UPT, then it is fixed before then. 

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1 hour ago, BadGuySplash said:

But I want to make sure if this is behaivor I need to fix before UPT, then it is fixed before then. 

I think you already know the answer to this. If you don’t have the drive/motivation to put in the countless hours of studying and chairflying, you’re going to have a rough time at UPT. 

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Is there any nuance to this though? Being passionless about engineering but having a burning passion for aviation. Or will it translate to the aviation and I'll burnout too? I'm just throwing things out there, I know there isn't an exact answer. 

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Yeah, dude, gonna have to say this is more of an intrinsic issue to you that you should address. Starting a flying career isn’t a panacea for lack of self-motivation or figuring out what you need to do to make yourself happy (content is a better goal than “happy,” IMHO; happy 100% of the time isn’t realistic, but I digress).

I’m fairly new in this AF flying world and it sure is a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s not without pitfalls. UPT is insanely stressful at times and we used to joke that only the AF can make you hate flying an amazing jet. You’ll have bad flights, tough IPs, last minute flights you didn’t plan for, cancels you spent hours planning for, etc. that can make it frustrating. You can make some great friends during UPT, but you’re also gonna be stuck at a base in the middle of nowhere with little social life outside of UPT (even less with COVID). This can be good or bad; depends on you.

UPT and flying is a great time, but it’s not all flying puppies and sunshine. If you don’t have the fortitude yourself to stay engaged, motivated, and focused, it’ll show and you’ll burn out/drop out. 

This is certainly a new and exciting adventure, but it’s not gonna “fix” inherent unhappiness or lack of self-motivation, which won’t make it easy to get through inevitable times that suck.

As for your current job, like it or not, it’s never good to burn a bridge, so I’d keep relationships good there. As you alluded to, any number of things can happen that could cause this new direction to not pan out, so you don’t want to have no job if that’s the case.

Work on you, dude, and figure out what’s dragging you down. Training pipeline and flying planes (at least initially) isn’t gonna magically make it all better or be a breeze if you’re not engaged. 

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To echo above, look at it this way.

Are you anxious about starting your dream job, so that’s causing you to decline in your current work?

Or, are you just losing a consistent work ethic at your job because you hate it/feel tired/sick of BS?

Your post reads like you’re stuck on the second one, but you’re hoping it’s actually the first one.

COVID and life right now has everyone a bit down and struggling. It’s perfectly ok to slip up... but you need to get back on the horse. Workout. Meditate if that’s your thing. Get out and spend time with friends/or outdoors. You need a reset in outlook and attitude, and only you can do that. Not OTS, and not UPT.

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As someone who is also stuck working a less than ideal job to support myself while I chase this dream you need to look at your work differently.  I try to look at it a necessary step to support myself and I MUST do it well even if I dislike it.  People have endured far worse than you to get to this point.  

As the others have said the type of mundane boring stuff doesn't stop during UPT and being a pilot.  You are still going to have paperwork to do, hours of briefs/debriefs to sit through, teaching and learning to do forever, etc.  It's not all going to be flying and roses.  Parts of it are going to suck a ton if not worse than your daily engineering gig.  

Find happiness and contentment now with what you are doing because getting your dream job isn't going to fix that.  Look at all the super successful people who have achieved their wildest dreams and are still bummed out and turn to alcohol/drugs.  

 

"Ask: What is so unbearable about this situation? Why can’t you endure it? You will be embarrassed to answer."

-Marcus Aurelius 

p.s. sorry for the cheesy instagram level BS motivational quote but stoicism would be a helpful philosophy for you to learn more about

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Once you start UPT things will happen fast.  You’ll  be too busy to have time for burnout.  Or hours of Youtube.

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I'm in sort of a mirror image situation.  I left a civilian job I was actually fairly happy with, to discover I don't too much care for flying and that my accumulated irritation with the Air Force over the years hasn't subsided at all.  I'm finding it very hard to to keep my head in the game, because frankly much (if not most of me) would be relieved to be pushed out of training and back to my old life.  So from my perspective, having nothing you'd prefer to go back to can be important motivator.  Make of that what you will.

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Damn bro... the AF it’s not a rose garden or the pearly gates. It’s supposed to be hard and selective. Take pride in that because it’s not meant for everyone... but the attitude of wanting to be pushed out??? Not the type of bro I would want in the front seat with me.

Yeah soooo u used to be somebody at your old job, and felt comfortable and knew what to do... but now your a POS stud that gets criticized 24/7. Oh well, get over it!!! It will take a while but believe someday you’ll be in the seat, comfortable and happy to be out there hacking the mish and not behind a desk punching numbers while your boss goes on his fifth vacation.


Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app

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I would at least entertain the thought that you wont be going to any training until well into 2022. Fix what you have going on now because using the AF as your escape will only make you more miserable when they continue to push the timeline back. For reference I was hired in fall of 19' had no hiccups other then COVID delays and do not have dates yet. I honestly don't expect to go anywhere until 2022 at this point. 

I understand your sentiment, I left my nice contractor job expecting to leave within a year and have had to pick up miserable work at amazon to pay the bills until I get the call. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

@BadGuySplashBit of a thread revive, but I feel like it's relevant.

I've been working a night-shift job for the last two years, and it's slowly eaten away at me. I'm finally at a point where I can't do it anymore. So, I'm kind of in your shoes.

I need that reset that I talked about in my previous post. I can't remember the last time I was able to sit in the sunshine (God how I miss the sun) on a weekend and just relax. I haven't done any of my favorite hobbies really either, and I've just fallen into a malaise.

My FC1 is approved, and the paperwork is sent off, so UPT is a reality, but not anytime soon with COVID/delays.

I'm going to find other ways to pay my bills, kind of like @benfnghad to do, because at least that'll let me be a normal person again, and have me in that good headspace for whenever my dates do drop. Thankfully I'm in the financial situation where I can do that.

Bottom line, take care of yourself. You're the only one who can.

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On 3/8/2021 at 2:28 AM, Kiloalpha said:

@BadGuySplashBit of a thread revive, but I feel like it's relevant.

I've been working a night-shift job for the last two years, and it's slowly eaten away at me. I'm finally at a point where I can't do it anymore. So, I'm kind of in your shoes.

I need that reset that I talked about in my previous post. I can't remember the last time I was able to sit in the sunshine (God how I miss the sun) on a weekend and just relax. I haven't done any of my favorite hobbies really either, and I've just fallen into a malaise.

My FC1 is approved, and the paperwork is sent off, so UPT is a reality, but not anytime soon with COVID/delays.

I'm going to find other ways to pay my bills, kind of like @benfnghad to do, because at least that'll let me be a normal person again, and have me in that good headspace for whenever my dates do drop. Thankfully I'm in the financial situation where I can do that.

Bottom line, take care of yourself. You're the only one who can.

I'm super happy for you man, glad you got UPT on the horizon. That's gonna help the hard days at work go by a little bit easier.  

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