We’re almost five months into 2019 now, which feels truly scary for me. I like to look back over periods of months and see what I’ve achieved, but it feels as though 2019 has trickled rather than flowed.
I can see the positives in those trickles, though. Between 2014 and 2018 I made so many sharp bursts of changes that I eventually felt exhausted and lost sight of myself and my goals. I’ve always secretly (and occasionally, openly) craved a career in aviation. I spent time as cabin crew, went back to the ground for medicine, hated that, and then plunged back into being a copywriter.
All the turbulence (ha!) that came with these changes left me questioning what I truly wanted. Deciding not to pursue a medical career also drew A LOT of criticism from those who care for me. And as I am a serial career hopper, when I told a small number of people about my itch to become a pilot I was met with the assumption that this was yet another phase.
Two weeks ago I finally reached out to a local flying school. They’re Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved and can, therefore, help me reach toward my PPL. I ordered my first Pooley’s book from Amazon (before being told by the operations manager at my school of choice that eBay was a better bet so I can save money) and began reading.
Then the haze happened. My first flight was rescheduled because of haze not once, not twice, but THREE times. I began reading up on PPrune about this frantically, eventually finding that this is common. I also found that many a wannabe pilot face multiple cancellations, making learning difficult when they have a day job. That strengthened my resolve to work as a freelance copywriter, as it at least it affords me the flexibility to take lessons when they arise.
I am now re-scheduled (for the fourth time) for tomorrow. I’ve spent the last few days writing about drug addiction recovery for a client in California and that, along with my sudden pursual of my PPL, has left me wondering what my mental blocks to pursuing what I want were. I know I am a capable person, as I’ve made academic achievements, accelerated my writing career from the ground up, and raised a child mostly single-handedly. With a little musing, here are some of my theories:
Encouragement isn’t always available in abundance when you start exploring your future. And this isn’t just the case for teenagers, either.
When I first started working as a freelance copywriter, my role was largely perceived as a hobby by my friends and family. In fact, many of them still see it as an unstable pursuit, despite the freedom it affords me both in terms of money and my role as a parent.
To propose spending the amount of money it takes to acquire a frozen ATPL would seem beyond outlandish to many people I know. It, therefore, doesn’t surprise me that many wannabe pilots who head down the modular training route begin their journey in their thirties. It can take a while to develop the type of gumption and confidence required to push ahead despite minimal encouragement. I certainly didn’t have it in my twenties.
Financial barriers, perceived or otherwise
When you’re looking down the barrel of a new business idea or career path, financial barriers can make your stomach twist in on itself. To give you an idea of what I mean, a frozen ATPL can cost anywhere up to £60,000. Ouch.
I put this into perspective when I began considering various career choices that would require me to pay around £9,500 per year in university fees for four to five years. At the same time, I wouldn’t have as much free time as I do now to write. Weirdly, when the cost of a new career was broken down into five annual payments that would (almost) reach £50,000, it seemed feasible.
If you’re not reaching for what you want because of finances, take a step back and consider whether the barriers are real or self-imposed. Could you fit in an extra hour or two of freelancing a day? Are there changes you could make to your weekly shopping bill? Small tweaks can amount to big changes that make your new career goals possible.
Fear of your dreams not meeting your expectations
My dreams not meeting my expectations became a harsh reality for me when I pursued a medical career. I’m prepared to be flamed for this, but I found the NHS to be a toxic institution where discrimination and bullying are rife. Reports from others back my sentiments, although I now have many friends who would disagree.
I also found that the role itself wasn’t quite as rewarding as I’d hoped. Maybe I’m not as altruistic or caring as I’d assumed, but I found the job circular and frustrating. I was also entering a largely unregulated profession in an environment where risks are real and high-stakes.
To fall in love with a career before you try it is a dangerous path. And if you’ve done as I did and found yourself in the midst of a nightmare, your next pursuit seems scary. It’s like being burned romantically; you just don’t want to go there again.
Fortunately, I soon remembered that working as cabin crew exceeded my expectations. That, plus a dose of realism has helped me to see that I can enjoy the journey toward a frozen ATPL without hinging my hopes on the outcome.
It’s all about being present, see…
For now, if you’re experiencing a minor (or major) block to going for what you want, take a step back. Look at where the blocks are coming from and consider how many are actually stemming from your own thought processes.