It is 2014, I just graduated high school and am ready to make my parents proud to enroll in this growing industry program my college is offering.
It is day one at college, a bunch of other students and I attended the orientation. It is our first week of class and we got an exam to test our mentality skills. We started the class with 80 students, the next day only 30 students showed up to class. Many students failed or quit the program because of how hard the exam was.
It is 2016, and I am very happy to finally have finished all my courses and ready to get into that awesome aviation world. It is graduation day, we get ready to line up and to see the 30 students in our class. The other programs get called and anywhere from 30 to 80 students graduate. It comes to our turn where we were supposed to be 30 students, only 6 walked on the stage, with a moment of silence.
It is the end of 2016, and I lost hopes of looking for jobs. I even drove from Ottawa to Thunder Bay, which is a 13-hour drive, to hand in resumes to airlines so they can hire me in the management section.
It is 2017, I totally lost hope and started to look into other careers. I got a call from a company up from Yellowknife offering me a position as a dispatcher to become possible management.
I packed my things and took the first flight to Yellowknife from Ottawa.
I land and I see a cold breeze going from -8c to -35c. I got into the terminal and I saw a big white polar bear sculpture, I laughed and took a picture and sent it to my family. I took my luggage and headed out to have a quick vape. As I look up I see green lights dancing. I started to get goosebumps and took my phone out and started to take pictures. I get a cab and head to my hotel to get ready for work the next day. I get to work and I see my colleagues and start my first day.
4 months later I realized this work is not for me, so I applied to different companies up north.
I get a call from a company that is based in Norman Wells, the only access to the town is either driving on the ice road or taking a flight one way with the cost of $800.
I took the offer and I submitted my resignation letter, 2 weeks later I took the flight over to Norman Wells, I landed and I noticed there were no paved roads. Only dirt roads.
So I started walking to my camp where I live with 13 guys with 2 bathrooms and 1 kitchen. I started working in -45c conditions throwing bags, cleaning planes, checking in customers, cleaning my boss’s car all for only minimum wage.
It’s 2018, I get a call from management telling me they’re sending me to Inuvik to work as an assistant to the manager but only me and the manager are working the base. It is December, where we don’t get sun for 6 months in winter.
I had enough of the north so I started applying everywhere that I have more experience now. I got a call from a company based in Calgary with a position in Prince George. I immediately accepted the offer and told my company that I am sick and I need to go home for 2 weeks. I left for Prince George and called my company and told them I quit.
I looked outside the terminal and there was a snowstorm, 40cm on the ground. No cars moving, and no cabs. So I waited and waited, then this old couple called me over to their car and offered me a ride to the hotel. I offered to pay and she declined to accept. By that night I know Prince George will be good for me.
I showed up to work and there was nobody to show me around. So I started cleaning the filthy office and with my training, I started documenting everything, organizing the aircraft, cleaning the hangar where the 4B dollar aircraft are parked.
It is 2019, I am ready for a better challenge, so I get a call from work offering me a better position in Calgary, but with the same pay. So I agreed and in February, I hopped in my 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer and drove from Prince George to Calgary. It was supposed to be an 8-hour drive, but it took us 12 hours because of how bad the roads were and I was driving 60kms where the speed limit is 100kms/hr.
It is February 17th, I drove to work and started my shift. I was excited to see myself doing something big in this company, and enjoying the big city with an amazing lifestyle and people.
I woke up one day and looked at Facebook and saw this thing about Corona Virus and how it came from a bat. I was surprised and drove to work and chatted with my colleagues about the virus, and many of them said it’s a hoax and they wanted to scare people like in 2012.
It’s March, as I am headed to bed I get an email notification saying “Dear AJ, due to the pandemic we are forced to lay you off with a protection of 10 years, to be able to secure you seniority number with the company you’re building you’re not allowed to work unless you quit. They would pay you $800 a month to keep your seniority number.”
No one could live on this salary, imagine having a family of four, how can you feed them?
So aviation workers started to quit and drive for Uber, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash, etc.
It is October 2020, I just survived a COVID experience, and I had enough of this career. I am looking for other jobs, driving for DoorDash, changing tires for cars, and other side jobs so I can put bread on the table. I am lost in this world and confused about what I am going to do next, I’ve been traveling to see my friends and forget about this disastrous career.
I would never imagine working this hard to be screwed by a virus. The economy is garbage, people can not come back from vacation without quarantining. No one would be able to take a 4-week vacation from work, so no one would travel and it affects my work, it’s like a domino effect.
I am writing this to inform people how the government does not show the lives of aviation workers and to advise you to choose your career wisely.
Be safe, choose wisely.