Guess what job topped the CNBC's list for 2011? Commercial Airline Pilot.
Pilots also experience big swings in stress, says Tony Lee, going from “periods of extremely low stress when they’re not flying, followed by periods of extremely high stress. And these stressful swings are not the best thing for your health.”
Not the best thing for your health? I've been saying this for over a year now. I hate that sometimes The Pilot will be on a 4-day trip and the first two days are early mornings. As in he has to be at the airport at 0'dark hundred (also known as 4:40 am). He's usually done somewhat early on those days so he can sleep....until he gets to the third and fourth days. Sometimes he then has to switch to a late start and finish. As in he has to be at the airport in the afternoon and won't be done until after midnight. I have no idea how airlines expect pilots to be on their "A-game" when they have to force their bodies into some ridiculous sleep pattern. Madness.
I won't even get started on the air traffic controllers sleeping/watching movies on the job. I can't imagine how stressful it would be to try to land a giant tin can full of people without any assistance from the ground.
I coughed when I read the average salary in that article. I find it hard to believe that is an average. Maybe they are only calculating the mainline carriers and not the regionals. And it's the regionals that do the majority of the flying in this country. Unless there is something The Pilot isn't telling me, I don't foresee our household getting near that "average" anytime in the next.....decade... or probably ever. But what do I know? I'm still getting up to speed on this whole airline industry.
My advice (other than to allow the pilot spouses to create the schedules) is to thank your pilot if you have the opportunity. It goes a long way. Also, follow the rules (even those that seem stupid or obvious) and SIT DOWN and fasten your seat belt when you get on the plane. The crew isn't getting paid when you are standing up trying to get your iPad out of the one of your three smuggled carry on bags and while they wait when you can't get the bags to fit back into the overhead bin.
This will all make it slightly less stressful for the crew. :)