The busy pilot’s guide to being kind to yourself

The busy pilot’s guide to being kind to yourself

We know that pilot’s face many challenges with their busy schedules. Dealing with jet lag, irregular hours and shifting routines are just some of the factors that can increase your levels of stress and tiredness. It’s really important that you focus on your physical and mental wellbeing so that you are well equipped to meet these challenges. Here are some tips to help you be kinder to yourself every day.

 

Look after your body

Being a pilot can be very demanding on your body, with the high levels of concentration required and coping with the changing time zones. It’s important to take the time to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

It can be difficult to get into a regular exercise routine that fits in with your schedule. Some people find that taking up yoga or learning some exercises with resistance bands really help. These are activities that you can practice for 15 minutes a day and can be done wherever you are, whether at home, in a gym or even in a hotel room.

Maintaining a healthy diet as a pilot isn’t easy. Forward planning and making the right choices about which foods you eat can make a huge difference to how you feel. If you eat well, you’ll find that your mood and energy levels improve. This is really important for long distance flying and maintaining concentration.

We also have a guide to help you deal with jet lag.

 

Look after your mind

It can be difficult to maintain your mental wellbeing if you’re often tired and/or stressed. Relaxation techniques or meditation might help you deal with this and ensure that you’re ready to face whatever challenges the working day holds.

There are lots of meditation apps available that can guide you through the process if you’re new to meditation and it only takes a few minutes each day. This can easily be done just before bed or when you wake up in the mornings. This can also add a bit of regular routine to your day.

If you don’t fancy giving meditation a go but still want to make more of an effort to look after your mental wellbeing, why not try writing down your thoughts to organise them better and better understand what you’re feeling and why.

 

Take a moment to look at your achievements

With a busy schedule, it can sometimes be difficult to get some perspective on what you’ve achieved. Whether these are professional or personal achievements, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on how far you’ve come. You’ll then be able to face the future and your goals with more positivity.

 

Prioritise your relationships

It can be difficult to work away from home for long periods of time and this can take a toll on your relationships. In fact, the divorce rate amongst some pilot groups is as high as 75%.

Find a little time each day to focus on these relationships. When you’re away, perhaps make a regular time to call home. When you are home, make sure you make the most of that time with your friends and family. The small things can make a big difference.

 

Be generous

Studies have shown that giving gifts is better than receiving them in terms of our own happiness. When you give something to someone, areas in your brain that are associated with social connection, trust and pleasure are activated. Scientists believe that endorphins are also released when you display altruistic behaviour.

So if you feel that you’re in need a bit of a boost, why not try giving someone an unexpected gift, just ‘because’. This can also help strengthen your relationships, as mentioned in the point above. Or maybe donate to your favourite charity.

 

Have fun

No matter how busy you are, you should still be able to find a little time in your day to do something you enjoy. It could be something as simple as watching an episode of your favourite TV show, or calling a friend, or spending some time with your kids. You might just want to kick back with a book and a glass of wine for a bit of me time.

A great way to de-stress and give yourself a boost of energy, is to find something that makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It has been proven to boost your immune system and even help you deal with stress. It’s a great way to inject a bit more positivity into your mindset.

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Inside the life of a female commercial Captain

Inside the life of a female commercial Captain

We recently caught up with Aer Lingus Captain, Elaine Egan, to talk about being in an elite club of female captains, what she loves about her job, and the topic of much discussion, what she thinks about Brexit.

 

Firstly, you’ve been a pilot for over 30 years now (10 as a co-pilot and 20 as Captain.) Did you always want to be a pilot?

Yes, I became interested about the age of 13. I got a flying lesson for my 14th birthday and from that day onwards I only had one goal. From a very young age, I thought I wanted to be an air hostess. I met two pilots from Aer Lingus and told them that, and they asked why I didn’t want to be a pilot. I replied, ‘because I’m a girl!’, and they were like, ‘so…?’ So that got me thinking.

 

What do you love about the job?

My job affords me the opportunity to do what I love, my hobby on a professional level and get paid for it. Every day is different, and after 30 years I still get a buzz.

 

What’s the hardest part about the job?

The hardest part is probably the shift work, the irregular lifestyle and jet lag can play havoc with your sleep patterns – but I get to see the sun above the clouds every time I go to work, no matter what the weather’s like in Dublin, and that’s a real privilege.

 

If you weren’t a pilot, what profession do you think you’d be in?

To be honest, I’ve no idea. I’ve been flying commercially for 30 years. Throughout my career I’ve gained many useful skills. I would hope I could put them to good use should I lose my license!

 

How do you manage to balance a demanding job and family life?

I am highly organised and having great support at home is key. My husband Fergal is great, and we have a fantastic childminder who works around my roster.

 

Amazingly, there are only around 7,500 female airline pilots in the world, and until a few years ago, you could have fit all the female captains in the world on a 450 seater A380. How does that make you feel to be part of such an elite club?

I joined Aer Lingus in 1988, I was the 4th female employed. As aviation for women was still relatively new back then, I had the privilege of being involved in the 1st all female crew with our first female Captain Grainne Cronin. I was also the first Irish female to be licensed on a 4 engine jet. At the time you take these things in your stride, but as I get older, I’m very proud to be able to tell my children.

 

Why do you think it is such a male dominated industry?

Aviation is just over 100 years old. Up until the ‘70’s very few women worked outside the home. Yes there is still some gender bias but that is changing. Women have proven themselves and companies are actively employing them.

 

After passing your ATPL, how long did it take you to find a job, apply for it and complete the interview process?

In the late ‘80’s there was a downturn in the industry. After my exams it took me a number of months to find a job. But once employed, I was flying within 6 weeks.

 

What advice would you give to any young girls who are aspiring pilots?

I think the advice I’d give would apply to any young person that wants to fly. Believe in yourself, work hard and never give up.

 

Would you encourage your children to become pilots?

I would encourage anybody to follow your dreams. Flying tends to be a career that you’re passionate about and not easily deterred.

 

Lastly, Brexit is the topic of the decade. Are you concerned about how it will affect the aviation industry?

The aviation industry is well used to change. After the horrific events of September ‘11, the industry adapted as it will with whatever Brexit throws up.

 

Is this your dream job? We can help you with your CV. Simply download the template below!

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Who are we?

We’re Aviation Job Search, the biggest job site in the world that specialises in just aviation jobs. We work hard to bring together all the latest aviation jobs, news and advice all under one roof. Our team speak daily with the world’s biggest employers and recruitment agencies to keep you right up to date with all the latest opportunities. If you’re looking to make your next career move, why not start your journey right now with us.

Powering up the employee experience for customer experience to take flight

Powering up the employee experience for customer experience to take flight

Ahead of the Aviation Festival in London, we caught up with Darko Todorovic to see why he suggests that airlines need to power up the employee experience for customer experience to take flight.  

 

Darko, just briefly, please introduce yourself

With more than 20 years’ experience in the airline industry, I now serve as the Airline Passenger Business Lead at Unisys. I am involved in extensive client advisory activities, creation of new industry solutions, and execution of the company’s strategic vision for travel and transportation business. My responsibilities include identifying social, mobile, analytics and cloud benefits to the travel and transportation business, bringing digital transformation solutions to the travel industry.

How adaptive are airlines to new technology?

Airlines will always continue to operate in technically high-end environments, adopting key technologies, such as sophisticated revenue management techniques, much sooner than other mainstream businesses. Airlines are exposed to extremely strong competition, not only from inside their own industry but from other modes of transport also. On top of that, when it comes to “who owns the customer” issue, airlines have to deal with global digital gatekeepers. I would say that the airlines are very proactive when they define their future and the technology that can enable that vision.

How effective are new technologies rolled out across airlines?

New technologies are very effective and can be extremely well targeted to achieve their core operating goals – such as, improved customer experience, personalisation, automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, better revenue management and cost control. In my experience, rolling out new technologies echoes the approach, standards and quality of that of the avionics equipment employed, with highly professional ‘heavy duty’ delivery via the airlines own staff and their solution and technology partners.

 

How do new technologies (implemented by airlines) affect employees in the long and short term?  

New technologies help to limit friction with customers, for example improving the baggage handling process or reducing flight delays, which would in turn positively impact the working environment. Any change does need to be approached in a sensitive manner however, allowing employees to gear the best outcome for the airline, and ensure an optimum work/life balance.

 

Can you give any examples of where a new technology has benefited employees and their day to day job?

The Internet of things (IoT) has found its place at the airports, in supply chain and cargo operations, and even in passenger cabins. Also, down in data centres we can find extensive data analytics and artificial intelligence. All these technologies enable use cases that were not possible before. They are dramatically empowering the employees to do their work in new ways and serve their customers and businesses much differently than in the past.

 

How about when new technologies fail, what kind of impact does that have on employees who still have to manage their day around it? And when a technology fails, what can employees do to ensure that the customer experience isn’t affected?

I remember the days when the airlines introduced automation into previously manual processes. At that time, the airline workforce was over-dimensioned and very knowledgeable of each step in the process. Failing technology was not an issue – airline staff could revert back to their manual procedures. These days are gone. Digitisation and passenger self-service capabilities dramatically reduced the size of airlines’ staff and also their training needs. Unfortunately, there is little an employee can do when the technology fails. Empathy and assertiveness with the customers are the employee’s best option.

 

In terms of revenue, what kind of impact can a fail in technology cause?

Financial impact can be quite dramatic – imagine a failure that prevents an airline to fly and forces it to leave their passengers on the ground. Sounds familiar, right? A single point of failure in very complex airline systems can lead to this situation. The estimated cost impact is typically hundreds of millions of USD in lost revenue and incurred costs to the airline. Even less dramatic events can have a significant impact. In case an airline’s e-commerce platform slows down, the passengers may not be willing to wait and would just decide to buy their tickets with another airline. When that happens, the airline’s sophisticated revenue optimisation strategies stop to work, resulting in the loss of sales.

 

The saying goes ‘a bad workman blames his tools.’ Is this true, or are their ways and means around failures in technology?

In highly automated airline and airport environments, the technology plays the main role. By design, the role of technology cannot be replaced by the workforce. Modern, digital companies must ensure that they have backup solutions in place for their critical systems. It is important to eliminate that single point of failure in the systems. It can be done in different ways. Currently we are interested in functional backups, enabling process execution on a different, shared infrastructure.

In a nutshell, how would you suggest that airlines “power up the employee experience for customer experience to take flight? Provide smart and timely fixes to the technology the employee uses on a day-by-day basis that fits around their need. In a modern enterprise, employees are valued internal customers of the business. Employee’s positive experience with the technology and processes design is key for the successful service of the airlines’ or airports’ end customers – their passengers.

Can you tell us a little more about the upcoming workshop at the Aviation Festival in September, and what attendees can expect?

Without giving too much away, we anticipate a lively and energised, interactive discussion around the needs and desires of often unseen heroes of the industry – the airline and airport staff that labour tirelessly to help us, as travellers, to depart, travel and arrive at our destination, relaxed, happy and ready for action.

You can see Darko Todorovic, and the Vice President and Global Head of Travel and Transportation, Dheeraj Kohli, in action at the Aviation Festival London on the 5th – 7th September 2018. 

During the conference Darko and Dheeraj will discuss how airlines and airports are digging deep into how to create an exceptional customer experience. However, to deliver the customer experience that customers want, it is vital to also deliver the employee experience that your staff is craving. In Unisys’ collaborative workshop, attendees will discover the implications of workplace technology, discuss what it means to be a technology leader or laggard, and will be able to get involved in interactive demos of innovative technologies. To book your tickets, visit here now.

Who is Darko Todorovic?

Darko Todorovic serves as the Airline Passenger Business Lead at Unisys. In this capacity, he is involved in extensive client advisory activities, creation of new industry solutions and execution of the company’s strategic vision for travel and transportation business.

About Unisys

Unisys is a global information technology company that specialises in providing industry-focused solutions integrated with leading-edge security to clients in the government, financial services and commercial markets. Unisys offerings include security solutions, advanced data analytics, cloud and infrastructure services, application services and application and server software.

Who are we?

We’re Aviation Job Search, the biggest job site in the world that specialises in just aviation jobs. We work hard to bring together all the latest aviation jobs, news and advice all under one roof. Our team speak daily with the world’s biggest employers and recruitment agencies to keep you right up to date with all the latest opportunities. If you’re looking to make your next career move, why not start your journey right now with us.

5 packing hacks by GATE8 Luggage

5 packing hacks by GATE8 Luggage

At GATE8, as the cabin luggage brand of choice for many frequent travellers, they are constantly talking to business travellers, pilots and crew about how travel could be made more efficient. Especially when it comes to packing, they’ve accumulated a wealth of hacks of that may help you stay organised and optimise that precious luggage space even further.

Here’s the top 5!

⦁ Pack your belt in the collar of a shirt; this will save space and help to keep your collar crisp.

⦁ Use the complimentary shower caps to put your shoes in… It will save your clothes from getting dirty and will help avoid scuffs on your shoes.

⦁ Place a dryer sheet in your bag to keep your clothes smelling fresh during transit. It takes up minimal space and avoids that musty smell when you unpack at the other end.

⦁ Use masking tape around toiletry bottles tops to avoid spillage (it works!)

⦁ It sounds uncool, but make a packing list – or download a free one! Check everything off, and then put the list in your case so that you can use it to pack on your way home. Get your free packing list by clicking the red button.

Why GATE8?

Besides packing smartly, choosing the right luggage can go a long way in making your travels as hassle-free as possible. At GATE8 they work closely with the business travel community to develop a range of cabin bags that answer the most pressing of travel gripes – from crease-free garment storage to keeping your tech & valuables safe and close to hand, discover the range at GATE8Luggage.com.

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Best ways to find a guilt-free work balance

Best ways to find a guilt-free work balance

With our modern lifestyles becoming more and more dynamic, the debate on what work-life balance means proves to be quite relevant today. We caught up with Daniel Ross, Marketing Executive at Roubler to see what he had to say on this pressing issue. 

Work-life balance is defined as the extent to which a person feels fulfilled in both professional and personal aspects of their life. Basically, it’s when you achieve a healthy combination of work and play. What is interesting is how subjective it is for each one of us. For some, it might mean being able to leave work early or having weekends totally free. For others, it might mean having a completely flexible schedule. Ultimately, only you can perceive if your life is in balance or not.  

 

History

The concept of work-life balance emerged as early as the 18th century when the first laws were enacted to limit the number of working hours allowed for employees. Laws supporting mandatory leave for particular life events, such as childbirth and illnesses, were also passed.

This was largely spurred on by the influx of women in the workforce, who lobbied for shorter working weeks and flexible schedules to be able to juggle work and caring for their families. Nowadays, the discussion on work-life balance includes all working individuals, and even identifies distinct groups such as single parents.

 

Established Effects

People who consider themselves to have a balanced work and personal life generally have lower levels of stress and depression, and higher levels of satisfaction in life. In contrast, work-life imbalance is also associated with elevated levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, increased blood pressure and heart rate, ill health, and depression.

These effects have an impact in both aspects of our lives. On a professional level, for instance, work-life balance translates to pro-social behavior, engagement, and productivity, while failure to achieve it results in absenteeism, job dissatisfaction, and burnout. On a personal level, engagement in relationships, personal development, and good self-esteem are associated with work-life balance, while guilt, regret, and depression tend to occur without it.

 

Why Is It Hard to Achieve?

Now that we have established the importance of work-life balance, the big question is, “Why is it hard to achieve?” Hectic lifestyles combined with ubiquitous technology may have something to do with it.

In the era of the Internet, computers, and mobile phones, convenient access to these portable technologies can blur the boundaries between work and non-work tasks, especially with provisions like flexible work hours, telecommuting (working from home), and others. Gadgets enable us to work from our cars and homes, from planes and cafes—places that used to be traditionally non-work spaces. On the flip side, employees can bring personal activities (e.g. texting, online shopping, logging in to social media accounts) into the workplace. This blurring of boundaries leads to work hours spilling over into non-work hours, and vice-versa, causing imbalance and conflict between the two.

 

Ways to Have Work-Life Balance

It can be challenging to achieve a proper work-life balance given our numerous roles and responsibilities, but there are a few strategies that may help you actualise it:

 

Organize and Prioritize

It’s best to start with tracking your daily activities and estimating how much time is dedicated to each. Afterwards, try to prioritise: what’s non-negotiable, what can be flexible, and what’s not really important? Whether it’s cooking dinner for your kids, or working on your board presentation, or having a date night once a week—it will be an eye-opener on what really matters to you.

Check if your non-negotiables are mostly personal commitments or professional ones, or more or less an equal mix of the two. This will show you whether the hours spent between these two facets are uneven and if they in fact spill over into each other. Here you can already start the process of balancing your hours for a more even distribution of time and effort.

 

Segment, Multitask, and Neglect

It’s a cause for concern when work and personal roles begin to overlap, because one role could either benefit or harm the other, and most of us can only juggle so much before reaching the breaking point. It pays to set firmer boundaries between work and non-work activities, or what we refer to as “segmenting.”

This is particularly difficult to do in our digital age when technology blurs boundaries. But with a little effort, it can be done. Segment when you’re engaging in non-negotiable activities: pay attention during an important meeting, be fully present when playing with your kids, and don’t check your phone every five seconds when you’re out with friends.

Now for tasks that you’ve deemed flexible (e.g., cleaning the house, watching a new TV series, picking your kid up from practice) you can actually multitask while doing these activities, or even occasionally neglect them. It’s all about prioritizing: neglect what you can, multitask when you can, and segment what you love.

 

Take Care of Yourself

Work-life balance isn’t just about figuring out how to best be of service to other people, it means figuring out how to best care for yourself. Set aside your own me-time every day when you can recharge through simple activities like reading, exercising, pampering, satisfying a food craving, or just plain relaxing. It’s not about being vain — you need to be healthy and happy to be able to give your best at work and at home.

Work-life balance is strongly associated with health, wellbeing, and personal and professional relationships. Prioritizing work and non-work demands may not always be easy, but with a lot of planning, consideration, and zero guilt, you can determine what matters most to you and strike that perfect balance between work and play

 

Who is the author?

Daniel Ross is part of the marketing team at Roubler — a time and attendance software platform founded in Australia. Their mission is to change the way the world manages its workforces.

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Coping with stress at work

Coping with stress at work

Do you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed at work? Well, you’re not alone; workplace stress is much more common than you might think. We spoke to Anna Pitts from the Graduate Recruitment Bureau to find out how to be stress free at work. She has shared three of her top strategies for managing stress in the workplace.

Workplace stress is extremely common and the sad truth is that it’s on the rise. Most professionals would admit to suffering from stress at busy times of the year, particularly when deadlines and targets come into play. Recent figures from Friends Life showed that last year alone, 5 million workers were affected by stress – and the reality is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Anna Pitts of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau explains what to do if you’re stressed, and more importantly what your employers can and should do to alleviate their employees of this burden.

 

1. Keep communication channels open

Stress can be intensified by a lack of communication or unclear instructions, and this is particularly the case for professionals who have the added pressure of deadlines, targets and client expectations. Ambiguity on tasks or lax detail surrounding important projects or deadlines only serves to heighten stress levels. You are entitled to a clear brief about each project and you should be supported by your team and employer throughout each venture.

Having an accessible and supportive manager will drastically decrease stress levels, and the reverse is also true. If you feel like there is a lack of communication or brief between you and your boss then ask if you can speak to them about it. Ask for the channel of communication to stay open as you need access to them to do your job properly.

Even little things such as not answering emails, failure to sign off on tasks outside of your control or even lazy instructions can all contribute to an unnecessary level of stress. The chances are your boss hasn’t realised they aren’t helping things as they are busy themselves, so a gentle nudge should improve the situation.

 

2. Don’t overload yourself

Another major contributor to workplace stress is work overload. You’re a person, not a machine and sometimes the powers that be can forget this. You may find that the to-do list keeps growing until it’s a terrifying length. This isn’t right. It is ok to turn down extra tasks if you physically have no time in the day to do them. Politely explain that while you would love to work on this extra assignment, you actually have your hands full with the other three that you are currently working on. Additionally, it is ok to ask for help from your colleagues and manager. There’s no shame in being too busy and your employers would rather you spoke up before you have to be signed off for stress.

 

3. It’s all about give and take

It is important that everyone on your team pulls their weight. If you’re a great worker, and everyone knows this, you can get roped in to doing more than your fair share. Having a good team around you takes a massive weight off your shoulders, so make sure that your colleagues are putting in the same amount of work and effort as you. If you seem to be the only one working and as a result are suffering from stress, then something needs to be done. Have a meeting with your line manager to raise the issues concerning you. Make sure you take some form of evidence along just in case, but the chances are they will know what a valuable asset to the company you are and respect your opinion and worries. There’s no harm in going above and beyond your job description, but make sure you aren’t doing everyone else’s job for them.

Clear communication is key in a working environment; a lack of this, combined with an excessive workload, unrealistic deadlines and unmotivated colleagues all send stress levels soaring. The good news is these can all be solved. Stress needn’t rule your life, and it shouldn’t. Make sure if you start to feel weighed down and depressed at work that you nip it in the bud as soon as possible. Your manager, colleagues and HR department are all there to support you. Solutions are available and, if utilised, stress will be a thing of the past.

 

Who are we?

We are Aviation Job Search, the world’s no.1 job website for aviation recruitment. If you’re looking for a new challenge, why not browse 100’s of jobs near you right now? Looking to recruit in 2018? Look no further, simply give us a call on 01772 639605 or visit our online checkout to get your job live in minutes.

Easing yourself back in to work after maternity leave

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