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Lessons Learned from a Pilot-Turned Plumber

I’m sure you’re probably thinking the title of this post should be reading the other way around, as in a plumber who went on to be a pilot. It’s not – I really did mean to share a story of a pilot who went on to quit his job flying planes all around the world to become a plumber.

So before I actually get into the lessons proper, I’m going to give you a bit of a background story.

As far as climbing the career ladder goes, it probably doesn’t get better than being a pilot if you’re in aviation. This of course at the level of getting employment and not at the level of ownership. You get perks like nobody’s business – you get to travel the world for free, outside of your job of flying passengers and you generally get to stay in all the best hotels and resorts.

You get a salary package that will make anybody in any other career jealous and once you’re actually on the job, unless something catastrophic happens you’re pretty much set for life as you’ll always have opportunities in your industry.

Now onto the lessons learned…

Our pilot friend (he’s actually a relative) quit his job as a pilot in order to live out his life as a plumber, citing various reasons from which some important lessons can be learned, which are applicable in life, generally.

There IS such a thing as enough money

I kid you not – one year’s salary plus all the bonuses and perks seems to have been enough to set our pilot friend up for life. He managed to buy his dream home and pay it off within the year and enjoys such a high quality of life that he actually made the decision to quit the industry long before he knew he’d eventually get into plumbing.

He runs his huge home as a guesthouse, which is fully occupied almost throughout the entire year and the money made from that is more than enough to sustain him and his family, more so now that the kids are all grown up and have flown the nest.

So I guess if your income can have you enjoying a good quality of life, then there’s no need to constantly be seeking more…

It’s all about filling the gap

Lesson number two – running a guesthouse means one comes across challenges such as burst pipes which flare up at the worst of times, like at 2am in the morning. This is when the pilot realised there’s money to be made in plumbing and so he passed his trade test after qualifying through training and now does emergency plumbing outcalls only, at the same rates that other plumbers do regular outcalls during normal working hours.

So it’s all about filling the gap in the market and you can make a decent living, but what’s perhaps most important above all else is the fact that you have to find a balance between your need to generate a good income and enjoying a good quality of life.

For some people like this pilot that simply means being able to enjoy your own home environment as opposed to constantly being away on deployment.

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