Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Man, how do you do it?"

For February I had a regular reserve line, meaning I was assigned to be available all but 11 days of the month. On these days I could be assigned to sit at home "on call", at the airport "on call" or go flying. No idea which until the last minute. I am used to it.

A buddy of mine on my plane, but much more senior, forgot to bid for February. He also got regular reserve. In his 5 years here....he has never been on reserve.

When he was hired he got a line almost right away. He was lucky with his timing.

More than once this month he has asked me, "Man how do you do it?"...meaning putting up with reserve. I told him that I have been abused so much that I am somewhat used to it. It was a rude awakening too him. I am sure he will never forget to bid again.

On reserve it's hard to plan anything on a day I have to be available. If my wife needs me to go with her to the doctor and I am on reserve...well I do the best I can.

For example the next time she goes in for an Ultrasound is March 2nd. In order to make sure I had the day off I moved my reserve days around this month to work the 6 days prior to March 2nd giving me a 7 day conflict. My schedule for March originally had me working that day, now I have it off WITH pay.  I have 12 days off in March instead of 11. Of course I have to pay the piper by working 6 days of reserve in a row.

It will get worse when we have a kid. If the kiddo has a play on a certain day I have to hope to swap days, get the day off with pay (burning a vacation day), get the day off without pay or hope to be done in time.

My buddy has had a rough month even for reserve standards. It almost seems like scheduling is working him harder because they never got to screw with him in he past. Payback of sorts.

Because he was never on reserve, he had a lot of questions about what scheduling can do. Sure it's in the contract, but reading through the contract can be a little confusing....and there is a lot of grey. I don't mind helping out and gave him pointers. He has since bid and was awarded a hard line for March.

If I were a line holder it would be much easier to get days off and plan a life.

Next month I have afternoon airport standby again. I prefer this as I know on the first day I am off until at least 2PM. If it were a reserve day I would have no idea what I was doing. Knowing I am off till 2PM allows me to go to the Doctor, get my car fixed...whatever.

Come July 2nd I will have 10 First Officers below me. Life will get better. Though I will still likely be on reserve....I should be on the top of the reserve list (where I can control my life a little more) versus the bottom where I am now.

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