Airline Pilot vs Office Job

I am 23 years old and only seven months into my first job out of college working as a commercial real estate broker. I have quickly learned that working in an office is not the kind of lifestyle that I want for myself. Working in the same place, with the same people, at the same time, on the same days, doing the same things for the same pay is sapping me of energy and motivation. So I got to thinking and, being as I have always been fascinated with flight, love being in airports/ on planes, and am energized by being on the go, I am heavily considering changing careers into aviation as soon as I can afford to pay for flight school in cash (Yes, I am aware of how much it costs). As someone currently working in the aviation industry, do you believe that your field is ideal for those that do not enjoy routines and monotonous tasks? My biggest concern is that I make this change only to find that the lifestyle is not totally different- I am seeking something close to the polar opposite of an office job lifestyle.
Please advise!
Thank you,


ANY job can be routine. I know many real estate brokers who absolutely love their jobs and find it to be anything but routine and boring. They meet new people, visit different properties, work different days and their pay is anything but stable. You’ve been there 7mos and you’re over it. After you’re done with flight training you’ll be instructing to build time. Same airport, same students, same airplanes. Will you be bored by that? Maybe. I absolutely love my job and find it anything but boring but there’s a tremendous amount of routine to it and I know many pilots who really don’t care for it.

You say you’ve always been fascinated and love but for some reason you never pursued it. Why not? Have you ever flown in a small airplane? If the answer is no I recommend you go up and see what it’s really about. Then imagine doing basically what you did in that single lesson for the next 2 yrs. It be a shame for you to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to find you’re in the same place you are now.




Aviation is certainly different than an office job. It involves travel and each day can be different. That being said, at some point any job can begin to seam routing. One can only fly to Paris so many times before it becomes familiar too. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I would not describe it as action packed or full of adventure.

Take a look at the “Flying the line” section as it describes some of our typical days.


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Adam & Chris,

Thank you both for your quick responses.

Adam, just to clarify, commercial real estate is very different from residential real estate in that 95%+ of the day to day is office based. I have never pursued aviation because it has always seemed out of reach, mainly due to the cost and self limitation. In high school I fell into the “everyone must go to college” mindset and at that point aviation just became a pipe dream. However, the fascination has never left me and am now considering the possibility from a new perspective. I have not flown in behind the wheel of a small airplane before, however, I am planning on taking a discovery flight next month and will certainly be thinking about what you have told me here. I am hopeful that it will provide me with some perspective and guidance as to how I should proceed.

Chris, thanks for your perspective, fly to the moon enough times and it becomes routine, I totally get what you are saying. Is it safe to say that there is significantly more variability in your day to day life as a pilot as opposed to a desk jockey? I am not expecting some Indiana Jones career where no two days are the same in any way, there has to be routine to some degree, thats how you become good at anything. What I am seeking is a lifestyle with more flavor than a 9-5.

Thank you both for your insight, anything else worth mentioning would be greatly appreciated.



Funny you say that, because I worked in real estate for 7 years and found it anything but routine. I was in development, not brokerage, but we deal with a lot of the same stakeholders.

One of the things I actually find appealing about a career in aviation is it is routine, but not necessarily monotonous. RE is a 24/7 career and I got tired of being a slave to my cell phone and email. Dealing with so many moving parts of a project and being responsible for other peoples’ performance and emotions was draining. However, rarely was there a week where I was entirely in the office. About 50% of the time I was visiting construction sites or out meeting with pretty interesting people.

I look forward to a career of fairly firm schedules, and for the most part being responsible only for my own performance, minus the flight instructing period. Also, the best part about an airline career is when you’re off, you’re off.