goldfish-jumping-out-from-the-fishbowlWhile some people are born yearning for a career in aviation, other people just fall into the industry. They may apply for a job at an aviation company because the listing sounded interesting. Then, once they are there for a while, their worldview on the aviation industry opens up. They discover they want more than a paycheck from aviation. They want to follow a newfound passion. But how do you do it? Where do you start?

Recently, RAI President Becky Bakeman participated in a panel discussion at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Schedulers and Dispatch conference. Alongside some of her fellow aviation professionals, Becky discussed a topic that is often on many people’s hearts: how to turn that paycheck from aviation into a passion.

The panel was composed of schedulers, dispatchers, and administrators at aviation companies. The panel addressed a crowd ranging from younger new grads to more seasoned professionals looking for more aviation opportunities. By fielding audience questions and sharing personal experiences, the panel hit home some good tips about making the jump from your current state to working for a paycheck to working for your passion. Here are the top three.

Explore Your Options.

People hear the word “aviation” and immediately think of pilots. However, folks who are passionate about working in the industry should consider all the options.  With some additional training, people already in the industry can find their way into many other positions in aviation such as flight attendant, aviation maintenance, scheduling, and dispatching. Aviation companies also need marketing, accounting, human resources, and aviation management professionals.  Opportunities abound for people who genuinely want to work in aviation.

Find a Mentor.

Breaking into the area of aviation you desire is often challenging to do without support. It also takes passion, persistence, and perseverance. The panel members encouraged the audience to look for mentors at their place of work, conferences, or at networking events.  A mentor can open doors and share the path they took to reach their current position in aviation. They can inspire and offer advice on how to achieve a new career path in aviation and you can even learn from their mistakes. Mentors are priceless and worth the time invested to find a good one.

Get Uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, someone already working in a role in aviation with a passion to go further may need to make a move to another company to reach their goals. For example, let’s say you want to grow into a new role at your aviation company (and are even willing to pursue licensure to do it), but your organization is unsupportive or even blocks your path. It might be time to find an organization that welcomes your ambition and  even helps you fulfill it. Leaving any job can be difficult and make you uneasy, but it may also be the key to freedom and feeding your passion towards your dream role in aviation!

Turning your paycheck into a passion isn’t always simple, but all the panel members agreed it was worth the effort. RAI Jets is always looking for people who want more from their job in aviation then just a paycheck. We are now hiring experienced pilots, administrators, schedulers, and dispatchers to join our team. Learn more at