Updated: May 15
I remember the crash and burn of my regional airline pilot working life like it was yesterday. After ten years of intensive flight training, commuting across the country, working through incredibly long hours and chronic fatigue, my reward as a captain was spending Christmas Eve in a dumpy, smelly, creepy hotel near the Milwaukee, Wisconsin airport. The airline planned to assign me for duty on Christmas Day while the rest of my crew had continued flying to an overnight in another city. In an almost cinematic twist, there was no other sign of humanity, except for a rude front desk worker who told me she hated Christmas. While trying to comprehend the color of the murky, distressed carpet, I considered once again, how did I end up here? Six days before that Christmas Eve, I was supposed to be getting married in Key West, Florida. How quickly things can change. This, for me, was a lifelong reminder of the value of relationships, health, happiness, and the freedom to pursue these things (Thomas Jefferson was a genius). My family demonstrated this while I was in the airport hotel by including me in board games over the phone when I called during their Christmas Eve festivities. In a corporate culture governed by fear, employees are treated as a liability to be eliminated. Red flag: When your company starts rationing water to flight crews, you know how they feel about you. This sentiment was felt in the crew room at the O’Hare airport, where somebody posted a sign next to a withered, decapitated plant – naming it the “Morale Plant.” When traveling to the corporate headquarters for flight training, employees affectionately described having to travel to the “Death Star.” After changing careers, I found that the reason I was so unhappy was because I was living in the backwards world. The private business world has been nearly a complete reversal from the regional airline. One of the main differences seems to be that in a private business properly run by its owners, employees are treated as part of a corporate family. After the airline moved its operations to Chicago, I commuted across the country on my days off, battling sleep deprivation and airport security. Now I walk to work for 15 minutes through a forested neighborhood, gleaming with the morning sunlight. I could contrast a thousand differences like this, but the huge gap is corporate culture and lifestyle.
Photo: My last flight as a professional aviator before changing careers was Grand Rapids, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
These daily walks have been flooding my brain with ideas to help others out of situations similar to my crash and burn scenario. While at the airlines, I was trapped in my underwater mortgage and an overspecialized profession during a brutal recession, nearly had a drastic pay cut, and was unable to sell my house, change jobs, or move to another location. Eventually, I navigated through all of these obstacles, but only after learning some challenging lessons that we’ll cover in future articles. In these kinds of scenarios, is money good or bad? Some of us think of money as something required purely for survival; a nurturing force that feeds us and clothes us, while other times it feels like a force wielded by others as a weapon against us. Our human nature attaches emotions to these objects because career and money decisions are choices that define who we are and what we believe in, but the objects are only pieces of a larger version of the board games I played over the phone on Christmas Eve. Our choices feed into this game, which has been played for ages – the Money Games. It sounds like the Hunger Games, but you’re not in mortal danger from a child with a sword. I’ve found that we all play in the Money Games, whether we want to or not. It plays the same as any other game, with teamwork, rules, other players, and a scoring system. Like other games, our emotions tend to focus on winning or losing. Like other games, we focus on trying to better our score, but scoring requires training. Where does the score originate? Every paycheck we earn through wages is by trading a tiny piece of ourselves. When your paycheck is spent, we are giving ourselves away, and it’s as a vote in a vast, worldwide election where our votes are picked apart again and recirculated as new votes. These votes in their monetary form are being fought for in the Money Games as a giant, multi-dimensional tug-of-war between you and almost every interaction you have on your screens, in your cities, and in your culture. For some, every day hundreds of influencers such as advertisements drift through our vision and bounce around our minds like a video game. Fortunately, for those of us facing an increasingly digital existence controlled by internet portals using your own data, there is a corresponding increasing number of independent writers, like myself, who are willing to show others the truth behind the techniques. The reason I created The Golden Goose Guide is because after changing careers from regional airline pilot to finance, I’ve been helping others on the path to winning the gold in the Money Games of life. It’s been rewarding when others find that unlike the Olympics, in the Money Games, everyone has the ability to finish with a gold medal and financial freedom, regardless of what their score is right now. This website, built by yours truly, gives me a place to share my system. Most of the challenge is changing the mindset from observer, to participant, to contender, to gold medal winner. Fortunately for us, this gold medal does not require killer abs or a lifelong obsession – just awareness, understanding, and a little practice. The more milestones you reach, the easier it gets, and the faster you get, until you’ve reached the finish line. The earlier you start, the earlier you finish – and because investments grow and operate at any scale – we’re talking decades earlier. The Golden Goose Guide also exists to bridge a gap from finance as a profession to everyday decisions made by everyone. This allows me to use my graduate degree in finance and industry experience as a force for good on a wider scale, because these principles still hold true for all. For those who wonder if this transformation is possible with a lower income, it is. While flight instructing in the beginning of my first career, I never made it above the poverty line. The career changes I’ve made from airline captain, to information technology, to the world of finance have given me some insight into reworking careers. For those of you who are struggling with career guidance in college or post-college, this website will feature articles that draw from my experience in building and rebuilding more than one career. Also, I’ll have some good advice from someone who has overdone the student loan thing: me. There are two characters in these games I’d like to highlight first: Time Corruptors, and Money Corruptors. Time Corruptors are often perfectly legitimate businesses, organizations, or individuals that trick you into working for them for extremely low wages relative to their profit per employee, or worse yet, no wages at all. Clickbait is an example of a Time Corruptor. Money Corruptors are numerous, but in general, they tend to operate on the emotional side of money to trick you into giving your money to them, sometimes by claiming to be an expert. This is too ironic – why should anyone who is considered an expert on making money need yours? Multi-level marketing is an example of a Time and Money Corruptor, because nearly everyone tricked into joining ends up losing both time and money. The truth is that the more you read and practice the Money Games, the more comfortable you will be in the playing the game and recognizing those who try to bend the rules in their favor. Selfless advice is more likely from someone who doesn’t need your money and therefore doesn’t need to trick others into giving it up, but offers value from experience that people can seek out on their own. We’ll discuss these characters and more in more detail in future articles.
Photo: Ironically for a job with (lousy) travel benefits, I never had time to visit the Grand Canyon until leaving the airlines.
If you’re as excited as I am to get started, a preview of the next step is below! Just wait until you see my next article, which gives an overview of the system: The One Quick Cheat for Lazy Slackers Okay, we all wish we had that one (the wisdom of Red Green). Most financial systems you see in popular books are an annoying mix of psychobabble and the occasional nugget of helpful information. Instead, it should be about results. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe and leave your thoughts in the comments below. You're invited to join our Golden Goose Guide community and ask questions in the Forums using the Wix App
If you'd like to take a step out of Golden Goose Guide and keep up with our personal life, long distance relationship and adventures since I quit my airline captain job and moved to England, please see our YouTube Channel: 4000 Miles Together
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Next Article #2: The 7 Golden Milestones to Financial Freedom