If you weren't an X - what do you think you'd be doing?

So @TheAlmightySnark made me think of this question in another thread:

If you weren’t doing what you are currently doing for a living - what do you think you might be doing?

So I’m a pilot in real life…a career choice that I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to pursue…and I love it. But I often wonder what I would have done if I hadn’t chosen this path. I’m pretty sure (but am not positive) that I might have landed in the ship driving business…whether ferry boats or freighters or some other capacity. Ships and seamanship share a lot of commonalities with aviation, so it isn’t a very big stretch. And I love the water and oceans and all types of waterborne activities (I windsurf, sail, kayak, snorkel, etc…).

So what do you think you would be doing or pursuing if you weren’t doing what you are doing now? (Not necessarily what you WISH you were doing…)


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Silly as it may appear- I’ve discovered I love to teach.
I’d like to be an IT high school teacher. The Lab guy.

I might actually have been a consultant making twice what I do now for the same type of work. Lawlz.

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Hmmm, that’s a fascinating question. When I started back to school after I got out of the Navy, I had several professors try their hardest to convince me to major in Chemistry instead of Engineering. If I’d have done that, I’d still be on the west coast, and most likely still in school for a Master’s/ Doctorate in Marine or Geo Chemistry. As it is now, I really, really miss being next to the ocean every day.


I’d be pursuing a degree in math or physics, I love that so damn much. I also considered being a forensic pathologist, unfortunately you have to become a living people’s doctor first which sounds very unattractive.


I too - would have been | should have been | could have been
a history teacher.

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If I wasn’t flying then I would like to be a part of the SpaceX team working in mission control in some capacity. I have no idea of the education requirements needed to even set foot through the door though. I never made it to college.


I know am ex-Navy Nuke who works the control room for ULA launches at Canaveral - he went straight into government technical work after getting out, and somehow went straight to NASA, then private. No degree.

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Well then I guess there would be a chance :). Thanks for the info!


Depends on what you’re doing. People in mission control can be anything from PhD’s in Astrophysics/Astrodynamics to Doctors/Psychologists (for manned missions) to people with a lot of general experience making sure things don’t break. (Safety / launch operations / etc).

Tossing stuff into space requires a huge mix of talents and experience levels. If it’s something that you really feel passionate about getting into, there’s no time like the present to get your foot in the door. Private spaceflight (SpaceX, Blue Origin, XCOR, Virgin Galactic, to name a few) is slated to become an even bigger deal in the near future, and society’s need for things like GPS and communications satellites is only growing.


The passion and interest is there, but at this point I have a great job, flying nice equipment with a decent salary. At almost 45 years old I am probably better off staying where I am career wise (and I certainly love what I do). I’ll just have to get my space fix by following missions and a healthy dose of playing KSP :wink: .

I take it that you are in the Aerospace industry?


Sick today, cant keep anything down so im in bed watching aircrash investigation(mayday mayday in some countries), and being an investigator seems like a nice and varied job!

A good friend of mine’s father was an MD and did accident investigations for the FAA. It was a grisly task to be sure.

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Having been a stay-at-home dad for the past 6 years, I’m would like to do literally anything else if i had the chance :smiley:

Indeed. I remember taking Dr. Waldock’s crash investigation courses at ERAU - grisly is right on. The part where we went over different types of fractures and what it meant was pretty eye opening. They have a crash lab out there on the campus with various wrecks arranged as they actually appeared. Evidently one year someone went out and put a rack of ribs from a cattle or something in one of the cockpits as a nice discovery for the next crash lab class… I like their style…

If I hadn’t have lost most of the sight in one eye, I would definitely be flying for a living.

However, as I had no real control over that, I guess I’d have stayed on after my Masters and become a (slightly) crusty academic.

I wanted to be a pilot my whole life. I was NROTC when they discovered I was Red-Green color deficient. The common term is “color blind”, inaccurate. I can see colors. However, certain shades of Red and Green look the same to me. If running lights were Blue and Yellow, I’d have no problem.

Pilot and all the other Unrestricted Line careers–ship driving…(“can’t tell from his running lights if he’s coming right at us or not”)…and nuke submariner (“That gauge is in the red? I thought that was green…that explains the meltdown alarm”) were closed to me.

So instead I want into the Restricted Line as a Naval Intelligence Officer (not an oxymoron). It was the greatest thing that ever happened. I had an exciting, wonderful 28 year career, all over the world. It showed me a side reality that most people never see–admittedly a very ugly side–but often fascinating beyond belief. (…and no, I don’t know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, who “really” shot JFK, or what happened to the flying saucer that crashed in Roswell in 1947)

But the question is what if I didn’t do X what do I think I’d be doing?

I be “pushing up daisies”…“taking the long dirt nap”…I’d almost certainly be dead. If I had become a naval aviator as planned, I most likely would have been killed in an aviation accident…based on my FSX log book…yeah…I’d be dead. :sunglasses: