3 Years in the Crane Business

August 27th is a bit of a personal anniversary as it were – it marks the day I got my start in the crane business. I was quite cynical about the whole thing when I started, thinking I would last my usual 6 months to a year in it before I failed out again, but somehow I have managed to make it a full 3 years now – 2.5 years with my former company and I have just completed 6 months with my new company.

So how are things going? Truth be told, not that great. After the “newness” wore off of this job, I’m about 90% as miserable as I was with my previous company. The upsides? My boss isn’t a verbally abusive tyrant and at least I’m back in my hometown with what few friends I have. In that light, am I better off than I was this time last year? Absolutely. Am I happy? No way.

I almost hate to admit it but I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be happy. It’s been so long it’s a foreign feeling to me. I feel so bad day in and day out. Sure, I have my bits of euphoria but that’s about it – nothing lasting. At the end of any of my fun little excursions I’m right back to where I was previously – miserable.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. Part of me thinks I should find a new industry but will that really be the answer to my woes? Realistically speaking probably not and especially when looking for a new industry involves another probably relocation, which I learned the first time around that’s a big mistake. Abilene is my home. I don’t want to leave it again. The other part thinks maybe eventually I’ll become numb to this whole thing and just quit caring. I also question the validity of that notion.

One way or another I feel trapped, and with the increased FDA regulations on the tobacco industry in the US, L&B just isn’t feasible. Unless the FDA reverses course and grants an exemption to the long drawn out approval process for premium cigars and premium pipe tobacco, the regulations are going to kill that industry in the US. We’ll still be able to get cigars but we’ll have to buy from overseas. It really sucks.

So the next question is, with the revised guidelines now vs. when I was younger, should I maybe consider an aviation career? At 31 years old, that might be very difficult to do with mandatory retirement at age 65. Zero flight time to 250 hours + all ratings takes about five months in an all-intensive training program, and then to even get in the door with an airline I’d have to log another 1,250 hours (the minimum requirement to get an airline job in the US is 1,500 flight hours). That puts me at about age 35 +/- before even getting in with a regional airline, and then about another 10 years at that level before moving up to a major or legacy carrier. By that point, I’m only looking at 20 years in the majors at most before mandatory retirement, all while having to work another job on top of flying because flight instructors and regional airline pilots don’t get paid worth a shit, all while having an incredibly huge debt from flight school (that shit ain’t cheap!). In other words, I’d likely be ass-broke for the next 15 years of my life at least, which presents its own challenges.

I just don’t know what the hell to do. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Natalie Cole once sang “I thought this time, this time we’re gonna make it; why I thought so I really don’t know…tell me lies and I’ll come running.” Well that’s pretty much how I feel right now. On what should be a celebratory day, it feels like I’m lamenting it instead.

And people wonder why I subscribe to the antinatalist viewpoint. Dr. David Benatar was right – it really is better never to exist. Then there’d be none of this BS to deal with. Alas, we do exist and many of us have an interest in continued existence so ceasing to exist once already in existence is also a harm. Again, a catch-22.

Well fuck.

EDIT: Apparently this is also my 500th post. Hah. Two milestones in one fell swoop. I only wish it would have been a happier one. Oh well.

2 thoughts on “3 Years in the Crane Business

  1. I feel your pain, and unfortunately am the last person anyone should listen to for advice. But I definitely feel like I understand your plight.

    For whatever it’s worth I think your cigar reviews are excellent. I don’t know anything about cigars, but I always enjoy reading your reviews anyway.


    • As far as the cigar industry that’s still up in the air. The FDA has not given any indication as to whether or not it will grant boutique manufacturers the exemption they seek. The approval process is just too expensive for the smaller companies.

      Alas, you know as well as I do big tobacco is all for the approvals. They can afford it.

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