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Crew Scheduler at Southwest Airlines
How Air Force NCO Joseph Rogers landed at Southwest Airlines.
By Warren Duffie

Pilots are a special breed: driven, hard-charging and always ready to get into the cockpit. The trick is to keep them from exhausting themselves. That’s where Joseph Rogers comes in.jrogers-southwest

“When I was in the Air Force, I used to schedule pilots’ shifts,” says Rogers, a former technical sergeant. “It was a job that required a good amount of patience and diplomacy. My main goal was to keep them fresh and mission-ready.

“I’m lucky in that I still get to do that type of work,” Rogers says. “In fact, I’ve worked with at least 10 pilots I knew back in the Air Force.” 

On the Job

Rogers, 49, is a crew scheduler for Southwest Airlines. Based at the company’s Dallas, Texas, headquarters, he oversees any and all changes to flight schedules for the more than 6,000 pilots who fly for Southwest. Schedules could change for many reasons – illness, fatigue or flights running late or being re-routed.

Rogers’ schedule is three days on, followed by three days off. He works either from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. He starts each shift by reviewing scheduling changes that occurred the previous night and spends the day updating new schedule changes. 

In Uniform

In 1985 Rogers was going through life “wasting time.” He decided he needed to get his life in order, see the world and get an education.

After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Rogers completed schooling as an operations resources manager (1C0X2) at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. He served in England and Texas and spent most of his career scheduling pilots’ flights. 

The Transition

In 2005 Rogers hit the 20-year mark of his career. He decided he would leave the Air Force within three years and began preparing for his transition.

Rogers attended numerous transition classes and read about finding a civilian career. He also attended career fairs and spent hours job searching online.

“I knew I wanted to do work that was similar to what I did in the military,” he says. “One day I was on Southwest’s career website and saw a job listing for a baggage handler. I applied and then saw an opening for a crew scheduler. I applied, was called back for an interview and landed the job a month before I separated from the military.

“I love working for Southwest,” Rogers continues. “The work is interesting and I love that I could do what I did in the military. I took a small pay cut, but my retirement pay makes up for that. Plus, the perks are great. My family and I get to fly for free whenever we want. You can’t beat it.”

Rogers' Advice

Pay Calculator. To find out how much you would need to make as a civilian to match your military pay, visit gijobs.com/civilianpay
 

Plan your transition early. “Don’t get out cold turkey. Figure out where you want to live and what you want to do. Your transition is too important to leave to the last minute.”

Be patient. “It might take awhile to find your ideal job. Be open-minded. You might need to take another job to establish yourself until you find the job you really want.”  

How’d You Get That Job?

Roger attended numerous transition classes and read about finding a civilian career. He also attended career fairs and spent hours job searching online.

“One day I was on Southwest’s career website and saw a job listing for a baggage handler. I applied and then saw an opening for a crew scheduler. I applied, was called back for an interview and landed the job a month before I separated from the military.”

What Rogers Loves About His Job

  • The people
  • The fun atmosphere
  • My job always is interesting