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Dreaming of flying when grounded: occupational identity and occupational fantasies of Furloughed airline pilots

Dreaming of flying when grounded: occupational identity and occupational fantasies of Furloughed airline pilots
Dreaming of flying when grounded: occupational identity and occupational fantasies of Furloughed airline pilots
This article analyses the effects of job loss on the occupational identities of a group of United States pilots, laid off (or ‘furloughed’) twice by their employer in the decade following 9/11. Using a narrative methodology, the paper examines how the childhood dream of flying, referred to as the Phaëthon dream, serves as an identity anchor that sustained their occupational identities. When the circumstances of the aviation industry (restructuring, outsourcing, and downsizing) led to extensive lay‐offs, this identity anchor functioned in two contrasting ways. Some pilots moved on to retrain and start new careers, without abandoning their occupational identities or relinquishing the dream of flying. Another group of pilots, however, were stuck in occupational limbo waiting to be recalled by their employer, unwilling to forsake this dream and refusing to contemplate a move that would decisively take them out of their pilot seats. The paper's contribution lies in theorizing how a dream originating in childhood, linked to a long‐standing archetype of flying and subsequently hardened into a shared occupational fantasy, acts as an identity anchor and how this shapes responses to the trauma of job loss. The paper concludes by linking the Phaëthon dream to its mythological counterpart in order to highlight its enduring, shared, and unconscious character.
0022-2380
926-951
Fraher, Amy L.
5c2ad136-717b-43b1-be85-c7a970f85116
Gabriel, Yiannis
4a72c527-12b0-4cab-b43f-161c8b15e878
Fraher, Amy L.
5c2ad136-717b-43b1-be85-c7a970f85116
Gabriel, Yiannis
4a72c527-12b0-4cab-b43f-161c8b15e878

Fraher, Amy L. and Gabriel, Yiannis (2014) Dreaming of flying when grounded: occupational identity and occupational fantasies of Furloughed airline pilots. Journal of Management Studies, 51 (6), 926-951. (doi:10.1111/joms.12081).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article analyses the effects of job loss on the occupational identities of a group of United States pilots, laid off (or ‘furloughed’) twice by their employer in the decade following 9/11. Using a narrative methodology, the paper examines how the childhood dream of flying, referred to as the Phaëthon dream, serves as an identity anchor that sustained their occupational identities. When the circumstances of the aviation industry (restructuring, outsourcing, and downsizing) led to extensive lay‐offs, this identity anchor functioned in two contrasting ways. Some pilots moved on to retrain and start new careers, without abandoning their occupational identities or relinquishing the dream of flying. Another group of pilots, however, were stuck in occupational limbo waiting to be recalled by their employer, unwilling to forsake this dream and refusing to contemplate a move that would decisively take them out of their pilot seats. The paper's contribution lies in theorizing how a dream originating in childhood, linked to a long‐standing archetype of flying and subsequently hardened into a shared occupational fantasy, acts as an identity anchor and how this shapes responses to the trauma of job loss. The paper concludes by linking the Phaëthon dream to its mythological counterpart in order to highlight its enduring, shared, and unconscious character.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 27 January 2014
Published date: 1 September 2014

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428180
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428180
ISSN: 0022-2380
PURE UUID: e78d1f00-2f12-4f08-8626-47ca99aca7f2
ORCID for Amy L. Fraher: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2093-5164

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 30 Jan 2020 01:50

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