The position of airline first officer can often be a thankless one in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. After all, first officers have to put in years of hard work and low pay in order to advance to their dream job as a captain or administrator. Indeed, first officers do a lot of work with little short term reward. However, first officers who think this way need to realize that the years they put into their work with the airline are a test of their patience. In various ways, airline first officers can develop patience and bide their time for the next chance at advancement.
One way in which an airline first officer can control their ambitions while going through the long process of advancement is to set short term goals for themselves. Airline first officers have a number of tasks that they need to do before every flight, including reviewing the flight plan and performing pre-flight checks. One short term goal by a first officer could be to take more time with these materials or perform a second check of pre-flight gauges. In this way, they can be assured that they have done their job to the fullest. These short term goals may not seem like much in the beginning but they are strong motivators for first officers and draw notice from supervisors and captains.
Another way which an airline first officers can develop the virtue of patience is to think of every flight as an opportunity to prove themselves. Almost every airline flight runs along a fairly routine protocol, which is developed in order to maintain the safety and security of each flight. First officers should follow these protocols to the final letter and ensure that their colleagues are also following protocol at every turn. Even the slightest deviation, whether it is a skipped step by a stewardess or an innocuous omission from a flight report, should be seen as an opportunity to build a reputation as a stickler for safety.
Finally, first officers with airlines in the United Kingdom often perform many of the administrative tasks that the airline captain needs to do before flight. In these ways, a first officer can often be a sounding board to a captain who needs advice or is looking to solve a problem mid-flight. First officers who acquit themselves well in safe situations, like pre-flight checks and flight planning, can gain the trust of their captain. In turn, a captain who has a trustworthy first officer is likely to recommend them for advancement.