Napier man Scott Fitzgerald's CV was pretty simple.
He was a pilot. Twenty-two years in the aviation industry, most of them in the hot seat. First with Cathay Pacific, then Fiji Airways.
Then all of a sudden, he wasn't a pilot any more.
The worldwide airline industry hit a massive speedbump when Covid-19 arrived, and not even a man with Fitzgerald's experience could stick on the runway.
Jobless for the first time, suddenly the CV he was handing around seemed like a hindrance rather than a help.
Every employer looked at him and assumed his experience was in "quite a unique skill set", he said.
"I had a few knockbacks as nobody was prepared to take a gamble on a pilot."
Fitzgerald took his own gamble, applying for a role in the sales and brand management department at car dealer Euro City, Napier.
He said Euro City was the first and only company in Hawke's Bay to look at his CV with an open mind.
The Esk Hills resident was a Hong Kong-based pilot for Cathay Pacific for 14 years, before deciding to repatriate with his wife and daughter to New Zealand in August last year.
Fitzgerald took a role as a captain aboard Fiji Airways' new A350 aircraft before the pandemic struck.
The 40-year-old says while unexpected, a mid-life career change is nothing to be ashamed of.
"I went from a seniority driven airline in Cathay Pacific, to an ex-pat contractor at Fiji Airways. When Covid hit, they laid off all ex-pats," he said.
"Now I sell everything from Audis to MGs."
The new car salesman said a career in aviation has actually given him a unique set of interchangeable skills.
"When you get into the left-hand seat as a captain, you're managing staff, project managing on a daily basis, overseeing employees," he said.
"To be successful in any job you need good time management, adaption and organisation, whether in aviation and or a car dealership.
"Flexibility is important as you can be in the middle of one task and be interrupted by something else – whether that's a new customer on the yard or air traffic control."
The former pilot said after working a two-week on, two-week off roster rotation for two decades, his family and himself saw the career change as an opportunity to reset.
"We stepped back and discussed what we wanted to do, where we wanted to be, looked at our spending and what we really needed to be happy in life," he said.
"Everyone needs to embrace the new normal and go with the changes, and as a family unit, we're all excited about the future.
"I'm just really lucky that I have a second chance at another career. But never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and do something different."
Fitzgerald said whether he will take to the skies again is still yet to be seen.
"I'll definitely do some private flying again as it's been a huge part of my life.
"I was at the top of my game in aviation. But now for me, aviation is probably closed," he said.