I never thought that playing adventure games would do me any good, but today I applied the Infocom skills of caching inventory, mapping the adventure area, and performing repetitive, occasionally ridiculous actions.
I started my Yellowknife job hunt by dropping into the Air Mongoose office. I knew that Steve Mongoose was out of town, so I asked to speak to Bill Mongoose. The receptionist -- I'll call her Mandy, because I'm going to be talking about her again -- told me politely that he was busy, and suggested that I try back later in the day.
The Ferret Airways chief pilot isn't even based in Yellowknife, so I know he's not here, so I chatted up the cargo attendants (none of whom is a pilot) to find the name of the base manager: Frank. I thank them, and continue to the Ferret check-in counter. "Good morning, is Frank around?" Frank is not around, but not only do the check-in clerks tell me where he is, but they consult the computer and tell me the flight number and time of his return tommorow.
I visit Mongoose again. Mandy says Bill is still busy. I keep coming back. On the fourth visit, I achieve a breakthrough. Mandy actually goes back into the office to check before declaring Bill busy. On subsequent visits she does the same check, but he's still "busy" by the end of the day. At five-thirty in the afternoon, I leave Mandy with a cheery "see you tomorrow." Just so she knows the game is not over yet.
If you think I'm being cynical, or made up the part that it took four visits to get her to even check on Bill, consider what happened at Air Nutria. I asked to speak to Steve, and the dispatchers looked at one another. "He's flying, isn't he?" One checks a roster. "Yes, he's flying, What is this in regards to?" This is part of the game, too. They know.
"I'm a pilot with <quite a lot more than they were expecting> hours and some experience on the <airplane they fly>, could you please tell me what time he is expected back?"
Another exchange of glances. A phone call. "He'll see you now. Just go up the stairs behind you and turn left." None of us even blinks. Two plus two has always been five. This is how the game is played. We all know the rules. In the end, it doesn't matter. I have too much experience to want to work on the ramp here for three years, but not enough experience for a direct-entry captain position. We observe the ritual, have the chat, exchange the handshakes, and my resume will be kept on file. This company is well-connected and it's quite possible that someone else will call them to ask if they know of any available first officers, so it's time well spent.
The game continues from company to company. Sometimes I win an audience with Steve. There's an unspoken agreement: they will continue to pretend I might get a job there as long as I pretend to believe where they say Steve is.
And then at the end of the day, I checked my e-mail and discovered that I am being considered for a job I didn't even know existed, with Raccoon Corp, right next door to home. Someone who knows me recommended me for the job without my applying. The job would be part time at first, so I would have to negotiate with my current employer to make it work, but I'm used to having multiple employers. I will definitely accept if the job is offered. It's ironic, but almost predictable, that I would get a job offer close to home, without trying, while far away knocking on doors. The universe has a good sense of humour.