Steve Vizcacha phoned to ask me the same question he asked before, this time telling me first the answer he wanted to hear. I told the truth. He told me that if I had had a particular requirement he would hire me right now. He said those words. There was a simple way I could achieve that requirement. I could lie.
I know a lot of people in my position would have done it. It felt as though he expected it. It would have been only a slight exaggeration of my qualifications. I could have claimed that a certain number of flights I did in multi-engined airplanes were with me in charge of the airplane instead of someone else. No one would have checked. There would have been no difference to the flight. The other person didn't help me fly. He just owned the airplane and had the insurance in his name. But he was legally in charge of the flight. After ONE WEEK on the job my real qualifications would have exceeded the claimed ones, but I missed the cutoff for hiring. His insurance comapny would never even have known.
I know it's done all the time. People get jobs at companies with strict minima and we look at one another knowing that there is no way they meet the minima, and they're not sleeping with the boss either. There are amusing stories of people who claim they have flown a particular type, in order to get a job, and once in the airplane it becomes evident that they haven't flown it. Sometimes the company just keeps them, because they have invested the ground training and one day of flying, and don't want to start again with another candidate who may have told the same lies.
I can put up with all that. What really gets me down is that employers probably assume I am lying too, so the time I have really accumulated is being discounted. I have never given anyone a resumé that listed even a part of an hour more than I have actually logged. I tell the truth and I round down to the nearest hour. It's a very sad industry that makes me wonder if this is a career-damaging error.
There's a triumphant postscript to this story. I e-mailed Steve to thank him for considering me, and I used the words "I could have lied to you, but a pilot who lies about time might lie about doing the job properly, too. At least that's how I'm consoling myself." He e-mailed back to say that the pilot he hired DID lie, and that the client checked his logbooks and caught the lie. Seldom does one receive such swift divine reassurance. The path of truth leads me where I want to go.