Friday, May 20, 2005

Setting Priorities

Yesterday I was given a message that there were "two employment-related messages on the answering machine." No further details. I had the rest of the day to wonder who they were from, decide who I hoped they were from, and be generally excited and happy about my prospects. It's like holding a scratch and win ticket that's not yet scratched, or a Tim Horton's coffee cup with the rim still waiting to be unrolled. Pragmatically, I realize that it will most likely say "Sorry, Play Again" but until I do, it's Schrödinger's cat, with all manner of possibilities contained in its quantum waveform.

When I have to make a go/no-go decision for a flight, I first decide on the acceptable limits of visibility, ceiling, freezing level, and other conditions, and then I check the weather forecasts. That helps me turn what could otherwise be a tough decision into a mathematical true-false question. So while wildly speculating on what two companies were vying over my attention, I realized that I should know the ranked order of all the companies I wanted to work for. I don't yet. I can divide them into two tiers, one of which I may skip over if recent predictions are correct. But do I want to skip over part of the aviation experience? I'd like to fly a large jet, but I'd like to have had more experience than I already have at flying small turboprops. More things happen on such jobs: more emergencies, and things that could have been emergencies, so you learn things. Experience isn't measured purely in hours. I'd like to sit next to a captain who has a lot of experience, and I want my future first officers to do the same.

But even within one tier I don't know whether I'd prefer Aardvark, Badger or Ichneumon. They are all great companies and I'd be thrilled to bits to work for any of them. But what if I came home and the answering machine revealed that they all wanted to hire me? After I regained consciousness, I'd have a serious decision to make. There are different things I would get out of each job. Perhaps it would be better to work a season with Air Vizcacha and then get on with Ichneumon Flight Services. I could spend the next twenty-five years flying for Aardvark and feel myself a complete success. I still haven't decided.

But you probably want to know about the answering machine messages. One was from Frank Ferret, returning my call, and confirming that he had passed my resumé on to Steve Ferret. Another was from Steve at Yapok Airlines, who sounded genuinely confused as to why Mike from Opposum Airlines had told him to call me. Neither looks much like an immediate job opportunity, but if you keep trying, eventually you will win a free doughnut.

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