Peter Mansbridge, a respected Canadian broadcaster, has just been awarded the Order of Canada. I wouldn't have remarked on this, or any other OC appointments were it not for how Peter got his start in broadcasting. Apparently at the age of 19 he was slinging bags for Transair, a small airline in northern Manitoba, and a CBC employee who heard his voice on the airport PA offered him a job at the radio station.
But why was he in Churchill working for a local airline? Most young people working in any capacity at a northern airline base are pilots or wannabe pilots. Is Peter Mansbridge a pilot? He probably wanted to be. The Canadian Encyclopedia says he flunked out of Navy pilot training. He wasn't even a customer service agent, he was a cargo handler, filling in on the PA for someone who was off sick. This anecdote suggests that he can recognize an engine failure without freaking out, but the same is probably true of many seasoned travellers.
I don't even know if that's true. It's more likely to be so than this version of the same story, which I found in an intership newsletter.
Mansbridge became instead an air force pilot until, after hearing his voice over the radio, someone hired him to open the CBC`s first post in Churchill, MB.Air Force/Navy ... pilot/flunked out ... radio/PA ... it's all the same, right?
Don't you wish you were looking for a job in 1975? I have heard so many stories of the seventies when people with minimal qualifications got jobs because they gave someone else a ride to work, or were delivering something, or doing something else almost entirely unrelated within sight of someone who worked there. The availability of good jobs in the seventies is why that generation thinks my generation are all slackers, and don't understand why we roll our eyes when they tell us how hard they worked to be where they are.
Not that I doubt Peter Mansbridge is good at his job. And I think he did work hard to be noticed. To be where he is, he not only has to do a good job of telling the news, but an exceptional job at politics and interpersonal relations. I would probably be at an airline if I had half his people skills. And he probably wouldn't be an officer of the Order of Canada if he were flying for Air Canada today.