Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Aviation Workday

The course I am taking is not aviation-specific; it's an instructional methods course. It is normally taught to new faculty at the local vocational college, but for some reason it has been offered to the aviation community this year. And we are baffling our instructors.

The first day, everyone registered was present, seated and ready to start at least fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time of the class. Our instructors said they'd never seen anything like it. After a trivial duration of lessons, they gave us a twenty minute break and then told us we'd have an hour lunch break by noon. At that point we asked. "Could we have a half hour lunch break, and then take half an hour off the end of the day?" They countered with an offer of forty-five minutes for lunch, which we accepted.

The second day we were still all ready to start, and they once again praised us so much that I'm wondering if I should be late tomorrow. Then, having overheard our conversations, an instructor asked if some of us had had to go to work after the class. Well yes. Most of us did. And a good number had been already working that morning. They gibbered in amazment that anyone would start work at six and then go back to work when the class ended in the afternoon. Now it becomes clear to me why the roads are busier at four in the afternoon than at six or seven. Normal people really do consider three-thirty or four a reasonable hour to knock off work for the day. In aviation, if someone says the staff meeting is at seven-thirty, you ask, "a.m. or p.m.?"

Before we broke into two groups for the presentations, they explained the time limits for set-up, presentation and debrief. We did the math and determined that our group should complete the tasks in five hours. They refused our request to skip or further shorten lunch, so we were done in a little under five hours, plus the lunch break. The other group was done even faster. The facilitators had no plan for a group that kept to the schedule, and just let us all go back to our jobs early. Except they called it "going home."

And now I'm back from work and it's time to do my homework.


Anonymous said...

Resist the urge to turn up late. You have a badger to impress.

Anonymous said...

Is this true? That some people work after 4pm? Good grief

Anonymous said...

I assume someone has pointed out to the instructors that you do work in the transportation industry, where keeping schedules is a deeply ingrained part of the job. As for going [back] to work after class, it might be harder to explain the phenomenon where many people work long hours for perhaps substandard pay because they like to fly airplanes -- and can easily lose the chance to get paid for it if they don't do it with dedication.

Lost Av8r said...

Airlines have schedules?