Besides being a licenced pilot, what do I have in common with the actor Harrison Ford? In addition to being fabulously attractive and well regarded, of course.
When Harrison Ford was starting out in Hollywood he landed a number of bit parts like bellhop, cowboy, and suspect number two. Naturally he played each role to the best of his ability, putting his considerable talent towards making the audience believe he was indeed a bellhop, a cowboy or a suspicious individual. He wanted bigger roles, but they were not forthcoming. One studio executive apparently told Ford that he was delivering the lines he was given, and was well-suited to portraying a bellhop or a waiter, but that he lacked star quality.
"Check out Tony Curtis in HIS first role," the exec said. "He's a grocery clerk but you KNOW he's a movie star."
"I thought the point was you were supposed to think he was a grocery clerk", countered Ford, quite reasonably.
Let's just say the conversation didn't end with Ford getting a bigger part.
I'm in a similar position. Recently a customer said to me that it was clear that many of my colleagues were just time building in this job, but that I was a professional. I said thank you. And underneath I seethed the way Harrison Ford must have when he was told he made a good bellhop. Even my boss was taken aback at the discovery that I do not intend to spend the rest of my career in this job.
I hear things like this every time I mention the possibility of my career advancement. You're suited so well to it ... You're so good at it ... You put so much effort into it ... Don't you like it? ... Your talents would be wasted as a flying bus driver.
Well yes. This is my job and I do it well. Would anyone be served if I were to do otherwise? Perhaps I should act like I'm too good for this job, put on airline captain airs, and neglect those tasks that I can ignore without penalty. Of course not. I'll do this job well until the very last day I do it.
In an airline environment, everyone will see me as an airline pilot. Because I'm a professional and that's the way it's done. Harrison Ford eventually got tired of fighting for minor roles and took on a carpentry job to pay the bills. Some days I want to quit this job and go and work for a large airline doing anything. Honestly, I look at baggage handling jobs in Iqaluit and think, "what about that one?"
Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter on the set of Star Wars when he was asked to read Han Solo's lines as a stand in. Apparently he did it better than any of the 'real' actors they were considering, and was cast. You probably know how that worked out. My Star Wars will come.