For the rest of this week, I will be attending a training course. It takes place at another airport, so this morning I drove over there, instead of to my regular airport. When I entered the classroom, the instructor indicated a stack of placecards with the names of the participants on them and asked me to find mine before taking a seat. I picked up the cards and leafed through them, seeing a few names I didn't recognize, a couple of my own colleagues, then "Steven Badger." His isn't a common name. And the next name was Bill Badger. Then Fiona Badger. And then they started arriving. Yes, I'm going to spend the next four days shut in a small room with most of the Badger Airlines management team, and some of their training pilots. This is the pilot-looking-for-a-job equivalent of a teenager getting assigned a highschool locker next to that of the totally hot captain of the senior volleyball team.
The course began with the usual getting-to-know-each-other exercises, so I now know the hobbies, pet peeves and life ambitions of these people. I felt like I was stalking them. During a discussion period in the morning, Steve commented on the poor background knowledge of some of the new-hire pilots at Badger. So the metaphorical teenager is now privy to the entire volleyball team discussing shortcomings in their sex lives. Tomorrow I am assigned to make a presentation in front of the group.
By the end of the week, Steve Badger will assuredly remember me. Yet it appears he already knew who I was. At lunch I suggested that he solve his ignorant pilot problem the way Air Canada does: by preceding hiring interviews with a written threshold knowledge test. Then he need only interview those candidates who demonstrate the required level of knowledge. He felt that such a screen would interfere with his ability to hire for personalities that fit into Badger. Perhaps he doesn't realize just how many pilots there are who would kill, or at least study mightily, to get into the company, and that scraping the lazy and ignorant off the bottom would affect his results positively. But he's the one running the airline. He said he has a good idea to begin with who is capable and who isn't, anyway, and then used my specific background as an example of someone who would clearly have no problem. I'd say I was astonished, but I'm not. Remember, two months ago I was astonished that I wasn't called for an interview. The truth is somewhere in between: my resume must have hung about in the pile of maybes long enough that he remembers my credentials. So I guess I did nearly get an interview. Now I have three days to demonstrate that I get along with his pilots. Oh yeah, and learn whatever it is that the course is about.
And I turned the radio on for maybe five minutes on the drive back and guess which song started playing? God does not lack a sense of humour.