Saturday, October 25, 2008

That's the Way to Make a Living

I might be at dinner with company clients and be asked something like, "Can you start at four-thirty tomorrow morning?" I have to quickly do duty time math and determine if that will be legal, considering that I need eight hours sleep.

It's not incredibly difficult to think, "four and a half minus eight is negative three and a half, plus twenty four is twenty and a half, so that's 20:30," and thus determine that I have to be in bed by 20:30. But remember that I was probably up at four the morning before the evening on which I was asked to make the calculations. And whenever you have to do calculations through midnight it's easy to make mistakes. But thanks to Dolly Parton & Co., there's an easier way.

The theme song "Working Nine to Five" describes an eight hour work day, but for me it provides the perfect guideline for the eight hours I need to sleep. I just say it to myself in my head as "Sleeping Nine to Five..." and then adjust each end by an hour or so to match what the client is asking for. In this case four thirty requires me to get up at four, an hour before five, so I have to be in bed an hour before nine, or eight p.m. I can smile sweetly at the client and say, "Certainly, as long as we're done here in time get me back to the hotel for seven thirty."

Those of you who have philosophical objections to reporting for work at four thirty in the morning may prefer to remain at your nine to five jobs.


dpierce said...

If you continue to solve problems of math and logic like this in your head, you risk developing your mental capacity and delaying Alzheimer's. You should avoid these inconveniences and get a nifty time calculator tool for your PDA.

(I usually hate resorting to whipping out my PDA for such things. But when I've crossed 8 time zones and my brain-fried self is about to fall into bed while still dressed, I just don't trust my brain to figure out my wake-up call.)

Anonymous said...

I have problems shifting my sleep-wake cycle too much. Did you develop that ability over time, or did you always have that?

Lord Hutton said...

My next 4.30 am start is to take M to the airport. Then I get to go back to bed. Wahey!

Anonymous said...

Money For Nothing

I don't know if I could do the reverse 9-5 hours. I've gotten up early to go flying ... but regularly switching between 5-9 and 9-5 for could get old.

But I'd be willing to try. Current work involves occasional sacrifice of sleep and current work is no where as near as much fun as flying.


Michael said...

I like that you guys do it legal. Not saying i dont, but dodgy australian bush flying companies leave a lot to be desired with duty limits.

my new job, in alice springs is all by the book, so im pretty stoked.


Aviatrix said...

There are places where the rules are made up by people who don't know what it's like in the bush, and sometimes they don't make a lot of sense. But duty time is one place where pilots should never take crap. Know the rules, record your duty times accurately, and don't let anyone push you into flying past your limits. Sure you can fly an airplane from A to B, even though you're a bit tired, but before you start any flight, ask yourself if you could lose an engine an hour before you were supposed to be landed, then crawl slowly on that one engine to where you were supposed to be, then land in 45 kt winds in the snow and do it right on less than adequate sleep. I almost had to do that yesterday. And yeah, I'll blog about it. When I catch up.