Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

03 December 2008

Job Security

A lot of people - pilots included - only want to do the job for which they were hired. When I was at Petroleum Helicopters (for 13 years) I routinely heard other pilots say, "Hey, they hired me to fly, not answer the phone or make coffee." Or more annoyingly, "That's not in my job description." And this was long before the pilots were represented by a union.

The FAA dictated that our Operations Manual describe the duties and responsibilities of the various people in the organization, from the Director of Operations down to the Line Pilots. In the description of what we pilots do there was the line, "...or any other duty requested by the Chief Pilot," or words to that effect. Trouble is, some pilots ignore that admittedly vague last part.

Some of us would probably rather not be asked to do anything new or different. Maybe that was possible once. Now, the reality is that few of us have the luxury of a narrowly focused job description. The reality is that your employer can reasonably ask you do anything. You have a choice; you can do that of which you are asked, or you can quit. It's that simple. (Let's exclude those covered by union contracts that narrowly define and limit their duties.)

When I worked at the helicopter plant, money was continually tight. I knew it. Although we initially had a crew that came in weekly to clean, even that service was eventually cut. All of us emptied our own trash and refilled the copy machine and stuff. If you drank coffee you were expected to make coffee. If you took your trash to the big can and the big can was full, then you put a new bag in the bi can and took the full bag to the compactor.

When visitors would come to the plant, everybody pitched in to spruce the place up. I became the highest paid General Manager/Bathroom Cleaner in the Pensacola area. It reminded me that no matter what your qualifications are...no matter what your title is...no matter what you were hired to do, sometimes you've got to clean a bathroom once in a while. That's just life. You don't have to like it. Life doesn't care.

My current job title is "Corporate Pilot." However, I am and have already been a "go-fer," a truck driver/boat transporter, a cook, farm hand, mechanic, and probably a couple of things I've forgotten. Do I complain? Certainly not! I like my boss (who pays me very well) and I love my job which, at the end of the day is not very demanding.

And so this week finds me up at the boss's hunting camp, not as a pilot, but as a cook. Or more accurately, a cook's helper.

On nearly every weekend during hunting season, the boss invites friends, business associates, and guests to come up and hunt. We have a full-time staff. This year he had a party of six hunters scheduled for the first week in December, meaning there would be ten to twelve people to feed. But since the cook was unable to start just yet, the boss was in a bit of a bind. He asked if I would come up and help him cook. And so, just before sunrise on Monday I was on my way up to the airport to be up at the camp "as early as possible."

As soon as I got here I secured the helicopter - wouldn't need it again until Thursday or Friday. Then Johnny (one of the other employees) and I ran up to Selma on a grocery run. It's a good thing we took a pickup truck; we needed every bit of the room.

All through my career I've never objected to doing...whatever...was asked of me, above or below my pay grade. Sometimes you do our own job, and sometimes you help with the cooking even if you're not one. Monday night, the boss handled the steaks on the grill. Johnny and I did the side dishes. He did the salad; I did the potatoes, biscuits and rolls.

Fortunately, the real cook did show up yesterday around noon. I'm happy for that. I don't mind helping out (and still will), but it's always better to have those people who are really qualified do the job. I'm lucky in that I'm the only one in the company that can do mine. Talk about job security!


DAVID said...

Ahhh, the vague, 'anything I haven't thought of clause'. Gotta love it and gotta do what ya gotta do.

Gadsens! (Gasdens? Gatsens?) The grocery in Selma that has that great meat seasoning... yummm.

Other than that, ANY shopping in Selma has got to be a drag.

Still, it beats dragging yer rotor into the unemployment office!!!

Did ya'll make it to the game? Weather was dreary that morning as I recall.

"Helmet Head"
Just Glad To Have Survived

Bob Barbanes said...

Selma has a super Walmart now, which makes bulk shopping a breeze. When we patronize local shops we do that in Camden. Although...having said that...the Boss has this special super-secret steak rub that he won't tell us anything about. We're not sure where he gets it, or what's in it. But it makes some kick-ass steaks! Gadsden's, maybe? Heh- I'll have to ask him (pretending that I already know, of course).

As for the Alabama/Auburn game, the Saturday weather forecast for Tuscaloosa and all of that part of the state was really, really crappy (and the forecast turned out to be spot-on). Boss and I spoke early and he wisely - if unhappily - decided to drive. So I got to watch the game on TV.

Anonymous said...

Nice subject......MdeM

Bob said...

There is much to be said for job security and with your attitude, it's not a suprise that you have it.