I have decided to leave the job I’ve been in for the last 3.5 years. It’s a long story. The reason I gave my boss is that I am simply uncomfortable with the night flying we do; it is a level of risk higher than I’m willing to take at this stage of my life. And this is true. There's more to it than that, as you might suspect, but the basic premise is true enough. And good enough. This has caused the boss no small amount of concern. If it’s too much risk for me, then he has to legitimately ask if it’s more risk than he should be taking? However, that’s something I cannot answer.
I told him that I’d try to find a suitable replacement. I put an ad online for a pilot, with some very narrow requirements. Boom! Right away I got over 30 resumes. Most were well-qualified, but some didn’t even come close. I’ve got a handful of really good candidates, guys who could step in and take over for me without missing a beat, kind of like Dick Sargent did for Dick York on TV’s “Bewitched” back in the 1960’s. Or, if you’re not quite as old as I am, like Will Ferrell will do for Steve Carell on “The Office” soon.
It is distressing to me to see that many helicopter pilots have no earthly idea of how to compose a cover letter and resume. One young pilot sent me a letter that began, “Dear Sir, I am your next loader and/or pilot.” Loader, as in "chemical loader of a cropdusting aircraft." And I thought to myself, “This is a COMPUTER-GENERATED LETTER! Are you SO lazy that you couldn’t cursor up and delete 'loader and/or' from that sentence? We are not a crop-dusting outfit!” Other pilot’s resumes and letters were filled with spelling errors –an instant turn-off.
I put in the ad that I wanted the applicant to have a minimum of 300 hours of flight time experience specifically in the Bell 206, the type of helicopter we fly. The boss wants someone who is intimately familiar with the model. Yet I got some resumes in which the pilot appeared to have no 206 time at all. I emailed one guy back and asked him about this. He quickly responded that he had x-number of hours in the 206, but he did not explain why this experience was not reflected in his resume. Again I wondered, “Are these computer-generated resumes THAT hard to change?” If I have to search through your resume to find out if you’re even qualified for the job your resume gets tossed. If I were submitting my own resume for a job that had specific requirements, I’d make damn sure that the recipient could see at a glance that I had what he/she wanted.
Is it that hard? Apparently. Or maybe helicopter pilots are just stupid.
I’m almost sorry that I agreed to find my replacement. I had planned on spending these last two weeks getting drunk and watching porn, but...as usual...it's not working out that way. It’s turning into more of a chore than I thought it would be. But I want to leave my boss with a good pilot, someone who’ll be happier in the job than I was. And maybe better. Certainly someone more comfortable in the job.
Ironically, even before my time is up here at this company, other fairly attractive flying job offers have been popping up. They aren't full-time gigs (that’s not going to happen again), just jobs I can do part-time…or not, as I choose. It’s funny, I’m trying to get OUT of flying helicopters for a living, but this industry just won’t let go. My first attempt at divorcing myself from helicopters occurred back in 2001 when I left PHI. Three jobs later, I’m telling myself that this one really, really, really is my last flying job. But deep down I know it probably will not be.
I’m afraid I might have to change the title of this blog back to “Helicopter Pilot,” for it seems that is what I am forever stuck being and doing. Ain't that something? I'd call the blog "Life's Funny Like That" but I do believe that one's already taken.