It seems that I cannot even quit a job properly. You might find this odd, since as everyone knows (and Matt will gladly testify), I’m a pretty good quitter. In fact, I can be a hell of a quitter!
There comes a time when you get to the end of the road at every job. I’m there now. My original plan was to be done with this one at the end of January. But then…you know how plans can change: 1) My boss announced that he’d be gone pretty much all the month of February; 2) My mechanic announced that we had some major maintenance to do on the ship and asked for my help. So I agreed to stay until the end of February. That was the date I told the boss he could take me off the payroll. I did allow that I’d help find my replacement, as well as help with flights on a “contract” or daily basis until someone could be hired.
It’s funny, but sometimes life really doesn’t care what you want. Best line I've ever heard: You want to hear God laugh? Tell him your plans.
Of course the work on the helicopter is taking longer than we expected. This means that I can’t fly with any of the prospective replacements. And I need to fly with them. For one thing, I want to make sure that whoever takes my place is a halfway decent pilot. Aside from that, when we do fly we go into some pretty…umm…strange places and there’s no guarantee that every helicopter pilot will think it’s cool.
So I was sitting in the boss’s office the other day, talking about the trip he just took in his new jet. (I should say here that the market for used business jets is horrible right now. Many are trading at 50% of what they were worth just two years ago. My boss got himself an awesome deal on one.) We were comfortable with each other - something that hasn't been true lately, especially in the days leading up to my "resignation." But it was like old times. Hey, I like the guy - I just don't want to work for him anymore.
However, in the course of our conversation, he asked if I’d stick around for a bit, since we have a couple of important flights in the helicopter planned in the next month or so, and he would prefer that I do the flying rather than some new guy who he hasn’t had a chance to get to know and trust. Like I dummy I said yes. And he asked if I would fly on the weekend of his wedding, which is in the middle of May. Again I said yes. Like a dummy. I’m trying to delicately extricate myself from this job, and it’s not working.
Typically it’s not like this. Typically, you put in your two-week notice and then - Thanks, it’s been great! - you leave. Or you go in, throw your ID card and keys down on the boss’s desk and say, “I quit!” and walk out. But that’s not how it’s working out for me. I’ve enjoyed this job, no doubt, but there are also very real reasons that I want to leave. But I cannot just say, “See ya!” and walk out. I’ve worked pretty closely with this guy for three and a half years. Nearly every time that helicopter has flown, he’s been in it, right there in the seat next to me. We may not be close friends (we are still boss and employee after all), but we’ve become close nonetheless. I feel a responsibility to leave him in good hands.
My mistake was in telling the boss that I wasn’t going to another job – only that I just wanted to stop doing this one. He’s not making it easy. He’s been offering alternative arrangements, most of which involve me not flying the helicopter so much. I tell him they are “worth thinking about” but honestly I’m just being polite. The reality is that psychologically I’ve already moved on.
Hopefully we’ll get the helicopter up and running either by the end of this week or the beginning of next. I’ll fly with some of the guys who’ve sent their resumes, and the boss will select one of them. For a short time, the new guy will have the benefit(?) of flying with me and seeing the way I do things. Hey, we all fly a little differently. There are a million right ways to fly.
I'm a competent enough pilot, I'll admit that, but I’m not saying my way is perfect or even the only way. It’s just the way my boss is used to. I am his first helicopter pilot. And believe me, I've worked very hard to convince the boss (in my own subtle way) that I am the best helicopter pilot in the world - past, present or future. I feel sorry for the poor bastard that takes my place, having to sit there while the boss glowers at him from the “copilot” seat, saying, “That’s not how BOB does it! Why aren’t you doing it the way BOB does it?” I mean, can you imagine? I can. In fact, if I were that guy, I imagine that I'd get to the point where I'd turn to the boss and say, "F@#% Bob! He's not your pilot anymore!"
So there you have it, I’m kind of stuck. In a way, I wish I did have something definite to go to. It would make things a lot easier. Quitting is an art, and it turns out I'm not much of an artist.