I walked into the interview with a great deal of confidence and enthusiasm. Flying airplanes was my one true passion in this life. This was my big chance to merge my occupation with my love. I would become an airline pilot.
“So you want to be an airline pilot?” the interviewer inquired.
“Yes, sir, more than anything else I have ever wanted,” I replied, realizing I sounded like an anxious adolescent.
“Well, great, welcome aboard,” the airline executive said.
“You mean I’m hired?!” I cheered.
“You bet, we’re glad to have you. Actually, we’ve had trouble finding good pilots to hire,” the exec explained. If I was surprised, it was overshadowed by my joy of reaching my dream.
“Let’s just go over a few points before you sign on the dotted line,” the company man chortled. “We’re going to send you to the world’s most renowned medical center. They’ll spend two days probing your body orifices, draining and analyzing your blood, and administering psychological exams. They’ll literally take you apart and put you back together. If they find any hint of current or future problems, you’re fired and can find your own ride home.”
“Gee, I think my health is OK,” I nervously choked out.
The manager went on, “Good, next we’ll evaluate your flying skills in an aircraft you’ve never been in before. “If we don’t like the way you perform, you’re fired,”
I was confident with my flying, but this guy was making me nervous.
He continued, “Next, if you’re still here, we’ll run you through our training program. If during any time in the next 10 years you decide to leave the company, you’ll have to reimburse us $20,000, or we’ll sue you. Also if you fail to measure up during training, you’re fired.”
The man who had just given me my dream job listed still more hurdles. “Each time, before we allow you near one of our multimillion dollar aircraft we’ll X-ray your flight bag and luggage, because we don’t trust you. Also we’ll ask you to pass through a magnetometer each time. If you fail to do so, you’ll be arrested and jailed.”
“When you’ve completed your flight, we’ll have you provide a urine sample, because we don’t trust you to not take drugs. Very soon, we plan to take a blood sample to look for more drugs. “Also if you ever fly with another crew member who may have used drugs or alcohol, you must report to us immediately. If you fail to notice that anyone has used these substances, you’ll be fired, have your license to fly revoked, and be fined $10,000.”
“Every six months, we want you to go back to the medical center for another exam. If they ever find a hint of a problem, your license to fly will be revoked and we’ll fire you. Anytime you see a medical person, you must tell us about it so we can see if you need to be grounded and terminated. Also, we need to examine your driving record, and you must tell us if you have even any minor infractions so we can remove you from the cockpit as soon as possible.”
“At any time, without notice, a special branch of the government will send one of its inspectors to ride in your aircraft. The inspector will demand to see your papers and license; if your papers are not in order, you’ll be removed, fined, terminated, and possibly jailed.”
“If at any time you make an error in judgment or an honest human mistake, you will be terminated, be fined tens of thousands of dollars, and be dragged through months of court proceedings. The government will make sure you never fly again for any airline.”
“You will be well out of town most holidays, weekends, and family events – half our pilots are always on the job at any point in time.
Smiling an evil smile now, the airline hirer went on. “Oh, and one last thing to cover. Occasionally, we in management fail to see a trend and screw up royally or the country’s economy falls flat on its face. If as a result of one of those events the corporation begins to lose money, you as an employee will be expected to make up the losses from your paycheck. Of course, management will not be held to the same standards.
Oh, and one last thing – if we negotiate pay and work rule concessions from you in the in exchange for a better pension plan, we probably won’t fund that pension plan agreement (unlike the management pension plan and golden parachutes) and will likely have yanked it away from you.”
“Now sign here,” he pointed, grinning as he handed me a pen.
I faked a sudden nosebleed. Holding my head back and pinching my nostrils, I hurried from his office. When I got to the hall, I began to run. I ran all the way to my car. I figured if I hurried I could still get to the county vocational school before 5:00 and enroll in the industrial welding career program.