It is inevitable. Like the autumn leaves falling off the tree. Like the changing of the seasons. Like the slow, but steady recession of my hairline… things change. It is our one constant in this universe. The youthful, energetic fresh commercial pilot who was so eager to start the day at 4:30 AM just to see what the day’s adventure would hold has been replaced, stealthily, I might add, with the fellow with the crows feet around the eyes, knees that complain when loading, and a heart that ponders 6:00 AM? Really? Already?
Nineteen years in the industry and I still love it like it’s new. Interesting thing is, like it or not, I am the old dog in the operation now. Deal with it. Fresh faces that await the spring thaw, not because they are staring at the bottom line and hoping for a strong season, but ready, willing and able to work their butts off in what must be considered the most challenging, but fun job on the planet are in the building.
Yup, I am referring to Jess. Former ice cream slinger, former office assistant, former dockhand. She was and is always so darn competent. It is like it had to happen. Written in the stars, if you will. The sparkle in the eyes. The way she always had the questions at the right time. Sorry to you Jess’s Mum. She was hooked from day one and has made herself a part of the team. You have lost her to an industry that consumes you wholly like no other, pays poorly, and causes a bi-annual migration. Commercial pilot Jess even went to the same school where I met my wife, future Chief Pilot, and mother of my babies. Confederation College continually pumps out some of the most well rounded pilots I have ever seen.
She came to us at fifteen and absolutely worked her tail off in the ice cream shop. A great attitude and the right work ethic paved the way for her migration out to the dock. The gas customers loved her and the line pilots found her way of doing things to be all right. I guess in the whole nature vs. nurture thing we win. She wins too?
Yeah Jess, to say that we are proud of you would be an understatement, but do you have to make me feel so darn old?