Just A Regular Guy
Ray Gibbons

SINCE I left office as FacRep I have had the luxury of just being a regular guy. No meetings, pages, hours on the phone, etc. Just basic air traffic control at good ol' O'Hare TRACON. My return to the boards has been most enjoyable. I missed the lively banter and camaraderie more than I thought. Along with my rejuvenation comes the opportunity to view our world from within.

It's a pretty funny world, this FAA, a mirror of society where history so often repeats itself. A sick melancholy world where intelligent people refuse to learn from past mistakes or admit wrongdoing. I don't know why but our agency just can't seem to help itself.

Here we are happily vectoring along the path of life. Delays are down, errors are down, operations are up, profits are up (just check the airlines balance sheets at the year's end), the users are happy.

Life is good. People are happy. Ob-viously too happy. "We can't have this", says management. Happiness breeds complacency. Too much fun, too much pumping and banging. It's time to tighten the screws. Hit 'em where it hurts.

Nationally, seize the moment. Govern-ment shutdown? Perfect. Disregard all those silly agreements with and commitments made to our partner Do It My Way (Happy 80th Blue Eyes). We can always apologize. They'll come back. They always do.

Oh yeah, tell those crybabies at the understaffed facilities we want to meet. As much as we agree that pay demo worked and we have the numbers to prove it, we just can't afford to do it. And even if we had the money we don't have the authority. You believe us don't you? It's easier to say safety was never compromised when the computer flops. Even if the cost benefit outweighs the cost, we find its easier to justify millions of dollars in overtime as unanticipated rather than lack of foresight.

Regionally, rotate the hierarchy. Change the names to protect the guilty. Swing your partner round and round.

Locally, force in a new deputy. Things are going too well there. You may not know him. I don't, but he knows you. Get out the old tricks. You know, build a database. Track overtime, sick leave, time on position, all that good stuff. Ignore the results. Throw away those user surveys, they're too happy. Spool up the QA department. Don't look to reward for service above and beyond, find what was done wrong, damnit. Penetrate from the outside. Familiarity breeds contempt you know. Get that FacRep busy. (note: If you haven't noticed, John's been very busy lately. He's busting his ass for you. I don't expect you to agree with everything he's doing but he deserves your gratitude. He certainly has mine.)

Lock the door and don't let anyone leave. It's only ten months til we move into our new $100 million building, regardless of how short-staffed we will be. In the event the commissioning slips make sure we have our ducks in a row so that blame is placed elsewhere. And on and on.

Why must we repeat this cycle? Life can be so good and then along comes the grinch. Pessimistic and negative? Perhaps. Accurate? You be the judge.

Should I worry?
Nah, I'm just a regular guy.

BACK To Index Next