We’ve all been there: questioning ourselves, our jobs and our lives. There have been days when I felt like I was wearing a black tuxedo and a brown pair of shoes. Whatever I was doing did not seem quite right. If that has also been the case for you at some point in your life, then welcome to my world.
As helicopter maintenance professionals, I believe we have one of the most wonderful, satisfying and stressful jobs in existence. How many times do we hear of helicopter missions that were used to save lives or perform a critical evacuation that saved a life or lives? How many other professionals in different occupations are held as accountable for their actions and work on a daily basis as we are? How many professionals can be held accountable years down the road for an incident or accident that might have resulted in serious injury or even death? There are some to be sure, but we deal with this possibility every time a helicopter has had maintenance performed on it and is returned to flight status.
Make no mistake — regardless of whether you are an A&P mechanic or an AME (or whatever your title is), we should be proud of what we do. But how do we define or differentiate what we do as compared to who we are? If we had to describe our jobs, would that describe who we are as people also? I can think of a few people who define themselves by their job descriptions. I would like to offer a slightly different point of view.
“What we do for a living is what we are paid for. Who we are is what we were made for.”
Please make no mistake here — there is a huge difference. What we are paid for makes us helicopter maintenance professionals. As to what we were made for, that entails more than our jobs, although that is certainly a part of it. Humans are extremely complex beings. If we were to ask ourselves the following questions, how would we answer?
• With all that goes in my life, can I check all that is not work related at the door when I arrive at my place of work?
• If I am married, am I everything my spouse expects of me?
• If I have children, do they think I am a good parent to them?
• Do I do my job satisfactorily, or do I think outside the box and do more than is expected?
• Am I a team player or do I work best alone?
• Do I look, talk and act as a professional?
• Am I considered the go-to person when a certain situation presents itself?
The questions can go on but I think you get the point. Our jobs are just a piece of what we were made for. The vast majority of us are much more than what we do at our place of employment. I would hope that the same majority has professions rather than jobs, and that we are passionate about those professions.
On those days when we get a bit lost and have questions about ourselves and our abilities, and we find ourselves in that strange combination of wearing a black tuxedo and a brown pair of shoes, rest assured that we are not alone. We also need to understand that there is more to us than meets the eye. How we want to be seen and thought of is up to us in all we are and what we do.
The acronym T.H.I.N.K. is applicable not only on the job, but in our daily lives also.
T - Is it true?
H - Is it helpful?
I - Is it insightful?
N - Is it necessary?
K - Is it kind?
These are some thoughts to ponder when we consider what we were made for. As we get ready to welcome the year 2015, I thank all of our readers and advertisers for your continued support, and wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
R Fred Polak | Editor in Chief