Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Losing My Religion

This is one of several posts being put on the back burner until my days with the FAA are finished for fear of certain reprisals should this go live while I'm still employed. So much for freedom of speech.

If I had any illusions that I work for reasonable people, those illusions have proved to be a mirage. The title of this post is in reference to those who stumble their way through mediocre careers while sitting in judgment of people who do a job from which they ran (or as in the case with the supervisor at the center of my dispute)—decertified themselves when the going got tough.


This is about coming to the realization that truth is something which gets in the way of power and not something which necessarily wins out at the end of the day.

I made reference a few days ago to some troubles I was having at work as the result of a traffic situation and how it was handled. It was a simple sequencing problem for some Chicago arrivals and me trying to show my trainee how to go about rectifying the problem by enlisting the help of the supervisor. I made an assumption that the supervisor would work with me but instead, he chose to use the situation to flex his muscle and disregard my 26 years of experience in favor of his lack of common sense.

They haven't told me what I'm being charged with but I'm assuming it's insubordination of some sort. I questioned a bad plan from somebody who isn't known for his understanding of how to sequence aircraft and for that I'm in the wrong. It doesn't matter that my approach to the situation was better. All that matters is that the little fella had his feelings hurt and for that, I must pay.

My union has done a great job of going to bat for me and I've got all the support I could want from those who saw what happened but none of that matters if management isn't interested in the truth. And they're not.

Little man syndrome can be a difficult thing to overcome and I'm not just referring to the person who suffers the affliction.

The part of this which is most difficult to swallow is that I'm being advised to not fight it. If I do push back, management will come down even harder on me and who knows what that will result in. I've never in my career been in this situation. I've never had any disciplinary action brought against me and I've enjoyed the respect of my peers and supervisors my entire career.

The troubling part of all of this is that management knows that the supe I had my troubles with has a long history of terrible interpersonal skills and being unable to overcome his shortcomings. They've chosen to ignore the problems with the supervisor and instead, make me their focus. I'm naive when it comes to these things. I expect reasonable people to come to reasonable solutions but the FAA doesn't work that way.

I'll be disciplined while the real problem won't be addressed. My attitude will sour while the person responsible for the entire mess walks away with the blessings of management.

I used to take pride in the training I provided but I no longer feel that my efforts are appreciated. Training others in the art of air traffic control with live traffic is easily the most difficult job in this building when it's done right. You have to allow your trainee to go to the edge of their abilities before stepping in and it often creates for a stressful environment. Not everyone is cut out to train others and the list of those who do it well isn't a long one. It's quite likely the list will soon have one less name on it. That will be my decision.

How could I have been so naive for so long?

No comments: