Every Industry Has Its Truth.

How many of you out there are in the industry you want to be in, and are relative experts at what you do? 

OK, now how many of you have had to confront a set of the truths that make anyone who isn’t in your field paranoid?  I’m talking about the truths of any industry that make for great “10 Things Your Doctor/Pilot/Mechanic/Banker/Dentist Doesn’t Want You To Know” articles.  I’m talking about the practices, the events, the plans, the happenings which take place in the real world–the ones which you first approached and said, “Geesh, is it right for me to be doing this?”

It’s the car salesman selling off a known lemon to a hapless 16 year old kid.  It’s the banker who lends you loans you both know you’ll probably default on.  It’s the doctor who constantly orders up unneeded tests, and the politician who makes promises that no one believes (s)he’ll ever be able to keep.  It’s the server who tailors his/her service to a table or group of people they believe will tip more.  (Here’s a real shocker:  Sometimes they dread serving tables who are a particular race of people, because they are known not to tip well.)  I even read an article recently about how pilots would rather their passengers not have access to real-time weather data on their airshow monitors.  And we’ve all certainly heard of air traffic controllers falling asleep during the wee hours of the morning.

But why?  Why is it OK to do things at the expense of your customers which you would hate having done to you?

Well, it’s simple.  It all comes down to one of two things:  Cash, or convenience.  From a cash standpoint, anyone working a commission job has it in his own best interest to be more of a salesman and less of a watchdog.  And the reason ATCs sometimes fall asleep at night is because the overnight shift is unnatural for humans to work, and at many airports the government cannot justify paying two salaries for towers without much traffic (again, follow the money).  In the name of convenience, the pilot who doesn’t want his passengers to have a real-time weather overlay simply doesn’t want to deal with the inherent likelihood of his own passengers telling him how to navigate the weather when the screen becomes dotted with red storm cells.  It’s no different than that doctor who is forced to order unneeded tests because his patients have themselves convinced that they are instant experts thanks to the internet, and if he doesn’t order these tests, he’s liable to be sued.  The irony here is that pilots can make the worst passengers, and doctors can make the worst patients.

Every industry has found ways to do work, and prefers to be out of the watchful eye of those who know only a small part of what they are saying or doing.  I had a pilot bark at me from the airplane doorway once, “You know, Netjets likes to have a sticker on their planes to signify that they are secure.”  I had to tell him annoyedly, “I’ll put one on there…when I release the airplane.”  He forgot that he was on my schedule, not the other way around.

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It also fascinates me why someone’s appearance means so much in a profession.  Would you trust an obese doctor to help you deal with diabetes?  Would you trust a mechanic who drives a 12-year-old, beat up car?  Would you trust a dentist with yellow teeth and terrible breath?  Most likely, you wouldn’t.  But why wouldn’t you?  Without knowing a single thing about these people, do any of them show an inability or lack of knowledge to do their jobs?  Truthfully, there’s simply no way to know without making completely subjective inferences and guesses.  There’s an adage here about a book…something about a judge… and a cover…

The point is that, while the truth is not something which is always obvious, the obvious is not always true (write that down).  Everything happens for a reason–just follow the money and or complications to find out why.

So.  What are the ugly truths about your industry?  Maybe you have succumbed to them, or simply know of them happening?  Everyone knows that flight attendants can be pushy or bossy…but many fail to realize the amount of stupidity they have to put up with on a daily basis.  If I had to tell an indignant passenger for the 56th time that day, “Sir, your carry-on will not fit. We will have to stow it below,” I don’t know how patient I’d be with people, either, and that’s the truth.

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    • Federal Booby Inspector
    • September 30th, 2011

    Eloquently written u should submit these to a news paper sometimes they’ll put up nobody’s articles like urs. Then after a while u become a somebody

  1. Thanks, it’s always nice to have a vote of confidence. In fact, I think I’ll take you advice on that one. When I’m a somebody, you’ll be able to say you knew me when I was a nobody!

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