I fulfill my contractual obligation and ask to be taken off the schedule.
The main reason I bailed out was because of my other work. You know. The work that pays enough to live well and afford things like a helicopter. The books.
In September, I flew one week, took the next week off for vacation (covered elsewhere in these blogs), and flew the next week. Somewhere around the middle of that third week, I got a desperate e-mail from my editor. I’d gotten 2/3 of my Excel QuickProject Guide done before I started my three weeks away from home. She had the frightening news that if the book wasn’t printed by November, Barnes and Noble would cancel their order for it. Talk about a wake-up call. Or wake-up e-mail.
So although I really LIKE flying at the canyon, I had to remember where the money was coming from and stop neglecting it. The truth of the matter is, I made more money writing any ONE of the books I finished this summer than I did for the whole summer as a pilot.
What’s odd about THAT (to me, anyway) is that flying a helicopter is a highly skilled task. Sure, anyone can be TAUGHT to do it, but it takes thousands of dollars worth of training to earn the necessary ratings and then at least 1,000 hours of flight time to get a real job doing it. That’s quite an investment in time and money. Contrast that to writing the computer books I write. Yeah, I spend time learning the software and sure, I have to buy hardware and software to outfit my office, but it doesn’t nearly approach the commitment I made when I decided to fly professionally. So I get more bang for the buck (or perhaps I should say buck for the bang?) when I write than when I fly.
But flying is a lot more fun.
The other reason I bailed out is the Jeckle & Hyde personality swap of one of Papillon’s middle managers. I used to think he was a good guy. But we had a little run-in when I thought he was being extremely unfair to me and he reported me to the big boss. The big boss and I had a chat. I explained my position and stuck to it. The big boss didn’t seem to think I was being outrageous. He probably didn’t think the middle boss was being outrageous either, though. Frankly, it was a case of two wrongs not making a right.
But what’s weird about it is the way the middle boss began treating me afterwards. It came to a head on my last day when he tried to pick a fight with me on the flight line. Wow. I don’t need any of THAT. Not for what I was being paid.
I had an exit interview with the big boss. That’s not what he’d call it, I’m sure. That’s a term from my corporate days, when a person had a final meeting with a boss or HR person to discuss things about the job. I told him what I thought about the job and the middle boss and all kinds of things. He listened. That’s all I wanted. He even took a few notes, which is more than I expected. I told him he could call me if he needed me and I thanked him for the opportunity of flying at the canyon. It had been a privilege, one I’ll miss. And then he thanked me, which made me feel really good.
So now I’m back in the real world of deadlines and phone calls and sitting on my butt in front of a computer all day long. I finished the delayed book yesterday, after only two more days of work. My editor is breathing a sigh of relief. I’ll write two articles I owe to InFormIT for their Web site. I’ll take care of all the bills I’ve neglected over the past month. I’ll do my taxes. (Hey, no comments. I do know it’s almost October.) I’ll sell my R22 and apply for a loan for the R44. I’ll start the next book on my schedule and knock it off in record time.
And next year, I’ll have a different summer job you can read about here.