Friday, June 1, 2012

Would you make the cut?

Before I begin I have to admit that I stole this idea from another blog. When I read it it really made me think about my job and how I work. I think it's important to constantly try to improve yourself and I know that there are people out there who read this blog and are currently studying to become mechanics. Read this, my take on it, and remember it while you are working.

I have worked for SWA for almost 16 years now. I see a lot of new guys come and I have seen a lot of new guys go (fired or transferred out). I think that SWA is a great place to work and I love the job. When I see people that I work with behave as if they don't care about the job or take advantage of the job it really bugs me. I have spoken to some mechanics and their attitude is "they can't make me do it so why should I go the extra mile?" I agree that the company can not force us to do things but my question is: why would you not?

The things I am talking about are getting your Engine Run Qualification and getting your Taxi Qualification and getting CAT III Qualified. We work in a Line MX environment. That means that we do all the maintenance on the plane. We work engines and avionics and EVERYTHING. Is it fair to other mechanics when you do not get those qualifications? When a guy does not have those qualifications then another guy has to go out and do your work for you. Run YOUR engine. Taxi YOUR plane. Sign off YOUR CAT III work. It makes no sense to me as a MECHANIC to have to be relying on others to complete my work for me. And it seems to me that when you were hired you said you would do ANYTHING to get the job. Which brings me to the subject: Would you make the cut?

Take a good look at your work performance in the past year. Be honest. Have you done everything that you could have? Have you been calling in sick every Friday? (Hot topic these days). Do you go out of your way to learn about how the plane works? (I bet you said you would during the interview). When another mechanic is out there working at 4am and you have been done for two hours but decided to wait out there on your plane before coming into the shop (sand bagging) are you "thinking outside of the box" like you said you do on your resume? Does being a "go getter" or "self starter" like is mentioned in the interviews mean that you go and get the easiest airplane to work on? How many times during the interview did you tell the HR guy that you were going to bitch and moan about what job you would be assigned on any given night?

It's been sixteen years and I guess the interview questions have changed. Today's interview must be something like this:

"Welcome please come and work for SWA, oh and don't bother trying or learning we have a handful of guys who will do your work for you."

I recently had a convo with a guy who was complaining about the work he was assigned. As the Lead left the room this guy (I'll call him "Yellow") called out over his shoulder "well, you better send someone over to run my engines for me." This, to me, meant that the Lead should not assign Yellow any work that involves running engines! At least that is what Yellow believes. So I asked Yellow how long he has been here (which dose not really matter) and why he does not have his engine run yet. He tells me that he did "all that" at his last job and is not "interested" in doing it here. I said "I bet that's not what you told them during the interview". He tried to blow it off and I called him a lazy sack and he went on his way.

We should all take a close look at ourselves. If we had to interview again today would we make the cut? If the company decided to re-interview all of us, who would they keep? Would they keep the guys who can't even look up things in the maintenance manual? Not likely. So why not learn?

If the company could (which of course they can't) and they re-interviewed, knowing what they know about your work ethic, would you be invited back? I can say that I'm not even sure I would be back in that case, but I know that at least half of the 50ish mechanics we have here in OAK would not be back if I were doing the selecting.

It's an interesting exercise to think about it.