Aviators' Thoughts

My job search and business aviation as seen on AviationWeek

Lost “Civil”ization

with 4 comments

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to admire a painting by Normal Rockwell. He had an amazing ability to paint simple yet meaningful moments in America. One of these paintings, called “Freedom of Speech”  clearly shows a man about to speak at a public gathering with an opposing opinion. While others look at him, there is still an air of respect in this “town hall” meeting. That was in 1943. My, how things have changed.

Today in 2009, you would think we would have advanced in our civil discourse. Clearly this is not the case. Now we dont debate issues, we just decide that the person who shouts the loudest wins. In all forms of media this have never so more been true. We dont listen to each other any more, each side tries to outdo the other in increasing volumes of speech and in the end, nothing gets done. Even one on one, the levels of rudeness even outright hostility are reaching levels that would have been simply unacceptable a decade ago. I will give you a few examples…

I had friend recently spot an advertisement for a flying job in one of the larger employment web sites. He instantly recognized the posting since he had visited the employer before and had given them a resume. I urged him to call, since the positing said the job needed to be filled ASAP. I figured that since he had already been there personally he might have an advantage.  He called the cell number and the owner picked up. He stated his name and that he had seen the posting, he didnt get much farther since the owner HUNG UP ON HIM. No explanation, not even a rush off the phone. My friend had done NOTHING to provoke this. If you dont want to talk to someone theres always voicemail and of course if you dont have time to talk, tell them that you are busy and will call them later. When did it become acceptable just to hang up on someone. It’s not like he was a telemarketer. Just a guy looking for a job.

Example number two is from the message boards. A pilot who worked for a large corporation was obviously unhappy that the company had hired someone else. This poster made it a point to not only badmouth the Chief Pilot and the Company, but also to add the additional insult of making it personal by dragging in a tragic event that had happened in the Chief Pilots’ life. While I realize that many pilots are unhappy with their current situation, this level of personal attack is simply unacceptable.

As professionals, we pilots need to get back to the business of acting like true adults and not just a bunch of children. Especially online, many think that hiding behind an avatar gives them permission to say the absolutely nastiest things about each other and about employers. Is someone really going to want to hire you or put you in charge of a multi-million dollar aircraft with the lives of many on the line with an angry, disgruntled aviator? The answer to that question is obvious. Remember also there are laws against slander (verbal) and libel (written) you CAN be held accountable for what you say. If you think your avatar is going to protect you, think again. A simple court order to your ISP or message board owner WILL reveal your identity opening you up to expensive litigation.

What may fail to realize is that whatever you post can be seen by EVERYONE. Employers can and DO check online (especially these days) for your online reputation. A simple Google search of your name can easily pull up almost anything you have done or said on the internet. Even a pilot with the finest credentials can have his/her employment expectations undone by their negative postings. I know that many employers are now looking at specific message boards because some have gained a reputation for level of angry complaints against employers. Just the reputation you gain or the attitude to express on these boards can greatly reduce your chances of getting hired. While I am all in favor of not allowing unsafe or illegal activity to be allowed, my advice is that if you have a problem with an employer (current or prior), apart from the above mentioned, that you generally keep your comments to yourself. Aviation is a VERY VERY small world and you may find those complaints come back to haunt you. I always go by the credo that “positive attitudes attract” and that is never so true in the aviation world where a negative attitude can have an instant and devastating effect on your reputation and your career.

As technology evolves, we all need to be conscious of being respectful to each other. Before you send that text, tweet or Facebook update about your day,think a bit about the consequences of that may entail before you hit the SEND button. You will be very glad you did.


Written by tdwnds1

November 1, 2009 at 5:52 am

4 Responses

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  1. Well said Clint. “Build your reputation by helping other people build theirs.” Anthony J. D’Angelo

    Scott Wolcott

    November 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm

  2. Regarding being hung up on; is it possible that the owner is not a jerk, but since it was a cell phone had a bad connection? Did your friend retry the call?

    Cheers. 🙂


    November 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    • He did in fact try to call back. No answer. My friend got the point fairly quickly from what he has told me.


      November 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  3. Uh-oh, I guess my cartoons poking fun at the airlines (http://www.FlightcrewZoo.com) may keep me from getting hired as an airline pilot. Well, maybe dental school is best for me.

    Chris Manno

    January 24, 2010 at 5:48 am

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