Archive for June 7th, 2011

June 7th, 2011

Tango six-four on radar

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I have no idea what it’s like to work as an air traffic controller, other than what I’ve seen on the TV. It sometimes feels like I’m working in a control tower only the software is crappier. You get lots of thinks coming onto the radar screen & have to sort them all out before they crash into each other or someone dies. A busy late shift is like juggling all those little icons around the radar trying to prevent them bumping into each other.Sometimes you get a police unit to intercept all the icons before anything bad happens, other days they’re just floating around aimlessly. If you’re lucky the best you can get away with is that it just upsets a member of the public who has to wait much longer than they deserve, other times things get worse, they or their property get damaged, bad guys get away, or someone risks real bad stuff happening to them.

Either way, it’s me that ends up with the stress & guilt of not being able to sort out situations that need sorting.

So it’s always a downer when the internal machinations of the control room continue on a seemingly never-ending downward spiral to more stress & less joy. We used to have such fun in the control room, and that’s legitimate, good working relationship,  hard-working, sense of achievement type fun, not the lazy, fun is more important than what actually gets done type fun.

You could have a real hard shift but still be relaxed, chilled or laid back, and come out the other side with a sense of a job well done. Now it’s just stress, bitterness & backbiting.

Our conditions of service have been changed. Basically this means less pay for a harder job. We have a choice in the matter, of course, we can either agree to the new conditions and sign on the dotted line, or we can refuse to sign & get told to fuck off elsewhere for a job. Is that what they call a Hobson’s Choice? (I’m not a very literary man). As much as we all complain about the job, and in that regard I expect we are no different to an awful lot of other jobs out there, at the end of the day, we have a mortgage & families to look out for. So nobody I know has refused to sign the new contract & I feel like I’m selling my principles down the river because I can’t get twenty five grand a year elsewhere.

The stupid thing is, and I’ve said this many times before over the last 5 years’ blogging, I really like the nuts & bolts of what I do, providing a professional and helpful service to my officers and the public who deserve a decent service. It’s just all the ancillary bollocks surrounding the job which makes me long for rest days, annual leave, and sick days, in that order.

And I started this blog off meaning to say something totally different to what I ended up talking about.