US Airways did NOT Sully their reputation

I live a mere mile or two where the Miracle on the Hudson went down, literally, and can vividly recall what it felt like to commute on the NY Waterway ferries on sub-zero mornings with my bulky, wheeled laptop bag in tow on route to the World Financial Center via the crunchy, icy river. So I can only imagine what the experience was like for those poor souls balanced on the wing for dear life.

Apparently 1549 is now widely believed to be a lucky combo for those playing Win 4 Lotto. Well my friends, luck had nothing to do with it. What struck me most during the first few news reports was that Captain “Sully” Sullenberger had been flying with US Airways since 1980! 28 years with the same carrier is impressive enough but he actually has 40 years experience in total.

Aside from the obvious feel good factor of this story, I related those figures to my job search where experience increasingly feels like a liability and not an asset. With corporate org charts trending flatter, anyone who can spell manager qualifies for the title which I once coveted in the 90s – to wit, a recent interview:

The Good: After nearly 6 months of getting no hits on my resume, I went on an interview for a director-level job in a desirable neighborhood in the city.
The Bad: I would no longer be able to work from home.
The Ugly: A practically pubescent, young man with an uncanny resemblance to teen idol, Cody Linley was one of the interviewers.

Fine, I get it. I’m no longer 25 and I will have to get used to frequently interacting with those who are younger and more successful than me. However, I am growing weary of members of the under-30 set running around with bloated titles; in this case, it was Head of Marketing! During the course of the interview, he feverishly wrote down everything I said which made him seem more like an admin lackey than an executive. I was tempted to ask, “so would you be reporting to me?” but I resisted and played the game. In fact, my game face deserved an Oscar when I confessed I was no expert on SEO (Search Engine Optimization, oh wait, does my blog experience count?), and he replied, “Oh when I was fresh out of college and started at this place, I didn’t know much about it either but I like, totally learned here and stuff…”

The other interviewer was probably around 40 and I liked his professional tone and overall demeanor until he pompously declared, “I ran my first million dollar company from my dorm room!” Great, some kind of dotcom poser who’s probably 32 and not aging very favorably!

So I say all that to say, it was refreshing to see experience applauded on such a grand scale. While I’ve never flown with US Airways before, I certainly would be more inclined to do so now knowing they value experience in their employees. Now excuse me while I join one of Sully’s myriad, rabid Facebook fan groups…

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