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Flying solo

Posted on 07/29/2010 by Barry Irwin

Most people look forward to the times when their boss is out of the office.  As the saying goes, "when the cat's away, the mice will play."  Often during these times, employees will use the time being unsupervised to catch up on their fantasy sports teams, post updates to social networking websites, and/or find any other excuse to do anything besides actual work.  However, what would happen if it was just you and your boss in your entire department, and you found out that your boss was unexpectedly forced to be off-work for over a month? I bet your reaction would be a little bit different. 

That exact situation happened to me about three weeks ago. I came into work one day to find out that my boss had to have unexpected surgery and that he would have to spend over a month recovering. All of this was during a particularly busy time of the year for the Operations Department at CAK.  A lot went through my mind at that point; everything from "I hope my boss will be alright" to "what responsibilities will I have to temporarily take over" to "what are the dates and times of all the meetings he had planned?"  After almost three weeks, all I have to say now is, "so far so good."  My boss's surgery was a success; he is recovering and should be back sometime in late August. As for running the Operations Department solo, things are going extremely well. I am getting help from my fellow co-workers in other departments and we are ensuring that the behind-the-scenes operations of CAK remain uninterrupted. 

This situation reminded me of my first airplane solo during my time at Kent State University.  One day, my flight instructor and I were flying around when he told me to land and taxi back to the parking area at the airport. I shut off the plane, he said that I was ready, and he hopped out. Next thing I knew, I was flying the airplane around the airport by myself practicing touch-and-go's. The emotions I felt during this experience ran the gamut: initial nervousness and anxiety later became confidence and contentment. I learned from that experience that my flight instructor would never have let me fly solo unless he had complete confidence in me.  Just as now, the fact that I am running Operations solo is a testament to the way airport management views my position in the organization. Flying solo isn't so bad when you have the support of those around you.

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