“This position will require extensive international travel.”
Job ads containing this statement were the ones most applicants preferred.
Hey, I know this because this was exactly the kind of job I used to go for.
For almost 30 years, my jobs would invariably involve ‘extensive international travel’ and I loved them for that.
There I was, barely in my thirties, jetting around the world in business class, staying at 5-star properties in Jakarta, Indonesia or Houston, Texas and occasionally generating some business in the process.
In those golden days of yore, I only had to worry about making connections and being picked up at the airport. I never even thought about airline crashes (I still don’t) and I never for a moment thought my pilot would deliberately fly his plane into the ground—or the big briny. You’re kidding, right?
I can recall just a handful of flights when we had some sort of technical problem (engine failure, autopilot down, go-around, etc.), the memories of which I still treasure. The captain would calmly announce the unexpected glitch and we passengers would hit the alcohol supply hard. (Some uncouth newbies would clap hands when we finally landed, while the business-class types—me included—would scoff at their lack of poise.)
I suspect a ‘Positions Wanted’ ad today will not emphasize the international-travel component at all. Here’s why:
- Companies have since introduced travel policies whereby only VPs and assorted royalty get to travel in business class.
- On top of that, news headlines have shown that you might end up with a demented pilot (either German or Malaysian) who’ll commit suicide by crashing his plane—whoa, your plane—into a ravine or the Indian Ocean.
In the first case, your international travel is now guaranteed to occur in a crowded coach cabin—planes are always 99.9 percent full; yield management systems have seen to that. Curiously, reservations systems will always surround you with noisy children and Neanderthals who use seatbacks as weapons of mass destruction.
In the second case, you now need to take a quick peek into the cockpit to see if the skipper appears deranged, suicidal or is wearing a kamikaze bandanna. Needless to say, this is pretty stressful and will quickly kill the residual lure of international travel.
The reduced amount of travel I do nowadays takes place in seats that would have been uncomfortable to me when I was 16. Airports are no longer glamorous and glittering but drab and overcrowded. Several Middle-Eastern bad actors have made sure security protocols have become more and more invasive and time-consuming over the years.
Folks, who needs this crap? I’m treasuring my memories of flying in aviation dinosaurs (Boeing 707s, Douglas DC8s and -10s—and even early-model Boeing 747s) for thousands of hours.
Millennials are most welcome to take the baton from me.