Epistemic #48

I just wasn't made for these times.

There are a million articles about the “great resignation” out there already. This is another one. Kind of.

My whole career, people in my industry been conditioned to believe that you haven’t really arrived until you get a full-time (as in 40 hours) spot. At my previous airline, people would do cross-country transfers to establish a seniority date in their classification in order to be able to out in for permanent spots later (I did this twice, actually). Post-merger, we use our date of hire. Either way, the end run is the same: Full time.. then you work your way up to decent days off.

Sure, there’re always the outliers that pick odd days off to line up with whatever else they have going on, or people that work graveyard to avoid traffic, but the vast majority follow the same ladder.

Until recently.

We just bid our work schedules for the fall. We choose from available work schedules in seniority order. You can take anything you want if you can hold it. There is a mix of starting times, days off, and line values (how many hours/week you’re scheduled to work). The only exception is the junior man, who gets the last line left.

For this bid, the 2 junior most people in the station not only landed 40-hour lines—at a decent start time—but they also both got a “partial” (as in one of their days off is falls on a weekend. In this case, Friday/Saturday, and Sunday Monday).

I realize that this all sounds very cool and very normal, but it represents a seismic shift in the norms in my station. Put another way, it means literally everyone else passed these lines up, including people taking part-time lines voluntarily.

In short, a variant (sorry!) of the “great resignation” has come to my work environment. People aren’t leaving to go chase their dreams of being a writer or what have you, but they are deciding to prioritize time over money.

This and the “no one wants to work anymore” trope have dominated the larger conversation, but I think ultimately, the real story is much more anecdotal like this. Not everyone wants to upend their desk and drop kick a garbage can on their way out the door. Nor is everyone reenacting “Office Space”—some people just want to spend more time at home playing with their dog, yaknow?

And if you’re making enough money to do it, why not? As future of work discussions continue to be in the zeitgeist, it’ll interesting to see if this is an aberration or a permanent shift.

Have you experienced this at your company? If you are a solopreneur, have you shifted the way you spend your time (eg taking on fewer projects, etc.)


What It’s Like Onboard a Delta Flight Bringing Evacuees From Afghanistan to America

By Chris Sweigert for DeltaNews Hub

As the flight attendants and I chat in the rear galley, we recount the same story from 300 perspectives. Mothers of adorable newborn babies. Reverent grandchildren helping their grandparents. Dozens of smiling small children. Young couples on the cusp of starting a family. Many with familial connections in America. Some starting completely new.

Working for an airline. I often make the joke that I “facilitate life events.” On some level that’s true, of course; people dashing off to weddings, funerals, new jobs, new beginnings. It’s truly rewarding (that’s not a joke).

But every once in a while we get to do work that has a large impact and benefits humanity. Sometimes it’s keeping the global supply chain open, or delivering vaccines to all corners of the planet. And sometimes it’s helping people leave war-torn nations to start their new life. This article—and the related ones on the page— are quick glimpses into what this airlift has been like.


Dak Prescott’s Heal Turn

By Greg Bishop for Sports Illustrated

His thoughts spun in a thousand different directions. To Nathaniel, his father, who had to tell him his mom died in 2013, meaning Nat had delivered the worst possible news twice. To Tad, whose last promise to his dying mother was that he would care for his younger brothers, always; who had forgotten to message Jace to meet up that April and would be haunted by the text that slipped his mind. And to Jace, not only for the life they shared but for what had now become unfathomably clear—what they didn’t.

Even then, something unexpected happened. Deep into his worst 18 months ever—those miserable, universe-questioning, transformative months—Dak gleaned important wisdom that he would carry into the 2021 season. Just thinking about others, their pain, helped him to deal with his own.

There is a sure way to tell when an athlete is really hurt. It’s hard to describe, but they basically look as if they are trying to get away from themselves. Millions of us watched Dak Prescott try to do just that after suffering a horrific injury during a game.

I’m going to age myself here, but I’d put in on par with Joe Theisman’s, or Louisville’s Kevin Ware. Bodies just aren’t supposed to point in different directions like that.

But Prescott rolling around on the turf is just one page in a much larger story. It’s a story of resolve, overcoming things that would’ve ended most of us, and more. A bit of a long read, and worth every second.


Roadside America (phot Essay)

By John Margolies for The Atlantic

Does anything speak to the quintessential American experience quite like a road trip, waysides, or roadside attractions? I (mis)spent a lot of my early 20’s bombing around America when everyone else was at school. Wouldn’t trade those days for anything.


Weird & Wonderful Playlist 17

By Bruce McGuire, Jim Crist, and Jim Oliver

My friend Bruce and his buddies put these lists out semi-regularly. There’s always something I find revelatory. If you’re looking for new music or just something to shake up your office playlist, give this a whirl. The music’s great, and the blurbs they contribute to each track are fantastic. It’s the 2021 version of hanging out in your friend’s dorm room passing around music to make mixtapes with. Get in.


She Wrote The History of “Jeopardy!” Then She Changed It.

By Julia Jacobs for the New York Times

The “Jeopardy!” machinery is mostly intact and unchanged. But I think there is a great amount of sadness and fear among “Jeopardy!” fans and among the “Jeopardy!” staff that this whole episode with Mike Richards has damaged this universal appeal that it’s had for all these decades, that it was this totally neutral space that was not partisan. It was never flashy; it was never trying to get in the headlines or be the thing that you debated over dinner. And now it very much is, and it’s possible that when they do bring in a permanent host, people will talk about it a bunch at the beginning, and then it will just kind of settle back down to being the same old “Jeopardy!” But it’s possible that it’s lost that sheen of being unimpeachable.

Growing up, my mom and I would spend dinner watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Wheel was time for catching up about our days, etc. Jeopardy was a nightly death match between us.

I’ve been out of the house for decades now, but even now when I return home, it’s on the menu. So both of us felt the shock of Alex Trebek’s passing but also watched with disappointment as the Mike Richards saga took shape.

I’m still holding out hope that LeVar Burton gets the nod—and clinging to a dream that one day I’ll become the next Ken Jennings.


Two For The Road:

Don’t Call her Honey Boo Boo Anymore

This Lord Of The Rings Cast is also the cast list for Ted Lasso.

Thanks for being here,
Kevin—

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