No shit, there I was, a few months into a new job at my company, sitting at a work dinner in a beautiful Honolulu restaurant, with my boss, my boss’s boss, and some folks from my company’s Hawaii region. One of the Hawaii guys is a mostly-retired skydiver and current surf bum (when he’s not doing his day job) and we were sharing skydiver stories.
He mentioned that he’d met his wife when he was a tandem instructor, and I smiled knowingly and said “Ah, you were one of those tandem instructors, were ya?” He insisted that he wasn’t, and that his future wife had in fact made the first move, but by this point we’ve attracted the attention of the rest of the table.
And that, fair readers, is how I wound up introducing my VP to the term “Pussy Pass.”
Such potentially career-limiting moves beg the question: how do you deal with the fact that you’re a skydiver when you’re at your day job?
I’m a horrible liar, so I’ve never tried to keep the fact that I skydive a secret. But neither do I really broadcast it, either. My boss knows, and gets a kick out of sharing it with others, so I can’t exactly go through my day in stealth mode, but like most of us who’ve been around the sport for a spell, I tire of the same set of questions over and over again, so I’m reluctant to bring it up to new people unless I’m feeling particularly patient.
I have, however, used it to my advantage in the job search. First off, my skydiving friends were a phenomenal source of leads when I was looking to move to Northern California six years ago, and their help led to several good interviews. But it’s also fun to use skydiving as an interview example of calculated risk management. Corporations love that kind of stuff – they like to think they can build cultures that reward risk-taking. (Whether they can or not is another story, but the cynic in me says most fail miserably at that!).
More than anything, perhaps, skydiving gives me a good perspective on the work week, because no matter how frustrating or shitty the work week might get, I have a sport that allows me (in fact, forces me!) to leave it all behind.