Fighter Pilots vs. Bomber Pilots

A while back, a friend mentioned his frustration with a coworker who seemed to be eternally breaking the site.  No matter how good things were, there was always just one more tweak he wanted to try, and in doing so, he’d inevitably take the site down.

I was reminded of the story my father, Jack Cahill, used to tell me.  One I’m sure any of you who met him will remember

There are two kinds of people in this world, fighter pilots and bomber pilots.  The bomber pilot likes to wrap himself up in a nice warm jacket, climb into the cockpit of the bomber with a nice cup of hot coffee in the cup holder, and take off gently, ease on up to altitude, then have a nice flat level flight into the target, where he drops the payload, then turns back for a slow trip back the the field.  A good day is an uneventful day.

On the other side of it, you have the fighter pilot, who lives to strap himself tight into the cockpit, pull on his gloves, and takeoff, going from the runway to near verticle as quickly as possible.  He can’t wait to get over the target and mix it up.  The best days are the ones where he limps back to the landing strip, his plane full of holes, the ammo gone, the fuel nearly gone, and with plenty of stories to tell.

There are some jobs that are utterly suited for the bomber pilot.  QA, maintenance engineer, etc…any place you need a steady hand that gets the job done every single time.  The Fighter pilot is the kind of person who’s probably best in a troubleshooting roll, or maybe something innovative.

Take a good look at your team: do you have fighter pilots who are doing the work of bomber pilots? How about the opposite?

How about you?  Which one are you?

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