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Hotdog Hiccup

By Tim Genc
June 25, 2021!

We were conducting pilot interviews in Chicago and, on this occasion, had a particularly large group. Interviews – especially bigger ones – normally spanned the entire day, so we would always feed the team and the candidates. To be different, instead of the standard heartless and boring boxed lunches, we always tried to make mealtime fun and original. Tuesdays were always tacos and, on other days, we usually seized the opportunity to introduce our guests to Chicago favorites, like Italian beef, Chicago-style thin crust or deep dish pizza, or Green River soda. It made for a more jovial and relaxing atmosphere and helped candidates relax.

On this particular occasion, we elected to introduce the group to proper Chicago-style hotdogs. For those who don’t know what that means, a Chicago-style hotdog is an all-beef steamed frank on a poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, bright green relish, diced onions, a few tomato wedges, a pickle spear, some sport peppers and a few dashes of celery salt. The law specifies absolutely NO ketchup. We talked it up and spoke about the history of the dish and, when the food showed up, everybody dove right in.

About five minutes into lunch, when the entire party was mouth deep in their hotdogs, one of the candidates approached myself and another one of the recruiting managers with a question. They asked if, offered a job opportunity, there would be a drug screen administered today. We replied that there would be. “There are poppy seeds on the buns,” they politely reminded us. “How will that affect the results?”

Oh … blankety-blank-blank-blank …

(For anyone not in the know, poppy seeds are reputed to produce a false positive for opiates in a drug screen … which is kind of a big deal.)

The next phone call – the one to our D.E.R. (Designated Employer Representative) – was going to be a fun one. Just having to relay the story was going to be an embarrassing and pride-swallowing adventure. I think I could actually hear them close their eyes, place their head in their hands and shake it from side to side when I regaled them with my tale of culinary woe. To make their life even worse, they weren’t directly sure of the answer and needed to make a few calls, which means, they would have to relay my story themselves to at least one other person.

To make what seemed like the longest ten minutes of my year a much shorter story, it all ended up being fine and we were told that it would not pose an issue. Everybody went back to their hotdogs, relieved, and with their own great story to tell people about the time an airline tried to sabotage their aviation career with a sausage.

Anyone who has spent any time in aviation has their own crazy and unique stories; we would love to hear them! If you have a tale to be told – your own unbelievable and/or memorable “so there I was …” story, please consider sharing it with FAPA so we can share it with the general aviation populace.

We appreciate your ideas and input. Please email your comments or questions about this article to: support@fapa.aero.

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