Remembering Peter

Hi Joe,

I just finished reading the Jan/Feb issue of D.O.M. magazine. I was so impressed with Bill Brinkley’s article on Remembering Peter, I just had to write to you. What a well done and profound piece of journalism! Thanks to Bill for hitting the nail right on the head!

I retired as a chief of maintenance. I had been a director of aviation for a Fortune 300 company, and chief of maintenance, and when it was purchased by a Fortune 100 company I went over there in a transitional role as chief of maintenance. That transitional role turned into a 4 year stint of frustration, and I think I am the poster boy for Bill’s example of the super competent employee. I’m not saying I am super competent. I am not saying that I was incompetent as a director of aviation either. I don’t think I had reached my level of incompetence. But I can sure relate.

I studied Lawrence Peter’s book when I was going to college, getting my degree the hard way. I never forgot his lessons, and his hypothesis has stuck with me for years.

Bottom line: There is nothing wrong with going backwards. When I worked with Air New Zealand, a neighbor of mine was one of our pilots. He flew Viscounts. When the company purchased 737’s he declined to upgrade. I asked him why. He said, I’m happy flying the Viscount. I can’t keep up with the 737! I truly admired his honesty and professionalism. Thank you Captain Dave Barr!

I chose to go backwards. I only needed a few years to go to fill in for retirement, and didn’t see any merit in relocating for 4 years and then moving again after I retired. I was a good chief of maintenance. I totally did not mind going back to maintenance after running a department. Maintenance has always been my passion. I settled in happily. I just wanted to be left alone to practice my craft. The rest of the story, well you can imagine how it went.

Thanks for printing this excellent article. Thanks Bill for writing it! I wish corporations would grow a brain. I worked for one that had a brain, and empowered people to excel, so I know it’s achievable.

Cheers and keep up the good work.

John W. Gibson

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