Today was a good day.
In Canada, each commercial flight operation is assigned a Transport Canada inspector, who will personally oversee the operation and conduct audits etc. Our former inspector got transferred to another department within Transport Canada, so today I met our new inspector and gave him a tour of our operation. He came to our flight department office and we talked for about an hour - he would ask questions about our operation and I'd tell him the answers. Stuff like "How do you track flight duty times" or "Show me how you flight plan a trip" or "Explain your maintenance system and arrangements to me" or "Show me your flight following system". He then randomly picked from all the flights we did in 2006 (so far) and we went over the records of the ones he picked, and I showed him that everything was complete and correct.
I was in high spirits after our meeting - apparently our operation is being conducted exactly how it should be, and he said he was very impressed. And last but not least, after a few months of being Acting Director of Flight Operations, he gave me a letter that allows me to remove "Acting" from the title, so that was really cool too.
I am incredibly fortunate to have the luxury of working for a company that has the resources and inclination to do things the right way in their flight department. We don't cut corners on anything, and we make sure every aspect of the operation is audit-worthy. Doing that isn't easy, nor is it cheap. It takes a *lot* of money and effort to keep everything together, but it really felt good to have our inspector give us kudos on our operation, and I know my boss considers the money well-spent. Oh yeah, having a top-notch, safe operation is in my own best interest anyway, seeing as how I fly the airplanes and all.
After that, I went to our parent company Christmas party, which was much fun. I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate some more. Then we had some games; each table of people had some supplies to build a styrofoam snowman, and 20 minutes to create something that would make Frosty himself melt with jealous rage. Our "Mardi Gras" snowman didn't win any awards but it was hella fun to make, even though I managed to get gold glitter glue all over my clothes, hands and face in the process.
Then we had a gift exchange, which was hilarious. It was the standard "the first person picks a gift from the pile and unwraps it. Then the second person can either take a gift from the pile or steal the gift that the first person got" and it was great watching senior managers get their presents taken by junior part-time employees. I was also really amused at the attempts that some people would go to in order to conceal their gifts so they couldn't be stolen. When my turn came, I worked every angle and got some good loot out of the deal, a nice leather suitcase and some houseware stuff that I'll actually use.
After the eating and playing and gifting, it was time to head home after a final speech by one of the owners. I'll remember this speech for quite a while.
"Life is short. And we work a lot. So let's make this a good place to work."
Amen to that.