Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Fence?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Peter Van Pelt, AAE, serves as KSA’s National Aviation Director. Peter has been involved in every aspect of the airport business and has experienced many firsts in the business as well. He has managed seven airports in his 21-year management career from the largest of large to the smallest of small. Peter has personally “been there, done that” and wondered if the grass was really greener on the other side of the fence.

Every airport manager asks himself this question every now and then, "Is this grass greener somewhere else?" They may also wonder if it's a whim, or a need for a professional change.

Most of us are too eager to move on – I know I was.  I was always searching for that next great challenge and opportunity (or maybe it was merely my ADD).  But what I’ve learned in my dotage looking through the rear-view mirror of time, is that things really weren’t so bad where I’d been.  So I now counsel my younger friends and those that I meet who are looking for a start – or a new positon in the industry, to ask themselves a few key questions before they take a leap of faith.  Here are my questions:
  • Are you being rewarded?
  • Are you being professionally challenged?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Is this a good place to live?
Many times when we’re dissatisfied it’s because of a situation that’s not going your way: whether it’s a relationship with a tenant, a board member, an elected official, etc.  You can’t run away from these situations.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the names may change, but the faces are always the same – no matter where you go, there’s always going to be that FBO, or community leader that’s going to have your number. 
Couple these problems with the thought that “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t." When you’re looking at a new job everyone has their best foot forward, including the community.  It takes a long time for true personalities to emerge.  And when they do, are you still going to be satisfied with the change you’ve made?
As a young airport manager, we sometimes fantasize about ourselves in another more perfect position. Frankly, most of us are in pretty good shape just where we are.
To contact Peter Van Pelt directly: