Sometimes a vocation is simply too strong of a pull to fight against – even if you’re already pursuing another full-time career.
Such is the fate of the Dutch monarch, King Willem-Alexander, who recently revealed that he has held a secret part-time job for 21 years. In a newspaper interview, the King explained how he has only just ended his career as a “guest pilot” on KLM’s fleet.
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The Guardian reports that King Willem-Alexander worked twice a month as a co-pilot, first on Martinair and then later via KLM. He told De Telegraaf that the hobby allows him to leave his royal duties on the ground and focus on something else for a while.
“You have an aircraft, passengers and crew. You have responsibility for them,” he said. “You can’t take your problems from the ground into the skies. You can completely disengage and concentrate on something else. That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying.”
King Willem-Alexander is monarch to 17 million Dutch citizens. The Guardian reports that his subjects knew that their King was a qualified pilot. However, they were surprised to learn just how often he took to the skies.
“Before 11 September, the cockpit door was open,” the King explained. “People regularly came to have a look and thought it was nice or surprising that I was sitting there.”
Earlier this year, HR Grapevine reported on Prince William quitting his job as an Air Ambulance pilot in order to assume his full-time royal duties.
This follows reports that the Queen will be handing over some of her duties to Prince William, in order to plan for an easy succession. An issue which is prevalent in HR, though often neglected, is the importance of securing a succession plan between leaders.