Stress is Relative: Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller is an interesting reflection of the author's thirty-four-year air traffic control (ATC) career with made-for-reader views of the processes used in the three divisions of ATC operation. Author Rose Marie Kern describes a woman's experience in a male dominated profession, beginning in 1983, after President Reagan fired 12,000 controllers. By chance, Rose applied and began training with the FAA in Oklahoma City to enter the ATC arena. From there, as a single mother with daughters in tow, Rose developed competencies and assumed leadership controller roles all over America.
The reader will appreciate the ongoing controller training and skill required to exact air safety, the technical advancements introduced across time, and the varying duty locations the author brings into focus. The curious reader will become knowledgeable in the basic operations that transpire in ATC—whether in the tower, in centers, or in flight assistant services—a real education for an audience interested in air traffic control!
Review by Hodge Wood (April 2019)
A struggling young single mother of two little girls, Rose Marie heard a report on the late night news about the strike and the government’s ongoing efforts to rebuild. With no background in aviation she took a chance and entered a whole new world. Now one of the best known aviation authors in the U.S., Rose’s experiences as she faced challenges both in the job and in the attitudes of an entrenched mostly male workforce in the 1980’s makes for a story that is inspiring and amusing. . So how did she come to work in this challenging profession? In 1981 President Ronald Reagan fired 11,359 striking Air Traffic Controllers. It took 10 years to rebuild the workforce. The strike affected all levels of aviation and offered employment opportunities to many who had never before considered this as a profession. Rose’s memoir "STRESS is Relative" follows her career in ATC from the time she first heard about this challenging and lucrative job to the day she retired. Along the way readers get insights into the mysterious world of Air Traffic Control, and how attitudes towards women evolved over time.
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 250