Sitting in the back corner of the area, one-holing Albany sector after all the Newark overseas arrivals are gone. The area is dim to begin with, but where ALB is situated back there seems to encourage the eyes to continue its scan elsewhere. Don't mind me, I'm just quietly letting the rest of my day finish off back here, alone.
Some would call me crazy, some would agree with me, and are willing to pass breaks to preserve solitude.
I THOUGHT I was all set. Saturday afternoon, steady traffic but nothing crazy. Nothing going on that makes the supervisor take notice enough to give me a D-side (one-holing means its slow enough to not require the second person, the Data-side controller, leaving the radar controller to handle the radios AND the flight data aspects of the sector). The Albany departures are climbing well above the BDL arrival flow, I give a BDL departure a shortcut to SYR to avoid the MHT arrival crossing eastbound, I turned a PVD arrival direct BDL to avoid the BDL departure, and a biz-jet heading to Teterboro is safely pushed under all of them. Life is good. But wait...
Here comes the supervisor, its "skill-check" time. Four pm, and there is the usual rush of east bounds coming into the Rockdale (RKA) sector. One of the night-shifters shows up to relieve me so I can move over to RKA to show I have "skills" with actual airplanes. That last scenario at ALB was all done and I had nothing but a blank scope to show for it. He happily sits down to a traffic-less sector. I plug in along side a supervisor, pen and paper waiting to fully document any and all discrepancies. I am a recent graduate of the training program, so expectations are high. While RKA is busier this time of day than ALB, it is much less complex. I few descents, a few shortcuts, one turn for spacing, speed assigned to keep it, and 30 minutes later, I live to see another day. I sign my name on the dotted line indicating my receipt of the critique, and its off to the break room for a little ping pong.
Happiness is getting paid to do this.