Imagine, if you will, that you’re a mechanic. Not the world’s greatest mechanic by any means, but a decent mechanic who earns a decent wage fixing and tuning cars and trucks.
One day you get a call from someone wanting you to come out and tune up their car. So you hop in your van and drive out to their address. On arrival however you discover that it’s not a car.
Before you have time to react, the Captain whacks a hat on your head, says “Welcome aboard! You’re our new Head Engineer!” and drags you down to the engine room.
Which looks like this…
Mistaking your look of horror for one of mere concern, the captain says “Don’t worry, the manuals are right here…”
You pick up one of the decaying books at random and open it. Every single page looks like this…
The Captain continues “All set? Your tools are over there…”
“…and we think the forward port engine is about to fall off. Have fun!”
Through strenuous effort (and a lot of desperate banging on random pipes) you manage to keep the ship in the air. You even manage to accommodate some of the crew’s requests, such as restoring the air conditioning and halting the gradual detachment of the starboard mess hall. Buoyed by your apparent competence the crew send in a flood of new requests for things such as hot tubs and mood lighting, some of which you can manage and many of which you have to ignore.
Making matters worse, through all of this the Captain insists on a weekly meeting at Airship HQ in Zurich. Once a week you have to fly to Zurich and sit in a small room staring at a list of requests and upgrades. After about an hour the meeting is declared a success and you fly back to the airship to continue banging on pipes.
You find yourself entertaining thoughts of sabotaging the engines, or at least ignoring the more desperate maintenance tasks so the ship will fall out of the sky and (as long as you survive) you won’t have to deal with it any more. But your professionalism wins through, you take a deep breath and get on with tightening a valve that you think will correct the water pressure on deck three. Maybe.