Some tasks only seem Herculean at first glance. Then they become impossible. Take the one I got this morning.
“You gotta help me with this, Elyse,” said Robert, our Human Resources Manager. “I spent the better part of a year editing and improving this, and still nobody will read it.”
“It’s our Employee Manual, Robert. Of course nobody will read it.”
“But they need to read it,” he said. “Otherwise the staff won’t know when they’re breaking rules.”
I stared back at him blankly. “I’ll see what I can do,” I said, thumbing through the four-inch binder for the first time myself.
“Give it some pizzazz, make is shoot off the page. You know, Jazz it up!”
“Robert,” I said, holding up the tome, “this is the written equivalent of Muzak. Elevator music. It cannot be jazzed up!”
He looked so pitiful that I added, “I’ll see what I can do.” Guilt gets me every time.
Robert left my office, and I plopped the Manual down on my desk and ignored it. It was an impossible task. So I clicked on the internets to gear myself up for drudge work.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Someone else was working on their office manual and making recommendations! Seriously! I couldn’t believe my luck. I knew that all I had to do was add this information to the front of the Manual and it would certainly capture everybody’s attention. Yes, I can follow the lead of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security! That’s how I can jazz up our company manual. I’ll include information on “Surviving an Active Shooter Event!”
That will certainly catch that unsuspecting new employee’s interest!
Whoo-hoo! “I am so underpaid,” I thought.
Don’t you think this is a wise prep for life in today’s workplace? Shouldn’t we all be trained to “Run. Hide. Fight”? I don’t know about you, but “Duck and Cover” served me really well way back when. And nothing at all happened to me then. So clearly these Public Service Announcements work.
That’s all you need, isn’t it? Isn’t it?
Or did I get that moral wrong? I’m trying to remember what happened. Let’s see. Duck and Cover. Duck and Cover. Oh yeah. That came out after the Soviet Union developed its first nuke! When they could hit us with one too! Me, I got my exposure to it during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962 when the threat of nuclear war was real. Funny thing, though. Duck and Cover was actually way less effective than President Kennedy’s blockade.
And what has happened since?
Hmmm. Let me think. We and the Soviet Union (now Russia, in case you missed something) have been behaving ourselves, more or less. Nuke-wise, anyway. Because a nuclear war? That’s unthinkable. We all know that.
You know what else is unthinkable? Random gun violence every day in America. It is unthinkable that we have to worry every day that some crazy person is going to come into our offices, our schools and our movie theaters and start shooting. And that others will defend their “freedom” to do so.
Just like governments have learned how to co-exist with nuclear weapons, we need to figure out how to get along with guns (because they, sadly, ain’t goin’ away) but without gun violence. To me that means we need fewer guns, especially fewer of the sort that can shoot and kill lots of folks without much effort. But I am willing to compromise.
Because these other precautions? They are closing the barn door after the horse has run out; and I for one am tired of beating that dead horse.