We are all responsible.

It matters little where you are on the organization’s charts, you will always feel the crushing weight of the whole on your shoulders. There is no release mechanism whether you sit in a lofty corner office, draft memos for the person in the corner office to sign, or toil on the line with the other hourly-rated employees. If you care, you carry a share of the load.

And the type of organization matters little. Make the widgets, feed the multitudes, cure the ills, or make the rules, it is all the same. The walls of the institution can feel like they will come in and crush you.

It is not that we lack defence mechanisms. The boss can have another Scotch at lunch and wonder why the staff are friendlier in the afternoon. The top guy can still play a round of golf instead of going back to the damn grind. And there are more quality rejects on the line from the disgruntled.

But what does it boil down to? It is stated in four simple words. You hear them thousands of times in a lifetime. You hear them from the corridors of power in Ottawa to the Congress in Washington, from the expressway stop in Arizona to the Alaska Highway north of Edmonton. They are simple words: It’s not my problem.

If we never heard those words again, would not life be more fun?

In a career in public relations, I found that few people really understood what you do. It gave me an opportunity to do many things. And one of the things I found was that the fewer times I heard those words, the easier the job turned out to be.

Once when replacing the receiver in a large supermarket, I proved to management that keeping the place clean and neat, greatly reduced the slippage.

When sitting in that top corner office one time, I found that I could ban the words. (Why should I have to hear them?) It was amazing when people knew they had to fix the problem.

It is like this pandemic. You cannot say those words. We all share this problem. We are in it together. It will not defeat us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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