I spoke with a safety professional this week about education. While employed full-time in EHS, he hadn’t yet finished a degree. So I asked about it.
Me: “Are you going to school?”
Him: “Yes, it’s something I’m working on.” (nodding)
Me: “So you’re going to school?”
Him: “Working towards it.” (nodding now less surely)
Me: “Are you in school?”
Him: “Yes and no.” (now frowning pensively)
Me: (blank stare)
Harry Truman, probably after a long day of receiving similar feedback and advice at the White House, quipped, “Give me a one-handed economist. All my economists say ‘on hand…’, then ‘but on the other…”
You give advice and are professionally obliged to do so. As do economists. Sometimes when we give advice as EHS professionals, we aren’t clear with our message.
And while economists (and EHS pros) may retort that life is grayer than black and white, what’s your goal? Is the situation really gray? Do we give “both sides of the story” to help our boss or to cover our “reputation”?