Carry a Spare

(thoughts on the eve of another government shutdown)

A few hours ago, caught between seemingly unresolvable political differences, the U.S. federal budget extension ran out. Over the weekend, many federal agencies will close and federal employees will again be furloughed.

But it’s happened before and without significant improvement in current budgetary law, it will happen again. So this shutdown should not come as a surprise.

In EHS we have the benefit of a unique perspective. We know that given enough time, imperfect systems and processes, and the human element, unintended injury and losses will occur. For an EHS professional to be surprised by (and not prepare for) the possibility of injury and loss would be like the city emergency manager failing to build backups and resiliency into the electric and water utility systems. (OK, I know this happens, but should it really?)

This past week, as rumors of a shutdown loomed, I saw a Jeep in our parking lot. A red two-door with an empty spare tire rack on the rear tailgate. It’s actually a common sight. (I can only hope it wasn’t driven by the local emergency manager.)

Life’s challenges are inevitable. Denying them by carrying no spare tire (no emergency fund, etc.) is fool hardy. Preparation, however, turns a flat tire, a government shutdown, and most other life challenges into a nonevent. Denial leaves you alongside the road with an empty smile.

When the day takes a sharp turn, are you ready with a spare tire? Have you built a reserve of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to push forward? You will need it. Maybe not this week, but the day will come.

Prepare.

Build strength.

Carry a spare.

(and a fishing pole. No metaphor there, sometimes you just need to go fishing.)

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