Prepare for the Worst? Or Prepare for the Best? Or Simply, Prepare.

I live in Indiana.  It’s February, typically considered a winter month (you might hear a little cynicism in my words…).  And it’s snowy.  Albeit, there’s much more snow here than we’ve had in recent years, but is that really a surprise?

I was scheduled to attend a local seminar tomorrow.  I am a “nerd” and enjoy learning, especially if it will help me be a better HR professional, coach, &/or person.  I always like to get another trainer’s perspective & I am familiar with this speaker – who I consider to be excellent, so I was looking forward to it.  I got an email yesterday morning indicating it had been postponed until late this month.  Our “weather” hadn’t even hit yet, although forecasters had been prognosticating a new “snowpocalypse” for days.  And I saw or heard it everywhere I turned – Facebook, Twitter, television, radio.

The weather predictions appeared to be coming true by mid-afternoon yesterday and lots of snow began falling.  Our company began monitoring in order to make prudent business decisions about closing or delaying opening today.    As weather often does, it appeared to taper off last evening, and yet, the social media and television continued to “blow up” with news and details of “snowpocalypse.”  It’s no wonder people overreact – the worse-case-scenarios are played out on every avenue of communication.

My husband was up early today, and was out snow-blowing our drive, and our neighbors, long before any county snow plow would have considered coming down our road.  I got to thinking about all of this after getting the 5:55AM email that our business would open as usual today.  It seems like everyone is preparing for the worse-case scenario, instead of preparing so it won’t be.  Does that make sense?

What I mean is, it seems with the advent of social media and immediate news feeds, we tend to take on almost a ‘victim’ mentality.  The weatherman predicts weather, everyone posts it on their statuses or news feeds,  we all run to the store for bread, milk, and perhaps some adult beverages, and then we wait for the weather, sometimes predicting early that we can’t make it in.  Often, the weather doesn’t end up being near as scary as predicted, and yet, many are paralyzed by the thought of that ‘worse-case scenario.”

What happened to simply preparing for the weather – extra layers of clothing, getting up early to shovel, snow-blow, scrape the car windows, leaving earlier than usual in order to get to work.

I do not remember a day that my Dad & Mom didn’t get up and go to work.  Dad owned his own business,  Mom worked at the local university, and no matter the weather, they got up, prepared for it, and went to work.  Why are we any different today?  We have better gadgets – snow blower, automatic car starters, warmer clothing and such, along with better prediction information – and yet, we aren’t preparing for the rigors of getting up and going to work, we are preparing for the worse.

Kind of like my seminar planned for tomorrow.  I’m bummed.  It seems like with a little preparation, the seminar might have been able to happen. Maybe not, depending on the speaker schedule and travel location, but it feels like we prepared for the worst, instead of preparing for the best.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to endanger themselves to get to work.  Yet, before our social media, did our parents and prior generations know better, prepare better, have a better work ethic?  I don’t think so.  I think they just used good common sense and prepared – for the best. Without all the “noise” from social media and news 24/7 on television, radio and streaming through our laptops and other devices, people simply prepared.  Perhaps they had more time….

 

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 About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.

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Dorothy Douglass

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