You may be surprised to hear this (unless, of course, you’ve been a reader of my blogs for a while or are a member of my family) but I’m possibly not the world’s most tolerant person. Particularly in the face of rudeness, inconsiderateness and lack of common sense, which, unfortunately, seem to pervade the world these days – mine at any rate (see “Is it just me? (part 1)“, “Is it just me? (part 2)” and “Horses for courses“). Oh, and teenagers. I do, however, like to think that I have a reasonably caring nature – although a recent experience caused me to re-examine this notion.
On the occasion in question, I left home just before 6am, on my way to a client meeting a couple of hours drive from Chez Oz. At least I tried to leave, but I found my driveway blocked by a car. Closer inspection revealed a second car parked next to it. This one was a police car. The give-away was the fluorescent stripe down the side of it – that and the flashing blue lights. I wandered over to investigate and spotted several other vehicles – a second police car, an ambulance, another car parked at a jaunty angle across the road and a motorcyclist lying next to it, being tended by a paramedic.
After establishing that the motorcyclist was alive (I told you I had a caring nature) I politely enquired of the nearest chap in uniform when I might be able to get past the blockage. I didn’t really get the answer I was looking for.
You see, the emergency services didn’t care that I had an important appointment. The motorcyclist didn’t care about my appointment either. In fact he didn’t seem to give a monkey’s about me generally, for some reason. Nor did the car driver who had knocked him off his motorbike. The chap parked across my drive, who, it would appear, had just stopped to have a gawp, didn’t seem to care about anything other than his morbid fascination. After a few words of “encouragement” from me he eventually, and somewhat grudgingly, moved his car so I could get off my drive and on my way, now twenty minutes later than planned.
Worst of all, I didn’t really care about any of them either – after all I had my meeting to go to and I was now late. In fairness I had had another quick look at the motorcyclist and, whilst he was still sitting in the road, he did still have all of his limbs attached, there was no obvious gore and he was talking to one of the policemen, so I wasn’t being completely heartless. Another policeman and the paramedic were chatting about the fact that they were nearing the end of their respective shifts, so the focus of their concern also appeared to have shifted from the victim.
The point is that no-one really cared about anyone or anything other than themselves and their respective priorities. I couldn’t help thinking that, despite any assurances to the contrary, the majority of the people I was due to meet probably wouldn’t really care what my excuse was for being late, just that I wasn’t there at the agreed time.
I suppose there’s a possibility that you might not agree with me on this. But, to be brutally honest, I don’t really care!
Related articles : “A reasonable assumption?“; “The big issue“; “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you say it“
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Andy Osborne (known as Oz to friends and colleagues) is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, a consultancy practice specialising in business continuity and risk management.
Andy is the author of the books ‘Practical Business Continuity Management‘, ‘Risk Management Simplified‘ and ‘Ski Boots and Celery – A Compilation of Oz’s Business Continuity Blogs‘, as well as his popular blogs and ‘Tips of the Month’, all of which aim to demystify the subjects of business continuity and risk management and make them more accessible to people who live in the real world.
You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AndyatAcumen and link with him on LinkedIn at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andyosborneatacumen