Saturday, 13 August 2011

Just Another Day At The Farm

My professional life consists of pockets of information. They come my way, I do something with them, and then either pass them on or resolve them. In that sense my working day isn't so different from anybody's else. The distinction comes from the nature of the information, and the importance, and the consequences. For example, consider a genuine emergency. From the moment I engage with a person on the end of the line I've two minutes to get the bare bones over to others who can get police on the way. Two minutes is actually a long time. A lot can happen, and a lot often does.  As I reflect I actually think most people could do what I do. All it really takes is a cool head and an ability to disseminate the important from the inane. Like the rest of my colleagues we're a link in a chain, gatekeepers if you like. If you can stay level and oriented when under pressure you can do my job. It doesn't take a vast amount of brain power, although it helps if you can think on your feet. 
There's a risk that is ever present, however, and it's subject to the law of averages. Try as I might, it just isn't possible to get things totally right all of the time. I just can't, and I don't suppose you can either? You see, there's a demon on my shoulder that most of the time doesn't do a whole lot. In fact, it does precisely nothing, and just kind of hangs around waiting for a moment of opportunity. It goes by the name of complacency and its the potential downfall of every emergency responder. I've been doing what I do for near enough four years now, and if there's one thing I know it's that I can't ever really let my guard down. My colleagues would say the same, I expect. Every contact has to be given the same levels of attention, which really is just the hardest thing. I'm only human, and keeping complacency at arms length is always front and centre. Thing is, little snippets of information can sometimes make all the difference in my world. Fact is, they can be the difference. And sometimes it might be something innocuous or seemingly irrelevant, and yet it has the power to yield something that can have a real impact on somebody's life. I don't dwell too much on that if I can help it, but it's there. If I miss something, or don't  identify risk correctly I have the power to really make somebody's bad day worse. People don't call me to say hello; they do so because they have a quandary, a question, or an urgent need. And in these pockets I'm entrusted with helping people, or at least paving the way for others to help them. Nobody wants to speak to somebody like me, so the best I can do is try and make that contact as painless as possible. 
There's no real focal point to this blog. I'm just mulling over the nature of the beast. I don't expect to please everybody and I recognize that often even my best won't be good enough. I'll say this, though; when I do move on I'd like to think that on average I played a small part in making people's bad days better. 
I suppose others will be the judge of that.

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