The Holiday (Red, White And) Blues

Every year, at this particular time of year, many of us succumb to the holiday doldrums. We feel lethargic, listless and drained when our inner psyche says we should be upbeat, grateful and full of good cheer.

Columns From: 12/1/2001 Modern Machine Shop,

Every year, at this particular time of year, many of us succumb to the holiday doldrums. We feel lethargic, listless and drained when our inner psyche says we should be upbeat, grateful and full of good cheer. For many of us "Happy Holidays" is a big "Bah, Humbug." A lot of Santas turn into Scrooges. And this year will be no different . . . but for many of us it will be for a different reason!

The international crises in Afghanistan and elsewhere have sapped the energy and tested the stamina of the American military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about more than 50 years ago. Even small business, a microcosm of the global behemoth, has tasted the sour fruits of a world gone loony at a time when so much was full of promise. The economy has wobbled and staggered with the collapse of the Twin Towers. The dreams of many entrepreneurs have faded into the twilight of dashed hopes and aspirations. So much has been lost by so many in such a short time. Bah, humbug!

But something uniquely and diversely American has risen from the ashes of 9-11-01. The diligent efforts of many small businesses during the past 3 months to recover from the aftershocks of a direct hit to capitalism's midsection has made some noticeable headway. The recovery process has been a lurching effort, but nonetheless an admirable one. Witness the new attention paid to disaster preparedness and crisis management. Notice the heightening of security and safeguard measures. Observe the subtle yet unmistakable changes made in the areas of in-house protocols dealing specifically with survival techniques and life-saving strategies. These are not knee-jerk reactions to a tyrannical cadre of fanatical theists. Rather, they are planned and measured responses to avoid any future tyranny that any adversary of some persuasion may hurl at the core of our collective democratic being. Bah, humbug?

Managers have an excellent opportunity to enhance their roles as protectors and guardians of the people they supervise. They can assuage workers' concerns by demonstrating updated and well-informed competencies in matters of safety and vigilance. They can respond to workers' concerns about what precautionary measures will be taken to assure their safety on the job should a crisis prove imminent. They can be diligent and meticulous in the preparation and execution of plans of action to deal with an emergency. They can drill everyone in the protocols of perseverance and resolve. They can gel the team into a formidable task force. This is not a bunker mentality. This is an opportunity to galvanize the team to take preemptive and proactive action.

The holidays are fraught with meaning and challenge for men and women of goodwill everywhere on the globe. It can be no less a time for rejuvenation and rededication to the principles of camaraderie and preservation right in our own machine shops. Bah, humbug? Not on our watch!

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