If you and your colleagues turned up for work one morning, what would you do if your supervisor came in and said this?
“Right folks, today we are going to do something seriously crass and stupid. It’s so crass and stupid that some of you might not actually make it home tonight as you will be in hospital. In fact, some of you might not even survive the day and I’ll be ringing your loved ones later with the very sad news of your demise,”
I suppose if you’re one of those incredibly brave and tough members of the SAS or other crack military unit in the world, this sort of thing might have happened once or twice. The tone might be a bit different but the message would be the same. “This is a really tough one guys, the enemy has all sorts of positions covered and this isn’t something we’ve done before. The chances of getting out may be compromised on a number of levels”. I’ve never been a military man but read enough books and seen enough films to know that occasionally, the chances of survival are sometimes a bit slim. But I also know that when the risks are high, the planning is detailed and extensive in order to mitigate those risks as much as possible.
But what if your job was not to rescue a heavily guarded high profile hostage in some failed state but mend a roof? Or plate some metal components for the aircraft industry? Or drive a fork lift truck? You’d probably be seriously worried wouldn’t you? Or you’d think that maybe your supervisor had lost the plot and the best thing to do would be to get out as soon as possible and find something else to do.
So tell me this. Why do you carry on doing it? Maybe not you personally but every year in the UK we kill about 170 people at work – that’s one every 2 days. And often the reason is that these people carry on doing the same ridiculously stupid things thinking they’re fine. Because their supervisor hasn’t come in that morning and told them “today you might die”. He has come in as usual and expected everyone to get on with their job without any reasonable thought of what might go wrong. The web is full of examples. Take a look.
You’ll probably laugh at some of them and cringe at others but how often has that been you? Next time you’re about to embark on your daily grind, just think a bit and ask yourself “what are my chances of dying today?” They might be alarmingly high.