The Value Of Nothing


By Phil La Duke

Thanks to all of you who congratulated me for my work anniversary, six whole years at the same company. Hardly impressive, and while my company does its best to show its appreciation to the many talented people working all over the globe even the best of us can feel unappreciated and well…unvalued.  This is not to say that I don’t contribute value to the company, it’s just that—well let’s just say that there are some who don’t like what I write any more than most of you do and wish I would just shut up.  When a media group adds me to a list of their Global Thought Leaders the company isn’t exactly popping champagne corks. 

After working in safety—both on the inside of a company and providing outside services—for 20 years this month I have reached the disheartening conclusion that people place no value for things that they get for free.  My blog posts, which I have posted for free weekly for over 12 years get all sorts of traffic from all over the world. I refuse to do product reviews, accept money (as much as $100 per mention) for product placement, I do this on my own time and I do not accept advertisement (although WordPress will stick one in once in a while—my favorite  was a major BBS supplier whose add was placed (without my knowledge or consent) next to a blog I wrote that lambasted BBS. My free magazine articles (I don’t take money for the articles I write) are extremely popular. And I have spoken all over the world at a public venue one of which had the gall to expect me to pay admission to my own speech!

My book sales are pretty piss poor but that’s the case for all nonfiction books (a lifetime sales of 3,000 books is considered a best seller).  My second book was released January 1st and is all new material exploring workplace safety from single gun shooters, but I will be lucky to give them away.  My publisher keeps giving me pep talks but I’m beginning to feel more an more like just another sucker on the vine. Now granted, I found a publisher, hired a PR Manager, wrote 3 books and published 2 of them all in less than 6 months. I seriously doubt I will release the third one.

Just one of my posts drew over 13,000 views, but of that less than half actually read the article.  Apparently, people just want to be shocked and outraged. Nobody wants to learn, much less be forced to think about things or to have to consider another person’s opinion. We all want our delicate egos bruised, or are egos stroked, or to be made victims because the big bad blogger called us a bad name, or insulted our mentor, or used a vulgarity, or butchered grammar.

Too many of us would rather be victims than protect victims.  

If we focus on eliminating injuries, if we try against impossible odds to eliminate any chance of harm, what then becomes of us.

So for all of you out there looking to take offense, here it comes. I don’t think you give steaming pile of steaming pile of cat diarrhea about safety. I think you like playing the martyr and like to complain to your peers about how little support you get. You like to complain that Operations doesn’t support you, while conveniently forgetting that most of what they learned about safety they learned from you.

That’s all I can stomach of safety this week.  People place no value on the things they get for free and place the highest price for what they get swindled.  I should have been a liar and a thief, there’s more money and integrity in it than working in safety and the hours are better.