Just Terriers With A Rat


By Phil La Duke
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business
Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

I don’t want to write. My mood is sour and my disposition is foul.  Writing this has become a chore and inevitably and increasingly I have people pressuring me what to say and what not to say.  Fuck it. This is MY blog, nobody thinks that there’s an editorial staff that meets to decide what I should say and shouldn’t say. This isn’t marketing, this is me talking to the handful of you with open minds (some of you who actually find benefit from what I have to say).  But of course, there is a fair amount of you who read this for the sole purpose of taking offense and frankly I am beyond being bewildered by that particular motivation if I offend you well then it serves you right for continuing to read it, and if you think it reflects in ANY way on you or what you stand for, get over yourself. No one out there thinks you have the imagination or insight to coauthor or edit me.

Some weeks or a month ago even I was listed by Thinkers360.com as one of the top 20 Thought Leaders in Culture. Last week someone shortened that list to the Top 5; I was fourth on that list.  I know many of you are thinking, okay, here it comes, yet another internet loudmouth who is blowing his own horn, in fact, if the past is any indication, some washed up loser who hung out a shingle in Australia (if you think I am talking about you I probably will) will send an email to someone he thinks matters to me in hopes of getting me in trouble, someone else will post hateful posts trying to goad me into an internet postwar, while still others will just post their dreck about how self-aggrandizing I am.

This shit used to really bother me, but I guess after all these years I’ve developed a thick skin. For the record, Thinkers360 has developed a patent-pending algorithm to determine who the top thinkers are, and yes, you have to apply to the website to be considered (and there is no guarantee you will be selected) but other than what you write, get published, how many social media interactions you have, and media appearances there is nothing one can do to be selected; it’s a point system and one I don’t quite understand.  It’s free, so if you want to be an expert apply and see if they select you. Be forewarned that they make their money by pimping experts out to reporters and industry, so they are fairly selective about who they bring on board—they are more concerned about THEIR reputation than yours—so prepare to have your ego bruised.

It would be easy to dismiss this crowd of dimwits as jealous of my success, but I can’t do that. You see I don’t think it’s jealousy.  These human colonoscopy bags don’t want what I have, there is no envy here. What motivates these people is to make themselves feel better about being lazy.  I achieved what meager success I have by hard work. I write voraciously, on my own time—late nights after long days, I ponder the issues in safety and corporate culture continually, I read and process what others write.  I speak at professional events for free and talk to the people there. And I am about to publish my third book.

Does this make me any better than anyone else? Any smarter? Of course not.  I haven’t met many people who work in the field of worker safety that couldn’t do what I’ve done or will do.  For the most part, the only thing stopping most people is that Safety, as a profession, is exhausting. Most people don’t want to put in a full day’s work in Safety and come home and think and write about it, that’s okay. I’d be lying if I said that the whole idea of safety doesn’t make me want to chuck it all and work as a short-order cook every once in a while, but I can’t.

I could bring up the deaths of my father, brother-in-law, both grandfathers, one great uncle, a childhood acquaintance, and all coworkers and friends of friends who died on the job as the one thing that brings me back, and I’m sure that these many losses have shaped who I am and drive me subconsciously to some extent, but that’s not it, at least not entirely. What keeps bringing me back is just when you think the field of safety is growing someone will trot out some snake-oil like a terrier with a rat in its mouth.  

I want to scream “it’s dead, drop it”. But they won’t. Our field is choked with mouth-breathers who continually rediscover the obvious and proudly trotting it out like they walked out in the rain and discovered wet. I’ve been described as passionate about safety, I’ve even been called a crusader. If I am passionate about anything, if I am crusading against anything is ending stupidity.

We live in a world where correlation is considered causation, where if you don’t like the facts you just scream fake news or media bias, where vendors will sell a customer a safety solution that some vacuous executive wants knowing full well that the solution all smoke without the mirrors,  and no one asks, because no one CARES, how the purveyors of bullshit make their money. Safety is the only discipline in Business where executives continue to authorize increased investment without knowing if the solution they are buying will do anything but cost money, and where the people in the function can be blissfully ignorant as to whether the money is reducing risk or just making charlatans rich.  Try being an Operations leader and going to the COO with a budget with a line item that says, “machinery and stuff”. AND when the COO asks for more information you just say, “it’s the right thing to do”. You wouldn’t just leave the office with a boot in your ass, you’d also be handed a pink slip. And yet, “we fund safety because it’s the right thing to do” is a go-to argument.

Try telling a COO that you don’t know how much your scrap is costing you, or that you have no clue what your payroll costs, or that you can’t tell how much you’re spending on…virtually anything except safety and see how long you still have a job. And WHY is this the case? And why if safety so sacrosanct do we continue to kill and cripple people in the workplace? Because it’s hard to calculate the cost of safety? No, I’ve done it dozens of times. The answer is simple, because if we took a real hard look at how much we spend on safety, and the value derived from those expenditures we might just find we could do it cheaper, faster, and without all the convoluted processes.  In short, we don’t want an answer, just a bigger budget.

So I guess the real difference between a lot of us and that terrier with a rat is that the terrier cares that he caught a rat and can see that his efforts are paying off.  He can prove he did his job well, so I guess we’ll just let him shake that rat a little longer. He’s earned it, and the thought of a dead rat makes me smile and all warm inside.

I am proud to announce that Marriah Publishing has published my second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention.  This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. While homicide accounts for 10% of workplace fatalities this is a problem that can be easily prevented. Victims of domestic violence are disproportionately affected. Of women murdered in the workplace, 48% will be killed by a family member or domestic partner, while only 2% of men are killed this way.  I wrote this book at the request of my publisher, as there are growing numbers of “experts” who are treating random mass shootings (where the goal is usually a high body count) the same as single shooter events in the workplace (which tend to target a specific individual.) The research I did was eye-opening for me as I expect it will be for you too. This is one of the most powerful things I have ever written so I hope you will find it useful.

It can be purchased in hardcover or paperback at Amazon (US and Canada) or Barnes & Nobel (as it stands now B&N is only listing the hardcover but I’m told the paperback will be on sale this Monday.  It’s an important book on a serious topic as seen through my bleary-eyed lens.)

Of course, my first book is still for sale…

Did you like this post? If so you will probably like my book which can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Nobel.com.

Did you hate this post? Did it offend you deeply? Maybe you should organize a book burning (minimum of 150 books) but be sure you are only burning my book, I don’t want you to go to a used book store and buy a bunch of cheap books and stack mine on top.

The book is a compilation of blog posts, guest blogs, magazine article (from around the world) and new material. Much of it is hard to find unless you know where to look. A second and third book has already been green-lighted by the publisher (expect fewer reprints and more new material).

In all seriousness, I have been blogging for free (without sponsors or advertising) clearly damned near zero moral support from people who could and do benefit from my notoriety for over 11 years and I think I have earned a bit of revenue so buy a damned book.