Failure? Mitigate the Effects

It’s Friday night and I’m ready to drive to Berkeley for dinner and theater. I get cash from the ATM; return to my car, turn the key in the ignition and nothing. I mean nothing. No sound. After three attempts to start, I proceeded to mitigate. First, I called my friend whom I was meeting in Berkeley to say I can’t make it. Even if my car starts, I don’t trust it to travel the 40 miles and not leave me stranded in Berkeley at midnight.

Call completed. Try to start the car again. Nothing. Next step, call another friend for rescue and look for my roadside assistance card from Infiniti. And so went my plans for a nice evening to a night that involved: roadside assistance operator, a tow truck, bad sushi, 15 hours of self-induced stress and $895 for labor and a new starter.

The point is that I had to declare my planned evening a failure, which was out of my hands, and start to mitigate quickly. Otherwise, I’d still be in the parking lot cranking on the ignition. Don’t get me wrong. There was a moment of denial when the roadside assistance guy said to me, “You know. Turning the key harder in the ignition isn’t going to make the car start.” Knowing with a previous vehicle I had actually broken the key off in the ignition without actually getting it to start up, I conceded his point.

It reminded me of how further damage can result when trying to fix something or a situation in a panic that has clearly failed. And if you let people know in time, while not an ideal situation, everyone can prepare and put into motion their contingency plans. In business, if there is an issue, tell people. You have a hard drive crash or, as I did earlier this year, lose all your data to Crypto Locker, let people know as soon as possible that things will be delayed so they can do what they need to stem the damages on their end. On Friday night, my friend had time to call someone else so that her night wasn’t completely ruined.

When something is broken and not working, while you may be surprised by it and hoping something will miraculously work, the rest of us are looking at you a little sideways thinking, “Move on. It ain’t working B.O.O.”(Basically Oblivious to the Obvious). The same way you see someone trying to ride a bike with the chain off, you have to know when it’s just not going to happen and start mitigating.

Let’s understand wishes and hopes. While you may try a few things and hope something will work, don’t leave the rest of wishing you had told us sooner. Things happen, just acknowledge it. In failure, keep calm and carry Om.



P.S. Hope you have a Happy Birthday CDOT! You will not get a birthday card from me on Monday because I failed to mail it. Your Sister, same as she ever was.

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