Last night the ground moved. Again. It started a little after 8:00 and lasted about 15 seconds; a swaying motion rocking back and forth. It had been a while. Actually several years. This one was a 5.6 and was the biggest we have had since the 7.1 quake in 1989; you probably remember the World Series Loma Prieta earthquake.
That day in 1989 I was heading to get some hamburgers for the start of Game One when it hit. I had left early for the game but a number of employees were still in the building when it struck. My first thought was they had to be under the rubble and after checking on my family, I raced downtown.
Downtown Santa Cruz was devastated and I believe ten died; most buried under the rubble of unreinforced buildings over 50 years old. All our people were safe. But business was never the same.
That night we camped out in our backyard as the aftershocks continued. At about 3:00 I took off my shoes and stood barefoot on the ground. It was quivering like a bowl of Jell-O.
Just the other day my neighbor and I were recounting the post earthquake days. Some people took it very hard and actually got depressed even though no one in their family was hurt and the damages to their property were minimal. Why did some people just breeze right through it and others need months and years of counseling to cope?
And how could all this be? If there was ever anything in the universe that was secure it had to be terra firma or the ground beneath our very feet. At least that's what I thought up until then.
At that precise moment my perception was forever changed. No longer would I ever assume that the earth was solid beneath my feet. I knew that at any moment it could jump and roll and turn to a liquid nightmare. I don't worry about it but I know it can happen at anytime. And if the ground beneath my feet cannot be counted on, what can?
We just don't know when Al-Qaeda will attack, a drunk driver will hit us or the ground will turn liquid. How can we be presumptuous enough to feel we can avoid these and numerous other threats and risks to our security? Will the United Nations Security Council keep me and mine secure? And how about Social Security? And the National Security Council? Homeland Security? The security net
Helen Keller said that security does not exist in nature and therefore does not exist in mankind. We build bigger fences, more elaborate alarms and even hire "Security" companies to help us keep what we got because it seems there are a lot of folks out there that want what is not theirs. They don't want you and me to have security and to pay higher prices.
"It's a war and the shoplifters and crooked employees will steal everything," says Armand Aranda of Enterprise Protective Services. "Losses can approach 10%. These people are nuts; it's like they're crazy and angry. At that point the actual viability of the business is compromised. Employee theft can reach 50% of total theft; we've caught them loading up their pick-ups."
Great. So we have met the enemy and he's us. Our own people selling us out; sort of how Dog must have felt after he got shafted. How do we secure ourselves from ourselves? Do we call the security guard on ourselves? Code Blue, hurry quick, we're stealing from ourselves! Did Dog think he was secure?
So you see, there really is no security. When we feel secure we should start worrying because that is when Al-Qaeda or the Extremist Supremist Utopian groups do their harm. Actually we would be doing ourselves a favor by not getting too comfy. Like Dog you never really know who ends up coming after you...
"It's bad enough when it's your employees," laments Aranda, "but think what it's like when we have a video of your family stealing from your business."
My family? Egads. I never thought of that. One more security worry. Maybe the wife is stealing from me and I don't know it. She's definitely smart enough to figure out a way to drain me dry. You know, go through my wallet when I'm asleep and that sort of thing. Maybe I need to hire a security company. I'd have to get her permission first. Better not wake her up and ask her about it just yet. She probably would not be pleased.
"Security, that's a good one" she would laugh, "after roaming the world through all kinds of adventures and ups and downs you actually think I need security? What would I do with this security of yours when the Big Shaker hits? Will it protect my store from looters?" She would have a point there. And she would laugh until tears ran down her cheeks.
On second thought maybe I won't mention the security thing just yet. We sensitive guys need to make sure the timing is just right, no? And not do stupid things that can compromise what little security we may have. Because you never know when your family will start stealing from you, the vandals will ransack your store and the ground will turn to Jell-o.
What me worry? Security? Anyway, what would I do with it if I actually had it?
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Jack D. Deal is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at www.jddeal.com and www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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