Your job is manual labor. You install and repair air conditioning units, ducts, parts, etc. in one of the hottest cities, temperature-wise and metaphorically, around: Las Vegas, NV. You are called to the Women's prison on the other side of town to repair (what else?) the air conditioning. You must climb a 12-foot ladder to access the inside of a duct/shaft with an open hatch that reaches into the Las Vegas sky.

The hatch is locked into place and you begin your work: tedious, time-consuming work in a small, cramped area. The wind begins to pick up and a strong gust loosens the hatch, sending it crashing onto your head. Thank goodness you have a hard hat on but the force of the hit knocks your 6'5" frame off the ladder, down the shaft, crashing to the floor in a heap. A floor-buffer breaks your fall and a broom stick set to impale you snaps in two. As you slump to the floor, pain fills the left side of your body, which has taken the brunt of the fall.

Thank goodness for the two guards that must accompany you at all times while in this maximum-security facility. They have witnessed this freak sequence of events and notify emergency personnel immediately and you are rushed to the hospital. Through a series of tests and examinations, you are released albeit warned of the ensuing soreness and pain that will, no doubt, arrive at your doorstep shortly. A freak accident with an unbelievably non-paralyzing or life-taking result.

This actually happened to my brother yesterday during what should have been his normal shift. He will be returning to work tomorrow, aching I'm sure but no worse for the wear (and tear). Upon hearing this story, interestingly enough, I thought of the twists and turns that arrive at each of our jobs daily; when the course of our day is altered so severely that a new strategy must be developed and fast. I thought about the spontaneous, unexpected jolts that hit almost every job. I thought about the preparation that each of us must accomplish in order to withstand the gusts that knock us back a step or two or cause us to waver and fall.

Do you have a hard hat? Do you wear it? Are you ready for the tough questions your client or hiring manager will surely ask? Are ready to give a full reporting of an interview and weed out the kinks that may make your candidate ill-prepared or less than enthusiastic when they enter the lion's den of a final or panel interview? Do you backfill your candidate field in case your rock star falls? Have you made the decision of who it is you truly represent, the hiring manager or the candidate or maybe just yourself? You will never be ready for every fall, but you can have a back-up plan in place. Because just like my brother, you still have to climb that ladder again tomorrow.

© by rayannethorn

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I have taken up a new hobby of woodworking. Your advice is very sound. I always wear my eye protection, dust mask, and the best safety tip, I don't work on a project if I am feeling tired. I haven't thought about being as prepared for the unforseen in work, but now I may have to try to ask the question, 'What could go wrong?'

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