Lately there have been a number of issues which have brought a small cloud of gloom and doom over my house here in the Village of Adelphia. Maybe worry would be a better term, or perhaps even concern. One issue involves a project upon which I have been laboring. The other involves my health. Now I know that I should be more concerned about my health, but it is this project that has just become a real bear to handle.
Anyway, I want to share these things with you. These issues have caused me to pause and ponder the manner in which I am living my life. My life is by no means perfect however, I keep good notes. In this way I can discuss what is happening to me and how I react to it, in hopes that maybe it can help you deal with the alligators which are in the swamp you are attempting to drain.
Let me lay this out simply. Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a project, or some other sort of thing you had done many times before, and then suddenly felt uncomfortable about what it was that you were doing? I know that this has happened to me on a number of occasions during my career as a firefighter, officer, or consultant. However, it has never been this bad.
There were times during my career in Newark where I found myself in places not of my own making or choosing. Many were the times where I felt uncomfortable. Not that I was breaking a law or violating a regulation. No, I just found myself to be in a place where I felt I should not have been.
It is never a good thing when you are feeling disquieted within, because of the doubts which come rushing into you mind, along with the bad feelings. I saw a particularly telling quotation in my local newspaper recently. It caught my eye instantly and riveted itself into my mind's eye. Let me share it with you.
"To ignore your conscience is to invite trouble."
Given the wide array of political garbage being spewed from our televisions into our homes this election season, perhaps this is a phrase that should be branded onto the forehead of every individual running for elected office. It is also a critical bit of advice for people who provide consulting advice to clients in the fire service (or in any field of endeavor for that matter).
There is another way of saying this that makes it even more relevant and easily identified for each of us. I say to you that if something feels wrong, do not do it. If something really feels wrong to you, then it is probably something you should refrain from doing. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong. This is particularly true if it is something which is patently offensive to the instincts by which we are supposed to live our lives.
Now my friends let me take a few moments to describe my own current quandary. I am in the midst of a project now that has started to feel wrong: really wrong. I have done scores of similar projects over the past quarter of a century and of course I am no stranger to controversy. However this is the first time that everything about the project has assumed an aura of wrongness. I now find that there are players in this equation who really have no business adding their voices to the fray.
As is my way, I shall avoid mentioning names and places. However this whole assignment has so thoroughly upset me that I have chosen to consider withdrawing from the project. I have invested far more time and effort in it than the retainer which I received for my efforts would justify, but money is not an issue here. I am sure that those about whom I am writing will see through the verbiage and consider the depth and range of my quandary.
I am at a point in my consulting career where I am entertaining doing something that I have never done before. I may well be on the verge of sending the client's retainer funds back to them with a warning. The agency in question desperately needs help, however the environment is strewn with a series of potential landmines, both obvious and hidden.