It’s Better to Be Kind Than Clever
When I think back on my 30-year plus industrial hygiene career, I am struck by how powerful my memories are of the interactions I had with people, versus the tools I worked with as I plied my trade on the factory floor. Dealing with the vagaries of mere mortals can run the gambit from inspiring, to sobering, to frustrating — but it is never dull. And there is no technological replacement for the truth that "people don't care what you know until they know you care." Maybe what separates exceptional EHS practitioners from "average" ones is that they care more.
As William C. Taylor reminds us in his book "Simply Brilliant" (2016) we all "crave small gestures of kindness that remind us what is means to be human." Taylor tells of the touching conversation between a young Jeff Bezos and his grandfather resulting in Jeff being gently yet firmly told: "One day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever."
As we continue to advance along with the latest clever tools at our disposal, may we also continue to evolve toward kindness. For it is those simple acts of compassion that not only make us better people, but better industrial hygienists and better EHS practitioners, too.