Blog #9 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- JUST GOT BACK FROM ISRAEL
Another bucket list item bites the dust. Of all my trips to foreign locales, this one surprised me the most. If you examine just the topography, it is difficult to see why there were so many wars to dominate the area. It's primarily a barren wasteland. We never saw any topsoil that wasn't imported, and that includes the ports on the Mediterranean Sea. One can only imagine that whoever chose to make their home there were a very determined breed, and they weren't going to give up what they worked so hard to cultivate to strangers.
One thing I brought back home I wish I hadn't was a cold. And this wasn't any ordinary cold. This one was mean spirited and it doesn't want to leave. I'm in my third week of trying to shake it, but little progress so far. It has put a crimp in my writing. I simple don't have the energy. However, I've been doing a lot of thinking how I need to improve the basic story of TDIITD. I plan to keep it in chronological order, which makes it more difficult to leave clues along the way that are subtle but available to the reader. TDIITD will also have a plot that comes together after coming at the reader from several directions.
I'd like to mention how my years as a member of my company's emergency response team shaped me and my career. At the time I was first asked to be a part of the company's incident response efforts the company was taking a big risk by placing so much trust in me at such a young age. I may have shown some talent as a negotiator, or that I had a cool head in a crisis in other roles, but to be thrown in as the lead claims adjuster/investigator/government liaison was a real surprise, not just to me, but to the rest of my coworkers. I did alright, even better on my second incident. I ended up responding to over thirty-two emergency incidents. I loved it. It was always a huge adrenalin rush for me.
What I learned was monumental to me. One huge thing was the use of honesty instead of the legacy of deception and mistrust that was the personality of the energy industry when things went sideways. It was so simple, and it made our jobs so much easier. When you are asked questions you don't have answers for, you tell them just that. Never speculate. Never predict. Give them the facts as you find and verify them. Eventually you will find the truth, and when you do, you promise to tell them. Here's the trick that satisfies the lawyers: If you find all the facts lead to your company being at fault, you never admit blame. You simply tell them: If the facts point to your company being at fault your company will take its medicine. Then you negotiate the best settlement you can. When the settlement is signed you admit to screwing up, vowing to take steps to never making the same mistakes again. The public and the regulators love it when handle it that way. And here's the beauty of it - it saves the company so much money. Deception and running away from your responsibilities leads to expensive lawsuits that you eventually lose. In doing so you also lose the public's trust and that of the regulator, and that haunts your company for decades. It also makes the company dedicate its best talent to this distraction instead of running the company.
There is nothing like coming into an emergency crisis with the media and regulator on your side, treating you with trust and respect. It's also a huge motivator and confidence builder for your coworkers. I fed off it, and it gave me so much confidence in every other job in my career.
It may have also given me the confidence to write novels. I promise that my second novel will be better than my first. I learned so much.