In my version of “The Sixth Sense,” the tortured little boy played by Haley Joel Osment whispers a slightly different terrible secret: “I see deadlines.” OK, dead people are spookier, but deadlines have their moments. Those of you who procrastinate know of what I speak.
As a magazine editor, deadlines are what keep me up at night, both figuratively and literally. (I have been known to pop out of bed at 2:30 a.m. to finish writing an article like this one.) And when I’m lucky enough to sleep soundly, I often dream of uncompleted assignments — sitting frozen at my computer and staring helplessly into the unnatural glow of the monitor.
For journalists, deadlines are an occupational hazard. We need them the way a bullfighter needs a bull. They force us to move quickly at the right moment (as the deadline nears), even as they simultaneously imperil our peace of mind. Without deadlines, our lives would be less stressful, but less fulfilling.
And your ‘sixth sense’?
As a school bus professional, you have your own sixth sense. What is it you see when you stare into the darkness? With children’s lives at stake, it’s hard to imagine that you don’t conjure some terrifying images and suffer through some fretful nights.
To gain some insight into your fears, worries and general angst, we posted the following question in our Website Forum (www.schoolbusfleet.com/forum) as February’s Question of the Month: “What major safety concerns keep you up at night?”
Here’s a sampling of the responses:
For more industry responses, see “Question of the Month” in the Industry News on pg. 20.
It’s not all gloom
It would be misleading to suggest that we spend all our lives worrying. For every moment of concern and doubt, there are hundreds of moments of comfort and satisfaction. School transportation, especially, is filled with incredible achievement by hundreds of thousands of highly motivated, well-trained and right-thinking individuals.
But we can never let our success turn into complacency. A little zealous doubt now and then is probably good for the soul.
All of us face work-related uncertainties every day. We learn to live with them or we change what we do. It’s a constant fight against unnamed enemies, both real and imaginary. In the end, the occasional sleepless nights are worth the price of what we accomplish.