I took a new job about 10 years into my safety career. My direct supervisor was the president of the organization. At 7:30 am on the first day of work at the company, I met with my new supervisor so we could lay the foundation of building a safety program. It turned out to be a very short meeting because he only had a few things to say; he mostly wanted to know what questions I had. I asked him two questions: “What are my work hours?” and “What are your expectations for the position?” Regarding the work hours, he told me that the hours are mine to figure out—just get the job done—create a best-in-class safety program. Regarding the expectations, his first words were, “Get involved in your trade organization and participate.” I found this a bit funny because I was going to ask permission to stay involved with the ASSP. He noted that it was a requirement for my continued development. He was a very intelligent and well-educated man, and he was a renowned leader in the construction industry—because he was plugged in to his “trade organization.” He knew the value of being involved in the trade organization of one’s career.
My message here? This is a huge part of being in the safety career field. Each of us may be serving our company well, but I firmly believe that if we are not involved in the safety community, we are not serving to our full potential. In other words, we are holding our potential back from our employers and ourselves. The networking, the moral and uplifting support, the knowledge base, and the friendships have become so important to me. Sometimes I get cynical about the day-to-day goings on because it seems that there is no finish line in our career field. However, when I go to an ASSP chapter meeting or event, I see so many people with varying, but positive, perspectives and I feel inspired to keep up the effort.
For your team, for the safety community, and for your self-development, may I suggest that you consider attending the monthly meetings for the local chapter of the ASSP. At the Southern Oregon Chapter, you will get to know people who are on a similar path, and when you build those types of relationships, you will gain more than you are putting in. It is worth the time and effort. Maybe not on the first or second meeting, but as you go, you will find it to be a very wise effort for your professional career.
If you are already actively participating, keep it up because you are making a difference in the safety community.