Recently, I came across a poster from the Red Cross with a publication date of 1978. Nope, this notice wasn't caught in the back of a drawer, and it hadn't slipped behind a bookcase... the notice was posted on the wall right alongside a poster with the current federal regulations on employees' rights to unionize. Being a curious sort, I started reading the poster -- the poster was entitled "When Breathing Stops" and it began with what to do in the event you come across someone who appeared to be unconscious.
According to this poster, upon seeing a person who is apparently unconscious, the first step is to tap them on the shoulder and shout 'ARE YOU OK?'
I know this is a very serious topic, but as I read this instruction and envisioned this scenario, I burst out laughing. Fortunately I was not drinking tea at the time, as I would most certainly have spit it out. I mean - really? You tap them on the shoulder and shout 'ARE YOU OK?' (sorry to shout, but - you know...)
I began by sharing this with co-workers, most of whom found it as amusing as I did, and we chuckled at the age of the poster .. until we got to the last co-worker. Turns out he's trained in CPR, and that this is still what you are supposed to do. You tap the person on the shoulder to get their attention... and you determine what their situation is by asking if they're ok, to see if they respond and how they respond.
Well it's still funny, but at least now it does make a bit of sense.
And then I started thinking about it a bit more.
And you know what? Not only does it make sense, but it makes a lot of sense, and not just if you suspect someone might be in need of CPR.
Someone seems sad, or distracted, or even asleep at their desk? You could ignore them.... you could jump in and assume you know how to 'fix' them. But you could also tap them on the shoulder and ask them if they're ok. How about someone you haven't heard from in a long time? You could mutter something about them finding you if they want to talk.. or you could tap them on the shoulder and ask if they're ok.
Hmmm. That advice might be 35 years old, but I think it has withstood the test of time. If anything, it's more valid than it ever was. I don't think the shouting is usually necessary, but I think it would be a good thing if there was a bit more shoulder-tapping, and a bit more asking the question Are you Ok.
I was going to take that poster down, but I think I'll leave it.
Don't mind me... I'm just sitting here sipping my tea. And yes, I'm ok.