This is the essay title I've just been presented with. What can I say?
I'm not one to love the safety in numbers theory, or even agree with it because, I suppose, it has never happened to me. Dictionary.com would have me believe safety is somwething where I am 'free from the occuance or risk of injury, danger or loss.' Physical things. But I do not think anyone can be truly physically safe until we feel mentally safe not just with ourselves but with those around us. Where do I feel safe the most? Well, honestly, work. Not with my friends or with my family or under streetlights. Of course, I am sure this is what they aimed for when they employed me. Not much use putting me in danger, getting me killed and then being sued.
Work, for me, is my safest place. How can it not be with all the legal requirements? 'One skip, one lid', 'keep clear' and 'no obstruction' signs often take centre stage in our stock rooms. Someone once told me we were a reactive race as opposed to a proactive one; something has to happen before we warn others about it. If someone tells you to 'stand and deliver', you deliver. You do not question the rule because it is there because it has to be, and because you would not be there without it. The fact that ones employer must conform to set safety standards creates security and routine. Because we use ladders, I know it is pretty unlikely I will fall from the shelves.
Of course, it doesn't always work so methodically. Rules, by the very nature of them when imposed in our free society, can always be broken. Those ladders, few use them. I was with a colleague who just scaled the shelves like some sort of animal. And some people disclaim Darwin's evolution theory? Despite all this, there is the option of using that dusty old ladder but what the boss doesn't know can't hurt him.
All these rules and standards would be completely empty though if I did not feel safe with my colleagues. If I did not trust them I would never feel safe. It was T.S.Ellion that said 'those that trust is educate us'. If I did not trust my manager to make sure the shelving units were secure, I would not feel safe roaming the stockrooms on my own. If I did not trust my colleagues to try to catch me should I fall I would not be able to walk up the stairs to the lockers. If I did not trust them to trust me I would not trust them. I love them. A woman, known for her generally bad temper, came in when I was in my first week there and James, my assistant manager, abruptly stopped what he was doing behind me and came over to order his already ordered paperwork beside me. Should I have had need of him, he would have been there. That is trust. He never mentioned his intentions but neither did I mention what I noticed.
I suppose I should mention conformist responses. Wrapped up in a duvet, surrounded by my family or laughing with my friends. Yes, I do feel safe with them. Because, if it comes down to the bare minimum, I have to. I'm prone to fainting and I spend about twelve hours with one person who reassures me she knows what to do. She might be lying, but I have to trust her because she's the one most likely to be with me should I go.
My family? No, I never feel safe with them. I have always been a dissapointment to them. Yes, here I go some conflicted and inexperienced teenager rambling about how unfair life is and how she, like every other teenager, hates her parents. On paper my parents are great; they let me drink, let me throw parties and they let me have people over whenever. But it's me they have a problem with. The girl who acts like a boy, who doesn't wear decent clothes or make-up, who plays football and frisbee and hates shopping; the only Christian. I have to be on my guard to make sure I don't get shouted at because I will get angry and I will win the fight.
But at work? I don't have to pretend to be someone different. I can be the football playing, no make up wearing, Christian around them. Because it doesn't matter.