In my professional life, Risk assessment and mitigation is a daily goal. My team discusses and outlines the present risks and objectives to the goals of the day. We each sign our safety plan and have dedicated risk awareness and reporting documentation throughout the day. It's what it takes to work in a DOD secured facility at a global defense supplier. It's impossible to remove risk, but you can take steps to mitigate that risk. The first and most important step is knowing what risks you are taking and learning the steps and equipment required to mitigate that risk.
Ryan over at http://www.totalsurvivalist.com/ is doing a 4 part series on this idea and his take on risk management. Having a large amount of training on the subject, my thoughts were to kick start some discussion and hypothetical situations. Not sure if I'll get it all done in this post, but I'd like to get it started.
We take risks, it's unavoidable. What we want to do is mitigate them as best possible. What types of risks are we speaking about? Oh shall we count the ways! Risks come in both easily identifiable and innocuous wrappers. Even the smallest risks can become catastrophic is we fail to heed the warnings and pay attention to them.
The first and foremost that come to mind in the preparedness lifestyle would be risk to your body. Injuries, sickness, hunger, and thirst. Be sure to include mental acuity in your bodily risks. Next would be financial risk, followed closely by Legal, which is tied directly to financial risk. Lastly, I would include your reputation as a risk to be mitigated. We operate based on our perception by others. If I started to slip and didn't do my job correctly, but went through the motions, my job, financial means and reputation would be at risk. These are all tied in together and we have to look into our lives with a cold, calculating heart to truly assess our risks without the emotional baggage and ties.
When calculating risks, you need to decide what losses you are willing to incur in exchange for the prize you are striving for. If you are like most, you are trading your time and energy for a paycheck or earnings. Your risks associated with that process are far more encompassing than you may think. It's not just trading time for money, it's trading time, safety, overhead, reputation, skill and energy for financial gain. Your work day starts at let's say 7am, but your risk starts long before then. There is a literal train of risk associated with even getting to work. The act of taking a shower kills thousands of people a year! Add the risks of driving, especially in the dark, and you're starting to see what I'm talking about.
Mitigating those risks is where we need to focus, because most aren't in a position to just stop going to work. If you're like most (me included), you take a cup of coffee or water with you to re-hydrate or re-energize yourself. Drinking or eating can distract you from the road, leading to a higher incidence of accidents. Avoiding rush hour is another way to mitigate your risk. Driving to the job an hour early and grabbing breakfast at a shop near work can mitigate the beverage and rush hour risks. Choosing a path to work with the least amount of stoplights and interchanges can also mitigate risks due to the fact that these are the places with the higher accident rates. Even driving a car with a bright color instead of gray can help mitigate your risk.
My entire family was or is in the insurance business. They are experts in knowing risks. One of my parents was an underwriter for many different companies over their career. I was always told to never buy a gray or earth toned car because they can disappear in the rear view mirror of your fellow drivers. They have a higher risk of accidents due to being the same color as the road. Day time headlamps help with this.
Stress is a killer, both literally and figuratively. Trading your limited time for a job that makes that time you have on this earth shorter is a poor choice. A bad trade, as it were, so consider this when you are deciding your compensation package. Those with heart disease genetic risks should be especially cognizant of these risks.
Parking close to the doors of the business has a risk. Higher traffic levels open your risk corridor to vehicular damage to your car, which devalues your vehicle. Additional risk!
Is the area where you work high risk for theft, violent crime or identity theft? Can you walk home or get help to you if there is a need? Does your company have a safety plan in place with proper access controls? Is your job inherently dangerous? Are you at risk from upset employees, customers, suppliers, the general public, disease, etc? Do you eat healthy at work?
This list goes on forever. How can you mitigate the risks you have no control over? Carry first aid. Wash your hands. Be aware of your surroundings. Learn to defend yourself without a weapon if you cannot carry one at work. Improvise a weapon or decorate your office with a piece of art that can be a weapon. Lock your office door to control access. If you don't have a lock, use a door stopper.
You will double your traffic exposure on your drive home, so act accordingly.
Evaluate the most mundane tasks, such as going to work, in order to understand your exposure to risks. It's important for you to weigh the compensation you are getting for the exposure. It's all about your personal worth.
Personally, I very elegantly talked my wife into telecommuting for her job. She is pretty high up in the food chain at her NASDAQ top 100 global company, but she still gets to work from home in yoga pants and a t shirt. I have to admit, she's a horrible driver. Great wife and mother, excellent employment opportunities and growth potential. Yet not a soul in my family will drive with her. We mitigated her risk. It's entirely possible for you to do the same.