Beverly B. Media and Communications

Return to Normalcy

by Beverly B. Media and Communications

Hurricane Sandy has leveled homes, changed landscapes, and given us a glimpse into the heart of man. While thousands of people wait in line for hours for gas and usually docile people are pushed to physically protecting their property, everyone is looking forward to the day when everything will return to normal.  For some it will be a new type of normal.

Everyone copes with crisis differently some like to move on quickly while others like to linger, clearly New York Mayor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is one that likes to move on quickly. His decision to continue with the annual ING Marathon caused uproar among New Yorkers still sifting through rubble and lost memories.  Many wondered how he could pull vital man power and resources from damaged areas just to continue with a race.  There has even been talk about pushing back elections; the presidential candidates have also changed their focus in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Mayor Bloomberg appeared to be more concerned about New York’s “tougher than most” image instead of the task at hand.  Under intense scrutiny Mayor Bloomberg cancelled the race just two days before it was to take place, he is now being criticized by the runners who traveled from near and far and shelled out a lot of money to take place in the race.  In a time when the gap between the rich and everyone else continues to grow ever wider this can be viewed as another example of the wealthy being oblivious to what others are going through, no matter their political affiliate.  You will be surprised to know I am not writing this feature to share my opinion about the marathon but to ask…when should we return to normalcy after a tragedy and who decides when it’s time?

The sudden loss of my aunt this summer knocked everyone for a loop.  She was young, a devout Christian, vegetarian, and very active, but one morning a brain aneurism took her from us.  However as time progressed we all returned to our regularly scheduled life.   Don’t get me wrong we all still miss her, especially as the holidays approach, but we know we can’t die because she did; this is not the case for everyone.  When it is an individual loss and you mourn too long the masses will tell you to pick yourself up and dust yourself off because your loved one would not like to see you like this.  If the loss is of a greater capacity like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, or 9-11 the tables turn and the masses are not able to move on so easily.  Example, we still commemorate Peal Harbor.

"From a friend's FB, this is the line for the shuttle buses to Manhattan this morning."Do you continue with an event that you have worked on for months, that the people were looking forward to, and was going to financially help various charities? Or do you cancel because it appears to be in bad taste?  My answer… what does your target audience want?  In the time of need is this event being a help or a burden?  Remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions.   Everyone would love to return to a time when people were not rationing gas,  where lines around the Barclays Center were actually to get into the center and not to get onto a bus, and their homes still existed, but this is not the case no matter how hard we close our eyes and wish upon a star. Normal is not a constant it is ever changing for the better and for the worse.  It was once normal to own slaves, smoke indoors, and get free baggage claim.  So before we begin pushing to get back to normal let’s step back and see what that normal actually will be.

Click here to find out how to make donations to the American Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.


One comment on “Return to Normalcy

  1. Anne Kleinman
    November 5, 2012

    I think that the best guide is to follow the cues of those who have been effected by the tragedy or natural disaster.

    After 9/11, we, who are in New York, and where one of the partners of our company was injured when the first Tower came down on him and his fellow volunteer paramedics, wanted to get back to work. We were looking to keep our business running and service our customers. On the other hand, for weeks, almost everyone who called in, vendors and customers from across the country wanted to know where we were, did anything happen and on and on.

    By the same token one of our clients who had a large client base in the area of Ground Zero, used to make the rounds before the holidays delivering gifts personally. He felt that to show up in December of 2001 in the area of Ground Zero looking like Santa was not an appropriate response. I did not disagree, and instead that year he sent a letter letting everyone know that a charitable contribution had been made in their honor. Where I think the client missed the opportunity was that the same letter could have come in the mail fitted into an inexpensive, but elegant picture frame with his logo and the simple words “with best wishes for 2002. This would have conveyed the somber tone and still had it feel like a gift for the clients. A bit of a “pick-me-up”. In his new reality, he has never gone back to giving gifts and just sends off the letter each year. While making the charitable contribution is not only a nice gesture, but also an important part of being a good corporate citizen, when dealing in a business relationship, one must be aware that the extra gesture of a holiday gift, however small is meaningful and appreciated. In other words, in creating a new reality of normal, it is important to look at all of the sides and then make a plan.

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