Do Today’s Work as Well as You Can, And Tomorrow’s as Well Also (reflecting on the price of oil, and musicians on the Titanic)

When it’s beyond your control…

Titanic musiciansDo you remember the scene in the movie Titanic, near the end, when the members of the string ensemble played Nearer My God to Thee as the ship goes down? It is apparently a true story, based on eye-witness accounts.

For some reason, I thought of that scene as I read that the price of a barrel of oil is now just over $30.00. The front page of yesterday’s busienss section of the Dallas Morning News quotes an economist stating that if oil stays under $40-$50 a barrel, job growth will not be likely for the state.

And underlying this is a reminder: a person can be really good at his/her job, but if circumstances get out of hand, circumstances truly beyond one’s control, then the best work ethic and the most diligent of efforts, one’s very best work, will not be enough to bring success.

In other words, if the ship is sinking, the music will not keep the ship afloat. And if the price of oil is so low that it makes it impossible to pull the oil out of the ground at a profit, the best oil-field workers and oil company managers ever will not keep that ship afloat for long…

On the other hand, who would call those musicians on the Titanic a failure? I wouldn’t. They did what they could, as well as they could, for as long as they could.

It almost reminds us of the famous John Wesley challenge:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Or… do your job today as well as you can. And then, if things change enough, if need be, do tomorrow’s new, different job as well as you can.


This is probably the new reality for many, don’t you think?


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