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The Importance Of Socks

March 10, 2014

I love camping.

I have five sons. All five are Boy Scouts. One is a Star Rank, two are 1st Class and the youngest two are working on their Tenderfoot awards. I’ve been involved with scouting since I joined my first troop in 1976 at the age of 11. I earned an Eagle Scout award with two palms. I’ve been an assistant scoutmaster, a scoutmaster, a Webelos leader, a cub master, and several other positions in the scouting organizations.

I’ve spent a lot of nights sleeping on the ground. In all that time, I’ve discovered the difference between experienced campers and inexperienced campers, the key to camping comfort: socks.

I’m not talking about the actual kind of socks. You can buy special hiking socks that cost $20 per pair, or wear simple white athletic socks that cost $10 for a pack of 6. The difference is not that great. But, just having socks, enough socks makes the difference between a miserable trip and an enjoyable trip.

And here’s why. If you fall in the lake and get totally drenched, if you can put on dry socks you will feel better. Two years ago a family here in Utah got lost in the snow while Christmas Tree hunting. They managed to survive for two days until they were finally rescued. One thing that surprised them was that their feet were warmer without wet socks on.

Anyone who spends much time in the outdoors can tell you that it’s because cotton socks will suck the heat out of your feet, especially if they are wet. Wool socks, on the other hand hold the heat when they get wet.

So, what’s this have to do with business?

I was thinking about this last Friday night as I shared a tent with my two youngest sons. The temperature got down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit that night. It was cold enough to leave frost on the tent. My boys though reported that they were snug and warm all night long in their sleeping bags. They had put on clean pajamas and dry socks before they went to bed.

Yes, but what’s it have to do with business?

I’m considering going to work for a new company. Naturally, I went through a series of interviews with them. The position looks interesting and they seem impressed with my background.

And yet, this is not an industry I’ve worked in, at least not as a project manager. How do I know I can be a success? How do I know that I’ll be able to do the things they want me to?

Socks.

Not actual socks, although I’ll be wearing them everyday. Instead, the business equivalent of socks.

See, in all the scouting books I’ve read over the years. All the trainings I’ve been to. All the merit badges that I’ve earned and helped others earn, there was never a mention of the vital importance of socks.

It was something I worked out on my own. And I know that whether we are doing a summer camp, a winter camp, a 50 mile trip, or simply an overnighter in a park, socks are going to be important.

I’ve spent the last 10 years learning to be a project manager. I’ve had classes, I’ve taken exams, I’ve written training. And I’ve learned how to be a PM.

The closest to a one word solutions I’ve found for Project Management work is, communication. Nearly every situation, or every problem can be improved with better communication and will suffer with worse communication.

So, that’s the secret to my success. . .socks!

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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2 Comments
  1. Shanna permalink

    This explains why my feet were always cold when I camped-no socks. And it’s a good analogy too.

    • I take the amount of socks I think I’ll need. Then I add an extra pair. Then, I put ANOTHER pair into a sealed ziplock bag with some paper and matches. Because when you fall in the lake, your pack gets wet too!

      We did a campout last year with my older boys and they followed my advice. There was another scout who showed up with just a sleeping back and no gear. The next morning my boys were fine, this other poor kid who slept in his clothes nearly had hypothermia.

      I have to admit, I really wanted to write about camping with my boys today and maybe stretched the “business” purpose a little thin. 😉

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