Some thanks to give

Are your lights on; gas  to cook all that food?  Traffic lights?  When you start washing pots and pans, will there be water? If your flambé dessert sets the curtains on fire, think the fire department will be working?  Was your supermarket open this morning for all the stuff you forgot to buy yesterday?  Taking the bus or train to relatives’ this afternoon?

Lots of people are working today, and they’ll be back on Christmas and New Year’s Day, so we can enjoy the holidays.  I hope they’re getting overtime, but they’re still working and we’re not. Say something nice to a cop or firefighter if you come upon one, and the checkout clerk at the market, and save a thought for the guy looking at dials at the waterworks and power stations.  And the engineer at the radio station cueing up pre-recorded tapes.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

4 thoughts on “Some thanks to give”

  1. I recall overhearing a galley conversation between two flight attendants, one apparently a veteran and the other a rookie, several years ago around this time of year. Apparently the rookie's lack of seniority had her working Christmas day.

    Rookie: "So what's it like working Christmas?"

    Veteran: "It's easy. The flights are half empty, and the passengers are so grateful you're flying that day."

    And lets not forget the ER staffs and the nursing staffs who are on duty.

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