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Beyond Blame by Dave Zwieback

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Chapter 10. The Second Victim

“How do you think I’m doing?” Mike shot back at Bill. They were sitting across from each other at a diner not far from Mike’s house. It was Saturday, and they’d just ordered breakfast. Then Mike sighed, and said, “I’m sorry for snapping. It’s just that it felt pretty awful to have my career at the firm end that way.”

“We’ve been talking a lot about you,” Bill said. “Linda and Ollie and I.”

“Yeah?”

“And also about what happened—the outage. We’re learning that we haven’t been dealing with outages in the best ways. Or with our people.”

“Really? I just keep replaying it in my head, and all that I can come up with is, ‘What a stupid mistake!’ I’ve been doing this for close to 20 years, and I behaved like a total newbie. I totally deserved being fired. I would have probably resigned in shame anyway.”

“I hear you, Mike. I’ve been there myself, both in my career and as an E.M.T. Thinking, ‘If only I got there a minute earlier, I could have saved her.’ Or seeing in retrospect so clearly what I should have done, and feeling like an idiot for not doing it.”

“That pretty much sums up how I’m doing.”

“But here’s the thing, Mike—a few things, actually. Do you think anyone would have done anything different from what you did?”

Mike turned toward the window, which overlooked a busy highway. He was still for a few moments before speaking. “Well, who knows? I guess I’m glad it was me, and not any of the guys.”

“Mike, the one thing I’m sure of is that if it weren’t ...

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