Deciding how to isolate yourself, your project or family is a lot like choosing a lifeboat. Any ocean vessel must isolate the people and goods on board from waves and weather, so the boat you’re on is generally crucial for your quality of life and your very survival. The size, equipment, traveling companions and itinerary all demand careful consideration before you think about getting on board.
A smaller boat can be more maneuverable, better equipped to clear reefs and shoals, and less likely to have aggressive or unfriendly people aboard since there are fewer of them. A large ship can be more stable in heavy seas and far better equipped for comfort and safety and will often have a larger, more qualified crew. These are generalities, however, and every journey will deliver surprises. It’s great to prepare, when possible, but the fact is, we can’t always choose the vessel, as it may be chosen for us without any consultation.
Big life boats are a mixed bag
The planet Earth is a good example. We were born here, so our options are limited. There is much to be said for it, in that it is well equipped to isolate us from the harsh vacuum and radiation of space, and it is stocked with food, shelter and a long list of entertaining things to do. On the other hand, who chooses to board a ship knowing that it is loaded with passengers unable to agree about who booked what cabin, who eats in what dining room and who is the Captain.
Worse still, there are 195 captains who can’t agree on how to set the thermostat, much less on navigation. And don’t get me started about the number of passengers and crew with serious communicable diseases. What a mess!
Since we have no better options than Earth, lets consider what we can actually change, when isolation is a choice.
I mention life boats and our planet because they provide a great contrast between small isolation and isolation that is huge. This highlights the fact that when we “go big” in our isolation choices, there can be painful consequences to that choice. Of course to “micro-size” can be just as bad, as many boat refugees find out the hard way.
This is true in our homes and work, as well. While an extra large refrigerator or oven can come in handy at times, they require more frequent cleaning, more energy to operate and may require more expensive maintenance. That isn’t a good life choice for the couple that mostly eats out, or has small dinners for two.
These same issues are at play for the R/D or clinical laboratory that must decide on a cryogenic freezer, incubator or isolation glove box. If this equipment is right-sized, it can provide substantial returns in efficient, effective, quality results. If undersized, it may be a bottleneck that limits the quantity of work that can be done, or scope of business. If over-sized or over-specified, it may be more difficult to operate, less reliable and more costly to maintain, limiting speed, cost effectiveness and competitiveness of the business.
The bottom line is simple; whether in life or in business it is important to understand the demands of the trip we are to make, and choose a vehicle properly sized and equipped for that journey.
Editor, Fail-Safe Isolation
Photo by Eddy Boom on Unsplash