We sit here, day 2 into ‘Lockdown 2’ and many like me start to ponder “what is going on with the world?”
I don’t mean the pandemic or the “what on earth are we going to do with the time over the next 4/5 weeks” – but the social media talk.
Instructors attacking other instructors, people attacking the government and goodness knows who or what else. Why? Well people won’t admit it, but we are all a little bit scared. These times do not meet our ‘status quo’. We like our routines, we like our comfort zones and we like to know where are next meal is coming from.
There will always be 2 or more camps in every discussion or argument. In argument, I use the educational form in different accounts rather than the shouting and arguing form. Look at the lockdown itself. One camp says “we need to lock down to protect our families” another camp says “we need to go to work to protect our families”. It probably depends on factors such as whether you get any form of support. But each side’s rationale is born out of fear. I did laugh though when I saw some Minister say that those not receiving support were all in the £200,000 a year income bracket. Yeah I wish!
This lockdown feels a little unjust for the driving schools and many want to continue working. Some can’t see the reason for this, again they fear the spread of the virus will be greater if we all work, whilst others see something that they built up disappearing from them. This is one of my personal fears. Being rational, I know that everything will all be built back up, but fear plays a big part in all our lives even if we don’t admit it.
We see all manner of business still open as usual. Yesterday, my heating engineer called to book in the annual gas service and safety certificate for a property I own. And I spoke to the garage to see what happens about my camper’s MOT as it’s now 18 months since the last one due to being extended before. “Lockdown? What lockdown?” were almost his words. Business as usual for them too. But then I see a colleague from a business group, trying to deal with his company being hit hard and his business will not have the advantage of the driving school industry. After all, when the ‘doors open again’ – we will have a massive influx of customers.
Pupils are devastated over driving tests. Cancelled, again! Some are getting rebooking’s in March next year, some cry this is not fair. Maybe we should cancel all tests and slide them all back a month – but what would those with tests in December and January think?
Earlier this week, the DVSA announced that driving tests and lessons would be suspended until at least December 2nd
Then there is the DVSA. I’ve seen lots of attacks and criticism of them. There is no one person pulling the strings, but they are a government organisation. When the second lockdown was announced I expect lots of heads of departments were called together to discuss the impact of each and every decision. I hear they did not have a choice, but were also told to shut. This would have been a relief to the decision makers within the DVSA. In something the size of the DVSA, there are so many different aspects to be considered and like government, whatever they do will be wrong for some.
In these times, it is impossible for anyone to make a decision that will please everyone. Take all the support schemes, yes money is coming, but what will be the eventual cost? Everyone of us will pay it back in one form or another even if you did not receive any support or very little.
Sometimes I feel the real virus is the social media. Yes, it keeps us informed but it allows all to easily false rumours and misread quotes to spread so fast. We’ve all seen it.
We all need to remember, everyone of us is worrying about our future and are led by our own personal fears. They may be different than the next person’s, but they are still fears. Trying to look forward into how we can fill the time productively helps, but just filling the time is OK. Keeping our business running or ready is enough for now, growth can come later.
I find it interesting too, that as we look back on every generation, something major has happened. World wars, plagues and all manner of pandemics. They are like memories often only mentioned in history books now and I’m sure our grandchildren will talk of the great COVID virus one day as history too.
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.