‘Big Brother’ and the Wolves

Image credit: http://anxiety-stresscenter.com/feeding-positivity/

This post is provided by guest blogger, J. Mike Condreay, graduate student at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, MS in Training and Development program.

There is a Cherokee legend that tells of two wolves.  The chief tells the tale of these two wolves who fight constantly.  One wolf represents evil, the other good.  When the young Indian asks who wins, the old chief responds, “The one you feed”  (Unknown, 2020). 

As a nuclear power training manager, every aspect of the training that we provide to our operators is regulated by the federal government through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  ‘Big Brother’ becomes one the wolves in my work life, the other being timely training.  In my situation neither wolf is good nor evil, but both vie for supremacy in all we do.  I must address the gaps of my operators in a timely fashion, but I also must balance the requirements of the law in order to achieve this.  The jaws and claws of the wolves are replaced with the calls and emails of the agencies and my customers, each vying for dominance, neither capable of achieving it. 

The struggle between these two entities is tiring and often feels like a lonely battle.  In researching the issue, I discovered that the requirements I face are not unique.  There is another young Indian sitting at the fireside with me:  Pharmaceuticals. 

Faizulla Shaik (2016), writing for eleraningindustry.com highlights some of the unique aspects that come with managing a heavily regulated industry.  The article focuses on the special needs that LMS applications need to have in order to fulfill ‘big brothers’ requirements.  The article covers 21 CFR Part 11, which establishes the requirements for electronics systems and electronic records.  Shaik writes about the time stamp features required by the FDA, and the respective linkage to the master documents. 

Knowing that there are training professionals who are addressing their own wolves fighting provides me with some comfort.  Training management professionals in regulated industries would benefit from reading about the struggles of big pharma and will hopefully take away a feeling of relief that this battle isn’t just mine.  Airlines, utilities, financial, and communication sectors will find brothers in arms as we all struggle with the wolves. 

The legend ends with a warning about feeding the right wolf such that the battle ends in your favor.  In dealing with regulating agencies the final goal is to feed each wolf enough until you can pass the fight off to the next brave warrior. 


Shaik, F. (2016, June 9). Unique Requirements of Learning Management Systems for the Pharmaceutical Industry. Retrieved from elearningindustry.com: https://elearningindustry.com/unique-requirements-learning-management-systems-for-the-pharmaceutical-industry

Unknown. (2020, June 15). The Tale of Two Wolves. Retrieved from naticokeindians.org: https://www.nanticokeindians.org/page/tale-of-two-wolves

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