Most of us hate change. As much as we would like to think that we are adventurous, fun loving, risk taking individuals, when it comes down to it, change may be a bit harder to swallow than we think. What is your reaction when you need to change your normal route to work due to construction? What about a new computer system at work? Do you grab your instruction manual and dive in with excitement or do you complain because you have to change the “way you have always done things?” Most of us chose the latter and get angry or upset, feeling like things are out of our control. Is this aversion to change holding you back from progressing and accomplishing what you want both at work and in your personal life?
Jane (not her real name) had worked for the same company for nearly 25 years. Nearly her entire career has been spent “living” in the same cubicle which is adorned with memorabilia, awards and family pictures. It was really a home away from home until the company made an announcement they were changing locations due to economic pressures and everyone would be moving to a new building. This announcement sent Jane into a tailspin—change rearing its head in exquisite fashion. “I have my schedule and routine down to a science, this move will change my daily work. It is what I have known,” stated Jane. “It is very upsetting to change what I have become accustomed to for so long.”
Jane continued, “I know when it get’s warm in the afternoon, what time the air conditioning will come on. Everything will be new, this is unbearable.” Jane and change were not close friends.
Now you may be laughing and saying, “I would never be like that.” Which is true, you probably don’t know what time the air conditioning kicks on, but I promise that if I spent enough time with you it would soon become apparent what change is causing problems in your career.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
Your ability to deal with change directly impacts your performance at work. Life is going to serve up some significant changes and they are not all going to have whip cream and cherries on top. The economy has proven this best in recent years providing some impactful life lessons. Employees are finding themselves out of work, in new roles, moving from the corner office to a cubicle and changing from the decision making leader, to an individual contributor who is now being managed and implementing/executing other’s decisions.
I have worked with men and woman whose lives have been devastated by all the “changes” previously mentioned who were ill equipped to deal with change and the ability to be resilient amidst transition. It is imperative that we prepare ourselves for changes that come and have plans and options in place. So how do you deal with change and prepare yourself? Read on:
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Remember, you have the ability to create the career and life you want.