Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't Be Pond Scum

I don't know anyone who likes having a life upturned. Whether it's losing a job, being forced to take on more work or having to deal with road construction that adds 30 minutes to a commute, no one likes change.

But if you'll look back over your life and career, I'll bet you find instances where change seemed like a really bad thing -- then it turned out to be OK. Maybe you hated your new co-worker at first, but then found out he's a whiz at fixing broken iPods. Or, maybe your department was merged with another and you lost some cool clients, which made you mad. But then you discovered your new assignment meant international travel, which you love.

Sometimes when change comes, we react badly. We lash out -- we get pissed and emotional and act like a big baby or a big jerk. I think that's OK, as long as you see that you should share those feelings with someone you trust -- and not just rain hellfire and damnation down upon innocent bystanders. Once you deal with the emotions, then it can be much easier to move on and accept the change coming your way.

When facing change, also consider:

1. You don't want to stagnate. This has been a killer summer, and I cannot begin to tell you the nasty things growing in the pond near my house. That water has stood still for so long that you could walk easily across the green scum growing on top. Don't be pond scum. Remember you've got to keep churning things every once in a while to stay fresh. Some of that churn will be your idea, some of it won't.

2. You're more than a job. Maybe your job isn't perfect, maybe you don't even have one. You're more than just one job. Put your ingenuity to work somewhere else. Figure out how to help the local schools get more books as public funding dries up. Go walk dogs at the animal shelter. Teach a neighborhood kid how to ride a bike. Become a well-rounded human being -- be more than a job.

3. Move wisely. If you don't know how to handle the change in your life, reach out to those who obviously have been through it many times. Older relatives or colleagues can often offer you a perspective that helps you see that you will emerge from the other side. You'll see that just as sh*t happens, so does change.

What are some other ways to handle changes that impact our lives and careers?



Karen F. said...

One way of looking at change, I'd think, is to try to put it in perspective of your personal or career growth. How you deal with change can positively impact your employer's perspective of you. You're not trying to be a pushover, but you are actually a flexible team member who is more than capable of rolling with the punches...someone with a can-do attitude. We all know that change is the only constant in the workplace. Whether or not that change was brought about after educated deliberation or foolish choice doesn't really matter...because changes will happen no matter what we think about it. If you have to rant, get it out of your system one time (I would suggest in writing so when you're done you can throw it away and move on to the next thing), then be done with it. The more you dwell and seethe about it, the less you will be inclined to do anything...including your job!

Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter for questions, comments or violent reactions)

Anita said...

That's a great point about dealing with it and moving on. It's only something that can hold you back, not carry your forward. Thanks for your thoughts.