Dealing with Change at Work

At one time or another we’ve all had to adjust to changes in our place of work.

close up of slide rule, calculator and laptop on a antique desk

Life moves on. We can move on with it, or be left behind by it. The choice is ours.

Whether we own the business, work at the top of the pyramid or at the lowest level, all companies and the roles of employees within them must move and change over time.

Change does not have to be great or have tremendous impact on our daily lives to be unsettling. We all prefer to stay snuggly inside our comfort zone. A new boss, a new company policy, a new computer system, a new way of doing old things, a new location that changes our commute time and route.

Change is unsettling particularly when it is imposed upon us. We have no choice, no control, no say in the matter. In the midst of uncomfortable change, we do well to first remind ourselves: This too shall pass.

Like a kidney stone. 

Seriously, humor helps us cope with change. And yes, change can be mentally, if not physically, painful. Great people – those who stand out among their peers – are willing to embrace change as a way to grow professionally and personally. They know the value of being open-minded in coping with change.

When we are open-minded, we actively search for support for another point of view. Another way of thinking and doing. Another way of being besides how we have been.

When you are facing change a work, here are some things to think about to help you gain perspective:

What’s different vs. what is significant?

Changes that impose a different way of doing things but have little impact on our responsibilities, job security or daily environment, are easier to accept than ones that have a serious impact. We can easily accept these changes after a period of adjustment and learning.

What will this give me that I don’t have now?

Make a list in two columns. One for positive things, one for negative things. Keep thinking about it until your lists have the same number of items on each side. For instance, a new work location might mean a longer commute, but it might also have a fitness center or other conveniences near it. The positives may become apparent over time, or by comparing your thoughts with co-workers.

Will it make my job easier, some task faster to complete, or save the company needless expense?

If you can see the advantages, help others to see them too, and get through the learning curve just as soon as possible. This is your chance to be a leader! Go for it. If the change is going to save the company money, ask that some portion of the savings be used to expand employee benefits (like discounted gym memberships) or the corporate social responsibility program.

What will I lose personally and how can I compensate for this loss?

There’s not much we can do about the negatives except figure out how to deal with them. A longer commute may mean extra money paid out in child care and for transportation. How do you adjust your household budget and family schedule?

A little self-talk can go a long ways towards changing the way we view the change we’re facing. We cannot be a victim when we’re in charge of finding solutions.

And remember, change is inevitable. Misery is optional.

Life Is Honest, Open and True: Change at work is a chance to let our inner leader shine. To be positive on the outside, we need to be positive on the inside. When we assess what the change means for us, and develop solutions, we can see the change in a positive light, and then help others to see it and adapt to it also.

Related Posts: Other Ways to be Open

Do You Climb a Steep Learning Curve?

Can You be Open to This?

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