By: Dr. Helen Ofosu
Changes: sometimes you don’t get to vote
With massive change underway in the US and the UK (pending the implementation of Brexit), it may seem almost like something you felt as a child when a punitive principal replaced a much kinder one. Suddenly the halls echoed fearful whispers instead of care-free laughter, and the energy of the school became heavy and foreboding. But somehow you got through it, perhaps not as happily, but still fairly successfully. I realize that political changes are different from schoolyard woes; we are now experiencing a very real, very grown-up reality. As we mature and enter the workforce, punishing principals can be replaced by a new and possibly not-so-likeable boss running the company or a national leader who has vastly different views on running the country in which you live.
Change is scary
For most people, when things change, especially when the change is drastic, it can be an overwhelming experience. This is true even with positive transformations like going off to college; moving to a new city or getting a promotion. When that change is undesirable what can you do to get through it?
Can’t you just accept the situation?
Most of us have dealt with changes in an organization’s management or an unexpected hiring in the workplace. At times, this isn’t how we would like the company to be led, but we plough through the differences of opinion to get the job done – and effectively. It takes mature thinking to rise above challenges and upheavals within your work environment. Maybe its wage cuts, or hours being added. Or, it could be how the office is rearranged, or how often you have to take work home with you. At one point, you will be asking yourself am I able to handle this? Do I even want to? Can I work in this new setting? If the answer is yes then realize it will take some time to adjust and your ability to adapt isn’t necessarily compliance, it’s acceptance, even though you may not like it.
Change your attitude
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” – Maya Angelou
So here you are in an office that’s smaller than your previous one, not to mention it has no windows and you’re stuck working later than you’d like. You’ve already accepted this situation but how do you stay optimistic? It may sound clichéd but I’m going to say it anyway, it’s all about your attitude. That doesn’t mean there won’t be moments of discouragement, but managing how you deal with these negativities is vital in keeping a level head and reaching your work goals. You may not be able to do it alone, so building an accommodating rapport with your work peers, supervisor or boss could help. Despite you being less than happy with the changes that management has made or how the boss is running the business, it is wise to stay positive and let that inspiring attitude encourage those around you. In essence, win over some trust and you may have more influence than you’d think. Plus, this may be an opportunity to take on different projects where you have a chance to develop new skills and/or learn. Skills and knowledge are “portable” and ideally, you will take them with you if or when you leave for a different job.
Change is power
Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” and I couldn’t agree more. We may feel insignificant and ruled by powers beyond our control, but we are much more resilient than that. Even when it’s that kid who feels intimidated by an unpleasant principal; that diligent worker who feels banished in a cubicle, and that voter who cringed when hearing about the recent election result … we all have the ability to make changes.
Change your situation
Progress does not stay in one place; by definition, it implies change. But, often it can come with setbacks before new opportunities can arise. If you are ready for a new transformation or need guidance through an unanticipated change you can contact me for as little or as much support as you need to get to where you want to go.
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