Scary? Exciting? Necessary? Disruptive? Painful? Fun? Disappointing? Hurtful? Disorienting?
Yes, and many more descriptives.
It’s an unfortunate fact that change typically means loss. Even change you want or look forward to can result in the loss of something. Getting married, for example, while a happy occasion and a much-anticipated change, will result in the loss of a certain amount of independence, privacy and closet space.
The loss of a loved one through death, divorce or just drifting apart is a change that results in what most would consider the worst kind of loss; next in line would probably be a change in employment status.
Losing your job, even a job you don’t like, creates the kind of change that upends your very existence for a time. It’s scary, because there are bills to pay, and if you’re not sitting on a pretty nice reserve, the scramble to quickly replace that income is disruptive at best.
It’s an unfortunate fact in today’s business world, there is no such thing as job security in the private sector. Everyone from the mail clerk to the president of the company is under constant scrutiny and working on borrowed time. At any time, a change in leadership can sweep through an organization and fracture the lives of every employee on site.
This isn’t just true with large mega corporations either. Small- and medium-size shops experience just as much turmoil as those with hundreds of thousands of employees. No one is safe any more, and that is a fact. Even having your name on the door is no guarantee of security.
A little over a year ago, I started communicating with one of my company’s competitors. I was offered a job and expressed an interest initially, but decided to stay put and had all but forgotten about it until my phone rang out of the blue a few months later. The person they had hired when I turned down the job wasn’t working out and the owner wanted to know if I was still interested. Shamefully, I allowed my ego to answer in the affirmative, if they agreed to certain concessions. After several meetings and much soul-searching I made the decision to board the Titanic.
Keep in mind, this company had a reputation that was less than stellar, but there were certain perks I would never realize in my current position at the time, and the risk seemed to be worth the change.
First of all, my commute would be greatly reduced from over 30 minutes to just under 10 minutes. Working that close to the house afforded me the ability to go home for lunch and meant I’d be less tempted by fast-food meals (I have a real weakness for French fries, man), not to mention the savings on gas, vehicle wear and tear, and of course the extra hour I would pick up every day in commute time savings.
As with many courting situations, certain things were concealed from view, and I trusted, naively so, things that were promised.
A company vehicle, better pay, better hours!! Why wouldn’t I make the switch, man?
It was Shangri-La, after all.
It didn’t take long to realize this change was a HUGE mistake!! Once I was privy to an inside look at this new company, the picture changed. The hope and excitement was swiftly changed to hopelessness and anxiety. Company practices and attitudes soon found me clinging to a ledge I could neither move up from to gain better perspective or down from to gain better footing.
Last week, the new COO who came aboard a few months after my arrival, walked into my office and announced my services were no longer required. I wasn’t surprised, really. He and I hadn’t exactly become friends since his arrival, and based on changes he was making, I knew I wouldn’t be a welcomed member of the new team.
But even when you know a punch is coming, the sting isn’t lessened by that knowledge. I sat for a moment and glared at him until he left my office. There was no use arguing the point. The decision had been made, and I was out. Over the course of my career, I have had to let a number of people go myself and no argument would have changed my mind either, so I knew it was pointless to even try. It would have been a pathetic display that would have no doubt garnered behind-the-scenes mockery between him and those who remained.
The thing is, I really hated the company and the job, so losing my position was only a blow to my ego. Given a few more weeks, I would have likely jumped ship anyway. I already had my life vest on and could see the iceberg approaching.
So, at the end of the day, this was a change for the better, even if it may not have felt like it during that initial few moments after the boom was lowered.
Change is also a teacher and can instantly provide 20/20 vision. Unfortunately, that vision is typically hindsight.
As of this writing, I have set up a few interviews and will be gainfully employed once more within a very little while. I won’t lie though, I am going to miss hanging out with Roger during the day, wearing sweatpants until bedtime and eating lunch whenever I feel like it. I have used this past week to completely reevaluate my existence and ponder deeply my decision-making abilities. Yes, this has been a week of big changes for me, but at the end of the day, I feel I’ve gained much more than I lost.
Now, where is that TV remote? It’s almost time for Dr. Phil. If you ever start feeling sorry for yourself, a few episodes of this show will straighten you out chip-chop-quick.
Until next time, relish whatever changes are happening for you, good or bad and take whatever lessons you can from them.
by Rob Poindexter, Writer, Content Strategist, Storyteller