Change – most people do not consider this word to be their friend. Whether it was the change you were forced to make in school when desks were reassigned, the change when you moved, the change when you were married, or … Change is one of the hardest parts of our lives that we have to endure.
Most people dream of change and what they could do if only this change or that change were to occur. The reality is that even though it is often our dream, when the opportunity presents itself it is difficult to accept.
To a few change comes easily and they see it as an opportunity, but to most that is not the case. Why do people stay in their job for 20, 30, or even 40 years? Is it because they are happy and they couldn’t dream of doing anything else?
That’s probably not the case or at least it’s not the case for most people. More true to the situation is the aversion to change. People do not want to change and therefore they endure their situation. They look at a new situation and instead of seeing it as an opportunity; they would rather stay with what they know than venture into the unknown.
Most definitely they are limiting themselves and their opportunities. But that does not matter to them; they would much prefer to be comfortable and to deal only with the known.
This is a problem because dealing with the comfortable and dealing with the known can be a career stopper and can even be the reason for losing a job. Businesses must change to keep up with the competition and to grow. For businesses to be able to make those changes, they need employees that are willing to change.
What kind of change might you have to make:
- A new company.
- A new type of work.
- A new location.
- A longer/shorter commute.
- A reduction/increase in pay.
- A new boss.
- New co-workers.
- A new working environment – no more private office.
- Changes in benefits.
- Changes in the frequency of pay.
- Working in a less desireable part of the city.
… continue your list and develop your answers.
I once worked for a medical clinic that was looking to make significant changes in the technology they were using to process patient records. The technology is EMR or Electronic Medical Records. EMR is responsible for many changes in the way the doctors and nurses practice medicine.
EMR Systems impact the way the doctors and nurses interact with their patients. Instead of talking to the patient with a chart in hand and making notes, the practitioner now has a computer terminal and is typing while the patient is talking. The computer terminal is far more distracting to the patient and typically requires a greater level of concentration from the practitioner. Some practitioners are intimidated by the technology.
At the Clinic as we were implementing the technology I wrote a memo to the Board of Directors explaining that as a part of the EMR implementation they could expect to see some of their doctors leave the Clinic. They would leave because they were unwilling to accept the EMR System and they way they would now have to practice, they would leave because they were intimidated by the technology, they would leave because they did not like the change in patient interaction, and there were several other reasons as well.
My point to the Board was do not be surprised, rather you need to be understanding and supportive. This is the way it is and there is nothing that being upset will change. Some people can handle certain types of change and others cannot. You need to roll with the punches and move forward.
In your job search you are now facing the reality of change. It could be just one change or it could be several changes; you just do not know until it happens.
It is time for you to do a personal assessment. What changes are you (and your family) willing to accept in your career change? You must sit down and work this out to have everyone in agreement.
You need to decide:
- What is your change mindset?
- Is this an adventure or a nightmare?
- Where and when you are willing to compromise?
- What opportunity is simply too great to pass up?
- What is most important to you and your family?
- What is negotiable?
- What is non-negotiable?
- Who will ultimately make the final decision?
- Who has the power of veto?
- How you will make your decision work?
Accepting change can be difficult, but you can minimize the difficulty by making the decisions above when there is no pressure to decide. Take the time to talk it out when the emotions are at a low and the rational mind is in charge. Change can be excitement and opportunity or it can be scary and uncertain. Which way do you want it for your family.
You must prepare yourself and your family for whatever opportunities come your way.
Tom is a Career and Accountability Coach helping with career management, resumes, and networking. Sign up for his 7 Tips Series of Articles.