The ongoing discussion about change tends to get a negative connotation at times, but if we look at how change has influenced our ways, it is fascinating to notice how it has increasingly sparkled creativity. Long gone are the days when the whole working life was spent in the same organisation; now, due to too precarious career paths, people chose or are forced to work in different environments. Millennials work an average of 2-3 years in the same place, and they consider it the norm.
While pursuing a brilliant career in the sector of choice may still be an option for many, the alternatives that change provide are infinite. We’re in a disruptive era, where we question old models of conducting business, where hyperconnectivity allows people to work from home, from an idyllic tropical island, or from a plane, being continuously on the move.
Some people naturally adapt to change and embrace it, but for others keeping up with the pace with how things evolve, can be frustrating and depressing. Still, as the telefax and the typewriters have disappeared, not succumbing to change becomes a question of survival. There is a world of possibilities out there, something that the generations before us could not even imagine. Isn’t’ that inspiring?
A brilliant example is the case of Sally Casley; a working life spent as an investment banker who realised that there was no higher position she could achieve where she was working. She started to think about alternatives. Something that had always bothered her or her husband was that if something was going on at there house, such as renovation works or home delivery, one of them had to leave the office to go home. A few years ago, she created WaitingIn, a housesitting service. Her employees typically wait at home when there are repairs to be made or if a delivery is due on that day. The response from time deprived full-time working people in highly competitive work environments has been overwhelmingly positive.
Another example is working remotely. Many decide to work from home for many reasons. The downside of it is that they don’t have colleagues to share a chat with and loneliness can sometimes be an issue. However, on the other hand, they are the masters of their time, free to decide when to take a break, free to prioritise, to be their boss.
We have the chance now to do and to be what we want. If change still seems too abstract, scary or difficult to accept, follow a few simple steps to start with:
1. Remember, everyone is affected by change
Exchanging ideas with someone you know will increase your chances of understanding what the best choice for you is. Many will hopefully encourage you to ‘go with the flow’, as resisting change can be unhealthy and can carve the way to pessimism, to depression, to bitterness.
2. Try to maintain a positive attitude and be optimistic
Moving to different departments, companies, countries can completely turn your world upside down. Things will change, give yourself some time. Remember when you started school and you didn’t know anybody, but then after a month, you knew everyone? Good things will come! ‘I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust the sails always to reach my destination,’ Jimmy Dean, American actor, and businessman.
3. Learn a new skill
Old jobs disappear, and new ones are invented. It is possible to follow a passion and make it become a job, more so than ever before. Movements such as ‘skills future’ in Singapore supported by the Future Economy Council, encourage Singaporeans to improve their capabilities, to study or train to learn a new skill, or a new job completely. It is a way of integrating personal interests with the requirements of an ever-changing society.
4. If something bothers you, ask questions
Ask your new boss and your new colleagues. It can be hard to adapt in the beginning, and many tend to wake up in the middle of the night feeling frustrated because they don’t know how to deal with new tasks and challenges. You will be able to survive that period by writing down questions and thoughts you may have and get them done and dealt with the next day.
5. Help others to change
As strange as it sounds to help others when you are already struggling on your own, this step will serve to boost your confidence. Focus on what you are good at; someone else might not have the same expertise you have in a particular field. Use your empathy, because others may struggle with change as much as you do. How to change for good? Help the people around you to develop as well.