Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Changes Get Better

We just had an announcement at my day job that didn’t make anyone on my team very happy. Without going into detail, we’re losing a person that none of us want to lose. It’s his choice, not a laid off situation, and he is going to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity, so we are happy for him, but we’re not happy about the situation in general. The fact that various internal circumstances made it possible that some other, outside opportunity would be better adds to the frustration, but that’s actually a different discussion. At issue here is just the plain and simple fact that we are losing someone we don’t want to lose. There are no circumstances that make that easy.

Change is terrifying under normal circumstances. We get used to things the way they are and resist change, even when that change is for the better. That’s human nature. It’s one reason why abuse victims stay where they are, why people hesitate to take that promotion, and why you stay at a job or place that makes you happy. Regardless of anything else, you know what to expect in the situation you have. It’s familiar, and familiar makes things comfortable, even odd things that should never be comfortable.

We forget, though, that change is also how you make things better. Change does not equal better, don’t make that mistake, but you can’t get to one without the other. You can’t make things better without changing them. You can make things worse by changing them, so be careful, but you have to take a chance. There are no rewards in life without risk.

In this case, my friend (and I do think of him as a friend, not just a co-worker or anything else) is taking a huge risk, but the payoff has the potential to be amazing. He’s been with us for ten years, and in the position he currently holds for five, but he’s going into business for himself, in a field within which he has extensive experience, and in an environment that promises to be a pretty nice workspace. I’d probably go with him if that were an option, but staying will be a significant change as well. His impact on this workspace cannot really be overstated.

The reactions around the table when this announcement was made were about what you would expect. The box of tissues was passed around, and everyone gave the “hate to lose you but happy for you” speeches, and the speeches were entirely sincere, but there was also an unarguable element of, “Now what?” Things have been a little shaken up around here lately, and this person has played a key role in keeping things as close to stable as they have been. There’s a feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We’ll get through this, though, because that’s part of being human as well. We resist change, we struggle against change, but change happens, becomes the new normal, and then we’ll resist change again when the time comes. Every situation that is normal now was a change in the past. It’s all a matter of adapting and making the most of things. It’s uncomfortable at the time of change, but it gets better. It gets better because we change as well, but that’s part of the secret. Nothing stays the same, but you can help guide where it’s going to go.

I’ll be doing more than just wishing my friend luck, because his new enterprise will be dependent on the public for its success, so we’ll be visiting. We’ll be doing our part to help him be successful. Still, I do wish him all the luck in the world. It will be a difficult transition - he and I have worked directly together for five years now, and there are a few people on the team with even longer relationships - but we will all grow as a result. Everything changes, but we have every reason to believe that these will be changes for the better. We’ll be doing our part to make sure that happens, as well. I may be wishing him luck, but I’m certainly not relying on that luck. The best luck is usually the kind you make for yourself. We’ll be growing and learning and making some luck while we go, and I know that my friend will be doing the same.

Good luck, my friend. We’ll see you along the way.

And because these things put me in mind of a couple of good songs for the occasion, I’ll leave you with these thoughts from Tesla.

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