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Winter 2004 Edition- January 2004 Volume 4

Resolving to Embrace Change
By: Brian W. Pascal, RPR, CMP, RPT

Happy New Year! I've made some New Year's resolutions. I'm going to lose 20 pounds, stop smoking, eat more veggies, be kind to strangers and bring peace and harmony to the planet. The pressure is on. I've written it down this time. Now, let's pile on the stress and guilt from failing to achieve last year's resolutions and heart failure is not far down the road. Why do we do this to ourselves? Getting up every morning and putting in a productive day's work is hard enough without this added burden.

Why do we feel compelled to change who and what we are? It's not like we're serial killers or bank robbers. Are we that bad that we need to turn ourselves into something new and improved like the latest laundry detergent?

Well, I've just talked myself out of my New Year's resolutions. Now I can sit back comfortably and dwell on a stalled economy, labour strife, wars, famine and disease. But what about the workplace? Will there be change this year? Will CEOs get creative and bring in a new dawn for workers and make their lives simpler and less stressful? That would be nice but I doubt it. Frankly, the economy drives the workplace, not the CEOs. Sure, they could bring in policies that would cut the work week to 12 hours and double everyone's salaries at the same time but I doubt you'd have a place to go to every morning after the cheering stopped. It appears we are just going to have to cope and fend for ourselves. A balanced work/ home life is still a goal rather than a reality.

Yet, if you can manage to crawl out from under the humungous workload and glance around the workplace, you may notice that some workers are smiling. That's right, smiling. They're also loaded with work and caught in the maelstrom we call job objectives and yet they have the nerve to smile. Who are these people and why do we let them into the workplace? Apparently, these people enjoy the chaos and actually thrive in this environment. They even have families and debts and pets to feed. How dare they walk around the workplace like they're enjoying themselves? None of them are on Prozac so I guess these workers have a different mindset than others. Maybe their spaceship just landed.

Looking a little deeper into this phenomenon, it appears that this positive mindset crosses all age groups and genders. Perhaps it's a virus, but it's more likely due to their acceptance of the never-ending changes to the workplace and to the cosmic flux. These people have made peace with themselves and their environment and have stopped fighting it. They're going with the flow and learning how to adjust quickly and effectively to new responsibilities, new bosses and new coworkers. It hardly seems possible that they could have achieved this through something as mundane and unreliable as a New Year's resolution.

Maybe if I made my New Year's resolution to embrace change more seriously, I'd be able to go with the flow. It shouldn't bother me when my boss gets promoted and shipped off to Baffin Island and the incoming boss, a former manager of a penal colony, decides to double my workload and eliminate annual vacations. And it shouldn't bother me if the organization decides that its employees must become more entrepreneurial and forced to sell Girl Guide cookies door to door every evening. Surely, my new resolve will allow me to take these changes in stride. I may even smile through all of it. But I'm not sure. What's for sure is that change doesn't come easy.

So, where does that leave me? Basically, it leaves me stressed out about making New Year's resolutions. Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to avoid developing any New Year's resolutions. And if I do get weak and set a few up, I'll vow to ignore them like the plague. Anyway, all this will pass as the workload takes my mind off the subject. I've already started to forget that it's the start of a New Year and the new me will have to wait until I've completed the latest series of job objectives. Now that the pressure is off, I can almost smile.


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