Crisis or Opportunity?

Change can create tension because no one is certain what will happen next. These crises vary by your environment and how you respond to uncertainty and stress. Today I’ll share my rather simple operating principle, as I’ve been through a few of crises of my own over the years. I really the better your attitude toward change, the better the result on the other side of a change.

Changes happen constantly, from the weather to shifts in traffic. Some changes can create stress more than others, especially if they affect your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones. These include:

  • Business or government contract ending.
  • Job duty changes.
  • Moving to a new city/state/province/country.
  • Changes in political administration.
  • Personal life changes (marriage, children, divorce, death)

Changes can be unpleasant. I’d like to explain that I don’t mean a life-altering, devastating change won’t hurt. It will. “Positive attitude” doesn’t mean facing these dramatic changes with an unrealistic smile on your face or even a belief that everything will naturally turn out for the better. I’m a tad too cynical for that. No, the only attitude toward change I emphasize is that you believe you have the ability to respond and plan for what comes next.

  • Contract ending? Okay, is there other work to be found inside or outside your company? If so, where?
  • Job duties changing? Fine. Learn the new job and identify ways that you can add value.
  • New place to live? Plenty of opportunities here: new people to meet, new career outlets to try, new creative outlets, and new places to explore.
  • Change in political administration? This is a regular stressor in government work. Contracts can be canceled (see above), agency priorities can change, and “players” (companies, people) will change. If you’re part of a group that is likely to have your work altered or eliminated, you can seek employment with one of the “winners” or take your skills elsewhere. What new programs is the new administration likely to add? How can you contribute? How can you apply your transferrable skills?
  • Personal changes: Your home and family life can create stress that affects your ability to function well at work. Your employers and customers expect you to continue doing your job. You might find that you need to take time away from work to address the situation. You might need to change your priorities. Have confidence that you can do what needs to be done.

The operative “attitude” I emphasize here is simply to remember you have the ability to respond to your environment (free will, if you prefer) and can take actions on your own behalf to adjust to the situation(s) around you. Helplessness, while a real emotion, is debilitating. It prevents you from taking action and results in others making decisions for you. Life will get bad at times. That doesn’t mean you are unable to take action, even if it’s a small action, to protect your interests. You can do this. End of lecture. Have a a pleasant weekend.

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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