Embracing Change for Greater Happiness

2009 June 23

Monitor stand
Creative Commons License photo credit: dan taylor

Jeff Stibel writes over at the Conversation Starter blog at HarvardBusiness.org about 7 Ways to Be Happier at Work. We’ve talked before about how to feel good about your work, but you can just about not cover this topic enough. One of my favorites on his list is this:

Do things differently. Part of the problem at work for many people is boredom. We are stuck in a rut where we come in and do the same thing over and over and over again. Get your enthusiasm back by doing things differently. Make every effort to learn, to grow, and to challenge yourself. Take on more responsibility or attempt something you never thought you were capable of doing. Even if your responsibilities don’t allow for much flexibility, try a different approach to your existing responsibilities.

I once managed someone who needed coaching to improve his work process, but he so resisted change that we decided to try making one very small change in his work process each week. Each Monday, we’d decide if the change from the previous week had become enough of a habit yet to try adding a new change, and most of the time it hadn’t. He was so entrenched in his old way of doing things that it was all but impossible for him to accept even the slightest variation.

That’s not an isolated example in much of the workforce. People in general are distressed by change, and they avoid it at nearly all costs. But when you resist change, not only do you miss out on the benefit Jeff Stibel mentions of breaking out of a rut, you also stand to miss out on new possibilities when the culture around you changes. If your reaction to change is to dig your heels in and cling to the old ways, you may be thought a hindrance to progress. As Scott Robinson writes at TechRepublic:

Culture change in corporations is often breathtakingly rapid because only the largest multinational corporations can get away with gradual change. Change is never easy, and it can be traumatic for some, especially when it’s rapid and broad in its scope. But a company streamlines its in-house culture to redesign the way it does business.

In other words, it’s often get with the program or get out of the way. Understandably, the greatest resistance to change usually comes from fear: fear of the unknown, of what will happen to our individual roles once the changes sweep over the land. And in this time of economic uncertainty, that fear can be strongly exacerbated by looking around and seeing friends and loved ones out of work. But by far the best way to ensure that you’re not a corporate casualty is to adapt as smoothly as possible. If you can’t visualize yourself as a full participant in the new corporate structure or new corporate culture, it may be difficult for others to visualize you there.

Our best bet, then, when we see change coming our way, is not to cling to the old ways, but to view the change as an opportunity to learn, grow, challenge ourselves, and yes, ultimately, be happier.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Sphinn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • FriendFeed
  • Squidoo
  • Technorati Favorites
  • Share/Bookmark
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline