Adapting to Change

There can never be too many discussions about change. It’s constant, it’s inevitable, unexpected at times, but it can be extremely rejuvenating. No matter how many times change occurs in life, expected or not, it can seem as if you are not in control. Unexpected change disrupts a routine, but if we reevaluate the current routine and what opportunities the unexpected change offers then we take control. With a positive outlook, adapting to change provides control and allows the opportunity for personal and professional growth.

A few of the types of change:

  • Career
  • Position or duty changes
  • Health
  • Family or home life
  • Monetary
  • Relocation

Types of change are as vast as the types of personalities we encounter throughout life. And every single type of change can affect each of us uniquely. There are not any magic words to stop change from happening, but there are ways to adapt and be in control.

Suggestions for adapting to change:

  • Reach out for support. Talk about the situation and listen to supportive feedback.
  • Evaluate the situation and focus on facts. What opportunities can you explore?
  • Remind yourself of accomplishments, skills you have developed and your unique traits; focus on what you do have control of.
  • Explore all options you have – even ones you may think are unlikely…change can be an opportunity to take chances; a chance to leap and focus on a dream. A friend’s daughter lost her job a few years ago and took that as a sign to go for her dream job; she now happily operates a food truck business!
  • Don’t react quickly, take time to breathe and focus. Get a game plan in place.
  • If your job has changed ask yourself if the change will be a positive or if you need to take control and make your own changes. Maybe it’s time to find a better career match.
  • Grow & learn; read, talk to mentors, attend training or a conference, watch webinars, etc. I suggest constant learning before the unexpected change occurs so you can adapt more easily

Adapting to professional change shows professionalism and confidence. I can recall my first major professional lesson in adapting to change as if it were yesterday.

Several years ago, I advanced into one of my very favorite career positions. I worked with an amazing team, flexible hours, great manager, excellent benefits and pay, challenges that provided skills I use to this day, an office with a great view, control of developing procedures and next to one of the best coffee shops! After three years, a new director came in, eliminated a few positions and changed my role. It happened quickly; my office was moved, hours extended, job duties increased, my favorite aspects of my job were taken away and I no longer reported to my great manager.

I went home that evening and cried…I was devastated. I got caught up in the feeling of thinking I was not in control of the situation. After a pep talk from my husband, a great coworker and from my sister I set up a meeting with the director. I may not have control of his thoughts, but I had control over how I reacted and my confidence. Nothing he could do or say took away all of the hard work I had taken pride in and procedures I had developed (that was part of my personal pep talk).

I typed up a list of accomplishments (quite proudly so and smiling ear to ear) and confidently carried them with me as I walked into the conference room for our meeting. He would just have to change his mind when he got to know me better and saw my wonderful list. Right?

He was late…I was not distracted through, I stayed focused. I was armed with facts and not letting his busy schedule & late arrival shake my confidence. As the minutes turned into five-minute increments my palms started to sweat and my mouth got dry. I shook my head… ‘you got this’ I told myself as I looked at that amazing list of accomplishments!

He did show up…25 minutes late, but I was still prepared and ready. He shook my hand, smiled and apologized for being late…we were off to a good start. I explained how I deserved some of my duties back and proposed suggestions that would allow me to keep those duties & my schedule. I spoke clearly, stayed focused on facts, my palms stopped sweating, I was doing great (patting self on back).

Then, not even halfway through my speech, he stood up and pointed out the window and yelled THAT BIRD. Yes, bird. My heart raced, my palms started to sweat again, my mouth was so dry. I wasn’t sure how to react. He wasn’t listening, he already made up his mind and it didn’t matter what I said. Finally, as he stood behind me pointing out the window, he explained there had been a bird swooping up and down and down and up (yes, he imitated this action). He kept explaining the swooping action and then excused himself to another meeting, after confirming his decisions were final.

I sat there alone looking out at the bird. Ah, that free bird, swooping from branch to branch, now he was in complete control. I smiled. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get upset. I focused on the things that I did have control over. I was still the same unique person, I was still a professional. My ‘ex’ manager told me he would write me an excellent letter of recommendation if I decided to move on. My coworkers offered support. The next weekend I started looking for another job, a month later I was working closer to home, the new position offered free tuition, great benefits, flexible hours, and duties I loved.

A few months later I attended an event at the old job and walked up to the director (the birdman) and thanked him. He smiled and asked why…I explained that his decision created a door of opportunity for me and I was grateful.

One full-time job and a few temp positions came after that one. That entire career journey led me to my current position and I’m grateful for the amazing opportunities the past several years have offered. Each decision in life, even the ones we don’t feel we have complete control over, lead us to the next step of our lives.

Adapting to change is an opportunity for growth.

If you stay true to yourself and confident in your uniqueness, then change is easier to appreciate. Don’t let change take charge and control. You’re in control of you and how you react. It’s OK to be disappointed, cry, be upset, but all of those emotions are temporary and should be treated as such. A change will come; expect it…welcome it…control it.

If you are going through a change right now, especially professional change, that you don’t quite feel in control of, reach out to mentors, friends, and others. Evaluate your options and remember you are not alone, you are unique, but not alone!

Change is opportunity…share how you deal with change in the comments below!

Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager

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