I was talking with a long time friend about my recent upheaval at work. The small printing company I work for, along with another small company, was bought so that the two will combine to make a bigger small company.
There is a lot of uncertainty there. Will we all have jobs after this merger? What will our role be in this new-and-improved company? Where will we fit everyone in this office? Will our five new co-workers play nice, or will they be jerks?
Then my friend said to me, “You just don’t like change.”
I wanted to slap her. Okay, maybe not really.
It’s not the change I dread, it’s the transition.
Change is exciting. Change should be fun and fulfilling. But the transition on the road to change? Yeah, I hate that part.
In the middle of change there will be fear of the unknown. All those questions I asked earlier are questions that haven’t been answered yet, and that is what keeps me up at night.
The road to change is paved with mourning the loss of what once was (our old company), denial, shock, anger, stress, ambivalence, skepticism, acceptance, hope, enthusiasm, until we arrive to our destination…a new beginning.
“Life is always at some turning point.” -Irwin Edman
So. There’s that.
Life itself is about always moving forward to a new (unforeseen) beginning.
Here are 5 practical tips I wrote for myself to help me deal with this transition season. If you find yourself in the transition season, they can help you keep it together.
- Accept it and move on. The change is happening with or without you, and fighting it will only make it harder to let go.
- Reflect on the past. In my case this reflection came in the form of a trip down memory lane. For several years my co-workers and I put together a framed picture collage of events that happened at our company, because we are more than employees, we are friends. We documented new printing presses being installed, new babies being born, big industry achievements, even a concert or football game we attended together. Take time to remember the “good ‘ol days”.
- One.Day.At.A.Time.Sister. If I think about everything that might or might not happen I get overwhelmed with anxiety. Maybe today there is nothing to do in preparation, but tomorrow there might be something. I only deal with what needs to get done on that day.
- Talk it out. Talk to someone who has made a similar transition. My sister recently picked up her family and moved to a new state. This has meant new jobs (and co-workers), new house, new school, and new friends. Yeah, she can relate and she’s been a supportive.
- Don’t be pessimistic. Stop the negative thoughts (like the new co-workers will be jerks). Look at this change as an opportunity for growth. As my pastor says, “Find the silver lining.” I’ll add, “…no matter how hard you have to look.”
I can’t control the transitions in life, but I can control my reaction to them.