I was having a conversation with a friend who’d worked for many years in a small family run business. She’d started her working life there, had worked in each area of the company and as such had acquired many skills throughout that time.
Now the family was closing the business and she was really struggling to cope with the inevitability of the change that was coming. She was feeling insecure, lost, fearful about the future and concerned as to how she’d cope.
This is not unusual when we are confronted with our world suddenly changing; a longterm relationship ends, our health suddenly suffers, the kids leave home or we reach an important birthday and life can appear quite frightening and uncertain.
It can be a large blow to our identity, confidence and sense of who we are. Our life path, once so quite clearly mapped out has now become unrecognisable.
How do you cope when you know that change is inevitable?
Grieve for the reduction of the familiar. Allow some time to adjust to the loss of the life you once knew, it had been so much a part of your reality. Yes those automatic, regular routines are now gone; the route to work, knowing where everything is, what is expected of you, the relationships, security and expectations. Accept that it’s a lot to deal with and allow a period of time to heal and come to terms with the ending of that portion of your life.
Take the time to reflect and acknowledge all that you’ve received, the lessons learned, the character-building experiences you’ve been through as a consequence. They have all contributed to you becoming the person you are now and can be seen as stepping-stones to your future, to who you will become. Relax and determine to keep on evolving, growing and improving.
For those who have dates and information about forthcoming planned changes use the time to investigate, learn and understand what’s being mooted.You can prepare mentally and possibly even physically. Getting healthy and educated gives you better control, and allows you to make positive decisions about the part, if any, you might want to play in future changes.
Begin to plan ahead. Impending change can ask you to query if you want to remain in the exact same place or line of work. You will no doubt have made contacts within other businesses in your area. You could introduce yourself, maybe form liaisons with individuals with complementary abilities, or even set up something by yourself. Might it be a fantastic time to explore what’s available and transfer some of your skills to a different employer or business?
Research groups where you could make new friends, interests and improve your skills. Treat this time as a excellent opportunity to enrich your life. Many people will be in the same position as you, starting out again for many different reasons. Make yourself available and support each other.
You have made new starts before! There will have been many times when you’ve had to adapt and accommodate change throughout your life; change is inevitable, with new schools, teachers, friends, homes, coworkers and ways of doing things often having to be absorbed into your everyday life at different points. Look forward to bringing your knowledge and experience into this next phase of your life and moving a bit out of your comfort zone.
Don’t assume change will be difficult, unpleasant or awkward. Be positive and anticipate the opportunity to grow and improve, to possibly update your skills. Resist prejudging new opportunities as being too different, difficult or alien to you. You were new in your previous role once and learned to become the competent, proficient person you are now. Hold onto that knowledge and enthusiasm. It is time to direct it to a new home!
Be proactive. Your old employer doesn’t owe you anything; yes you have successfully worked together for several years, but they paid you for your services, respected and educated you, supported you on occasion. Life moves on and now it’s their time to proceed. You also need to, so begin accepting invitations to community, make new connections, get online and join classes. Then you can explore what’s out there and discover that which could be of interest or match you.