When changes happen in our lives most of us respond in a predictable way. We often don't recognise what we are doing but we plug into how we've experienced change in the past. For instance, if we've had really traumatic changes that have caused us a lot of pain, we are likely to resist what is happening or simply try to survive it. If we've had really positive changes in the past our response is likely to be quite different.
Often we're not aware of these beliefs about change until we start thinking about them. One way to make ourselves more prepared for change is to spend some time thinking and talking about what change means to us. For instance, we can talk to people at work about how we manage day-to-day change -- what happens when a new piece of equipment is introduced?
At home we can talk with the people close to us about how we respond when someone falls ill, or we need to move house or a child starts a new school. Talking about how we manage change, and the sort of support we need, is an important step in building our resilience to it.
Given that our roles at work are likely to change in the future it's also useful to think about the skills we have for our current role and what new skills might be valuable for the future. Is there a polytechnic course we could take? Or is there project work outside our current role that we could become involved in to learn new skills? The more flexible and adaptable we are -- in our attitudes, responses and skills -- the more employable we are likely to be when change comes.
However, when our role changes or our organisation is taken over, it's also important to recognise that we're at a major turning point in our lives. It's normal to feel a sense of grief and loss, to feel sad sometimes and angry at other times. And it's normal to need some extra help. If we're lucky our organisation will provide us with access to counsellors or support networks which can help us work through the change. Counsellors from Relationships Aotearoa are very skilled at helping people cope with change.
How long it takes us to rebuild our self-esteem and feel we're back on our feet will depend on our personal circumstances. However, one thing that is likely to make this process easier is if we have already thought about what's important in our lives and where work fits. Do we live to work or work to live?
If our work is our major source of self-esteem then we will find it more difficult to adjust to a change in our work role. But if we take a wider view of life, valuing our partner or family, or our involvement in the local community, then we are likely to see new opportunities from the change -- even if it's through tears.