Monday, January 14, 2013

Change by Choice

     Over the years I have been exposed to a lot of on the job training that I am sure was meant to inspire me to be the best possible worker bee that I could be. It often left me feeling discouraged or disappointed. I was always uncomfortable with the catchy slogans that were used that were supposed to help re-frame our mindsets and aid us in thinking as our company wanted us to think about any given situation.
     One of the slogans that always got me down and was a real mainstay at one of my employers was the cheerful, mindless acclimatization that change is good. Well, no, in fact, it is not. Tell the person that just got the diagnosis for the grim disease that may take their life or their child's life that change is good. Tell that to the person that just received the message that their child will not be coming home from their deployment. Tell that to the 83 year old woman that was just widowed because her husband got hit by a truck and they were less then six months shy of their 60th anniversary.
     I always felt that it was such a cop out and trite to try to boil down a complex concept into such a compassion less statement. It always seemed like an insensitive declaration. I always felt I was being cheated when someone would parrot that phrase and I always felt like I was being asked to be less than human by attempting to embrace that three word slogan.
     I think that seizing the opportunity to change yourself, better your circumstances, or to pursue education is good. In fact, I think it is great. However, whenever people were teaching these inspiring change is good classes they were not usually trying to aid employees in any of those pursuits. Usually they were just using this slogan to convince you that it would be great that they had to cut your pay, cut staffing, and increase efficiency goals all at the same time. Change. Is. Good.
     Even if you are making a choice to change your diet and exercise more, that is good-if you are doing it as a preventative option. It is a choice and a good one. But if you are doing this because you suddenly find yourself in ill health, it is not a good thing that you are having to make that change. In this case, change is necessary. I suppose it is good that you are still able to do that, but I still think the use of the slogan would be misplaced.
     I think the new slogan that gets taught should be, "Change by Choice." This, to me, means you have put some thought into your circumstances, realzied you need a change of plan, and are actively acting on that.
     When I was younger I dreamed of being a filmmaker, of working with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. But I was a shy kid and I didn't have enough money to even apply to USC Film School, so I shelved that dream for a while. I still worked on my writing and went to a university locally. I always figured I would make a great success as a screenwriter some day. But then, I didn't.
     I did have an opportunity to enter a storybook contest. I had written plenty of stories for my friends' children. I just never thought about submitting them anywhere. I was going to be a screenwriter, you know. But then I heard about a contest. I researched it, reviewed materials and ideas I had on hand, and i changed my mind. I made the choice to change my approach to what type of a writer I envisioned myself as. My little storybook managed to earn a digital publishing contract.
     I have a friend that is a writer. He usually writes fantasy or urban fiction. But for some reason he recently made the choice to write a shorty story that was more along the lines of a mythology. I consider it to be one of the best short stories I have read in quite a while. I love his latest story. Several days after reading it, it still lingers at the back of my mind. He made a choice to change his style. I am hoping it works out well for him. His story is in a contest. When you have a few moments, please read Brother Wolf by Matt Rohr. You can vote on the story once a week until the end of January. I am hoping that his story will be illustrated and published as part of his prize for winning. Please follow the link:

     If and when I ever get to lead a training session my new classroom training slogan will definitely be change by choice is good.


  1. Well put. Sounds terribly close to "be flexible" too ;)

  2. I will perhaps come up with an alternative for that one, too. That will take a little more thought. ;)

  3. Totally agree with you Terri. I remember when they wanted to make changes and they want you to be 'on board' they invite some of the workers for a think tank type of discussion, but in reality they let you have some ideas to shoot them down with their better already conceived plan. If anybody had any concerns or voiced some of the other ideas were maybe better then you were labelled as 'someone who resist change' which also means not a team player. Oh well! Cest La Vie my friend! Mike N.


Follow by Email