All great changes are preceded by chaos. -Deepak Chopra
For the past five years, I have entered the front door of my workplace, walked down a few hallways and settled into my cubicle on the first floor. That’s about 1,230 instances – give or take for vacations, sick days and whatnot – of the same behavior.
This morning, I entered the front door of my workplace, walked to the stairs and climbed to the third floor (that’s right, no elevator for this girl.), opened the door to my new office and settled in. To say this was a small difference in the grand scheme of things would be accurate. But today, right now, it feels huge – like my first day with my company, all over again.
The past 10 months have involved quite a few changes in my professional life. The first being my return to school after a five-year hiatus (I refuse to count that short, failed attempt in 2008) to begin a master’s certificate in Project Management.
While I had conducted a bit of research on the subject during the previous year or so, the commitment to officially study it in an academic environment was a big one. Not only was I committing to two years – six quarters – of classroom time, homework and all of the other daunting tasks that go along with pursuing a degree, I was doing so for a program that was in stark contrast to my current position as a communications specialist (aka, corporate writer).
To scare the crap out of me further, the PM program is housed in the foreign land of information and communications technology. To say I was intimidated by this fact would be an understatement. In fact, I nearly decided against beginning the program based solely on this fact.
But, after just a few months of hard work and dedication to the program, it paid off. I was promoted to the position of Strategic Communications Project Manager, which brings me to the second major change.
If I have learned one thing in the past three months, it’s that taking on a new position within the same company (and at the same location) can be bittersweet. On one hand, the promotion, in and of itself, is amazing. The opportunity to advance in my career, perform new tasks, learn new things and work with new people has been amazing. Yes, it’s been a challenge, but I’ve never been one to balk at a challenge. I am a firm believer that stagnancy is the root of all evil (or, at the very least, most evil), with complacency coming in at a close second.
With that being said, I have found that some people – in many cases those you least suspect – will not be happy for you and your new position. In fact, they will act like immature a-holes. This will hurt and their reactions will somehow make you feel as though you’ve made the wrong decision. Don’t believe it. They’re wrong (and who needs them anyway?).
I’ve also learned that these same people will eventually get over the change, but not entirely. Your relationships with these people will be altered and the only thing to do is accept it. You cannot control other people. You can only control yourself and your reaction. Change can be difficult, even if it takes place indirectly, and some won’t handle it well. So, react appropriately (hint – the opposite of an immature a-hole) and move on.
On a related note, I have also found that for every immature a-hole, there is at least one awesome person who will be genuinely happy for you and will support you in your new endeavors. Find that person (or people) and when you feel discouraged and unsure of yourself, talk to that person. Having this person in your life will be invaluable when you’re dealing with the immature a-holes.
Which bring us to the last, and most recent, change – my move to the third floor. As part of my promotion, I was promised an office. However, following some back and forth with a department that shall remain unnamed, I still was office-less three months after I changed jobs.
Then, the day came that the aforementioned workspace became more than just a promise. There was an office, and it was mine, and it was on the third floor – two floors and seemingly a world removed from my cube on the first floor and the coworkers I had interacted with on nearly every one of those 1,230 days before. But, truth be told, in addition to an exceptionally wordy title, my new position had also brought with it a change in who I interacted with on a daily basis and it was no longer the first-floor coworkers. It just made sense to be closer to those with whom I worked – even it is mostly IT folks (I kid, I kid. Truthfully, the whole IT realm is scaring me less and less each day, which is kinda scary).
So, after some major purging, I packed up what remained from all I had accumulated in my cube during the past five years and traded my fabric-encased quasi walls for four, new, real walls and – this is the best part – a door. Which takes us back to today, the day I took the stairs instead of the long hallway.
I’m not going to lie and say it’s been all rainbows and unicorns. Yes, I am extremely grateful that I now have an office, but it’s a big change for me. Not only do I have coworkers on the first floor, but I have friends there too. And, it’s not as if I can’t walk down to see them multiple times a day, but it’s not the same. Today was honestly kind of tough. Did I get a lot of work done? Absolutely (did I mention I now have a door, that I can SHUT?). But the new space is going to take some getting used to.
The good news is there are definitely some familiar faces in my new area, including one of those amazing-opposite-of-immature-a-hole-people who I know is there for me, as well as others. I also have a better opportunity to meet additional coworkers and perhaps form new friendships. And, truthfully, I know this arrangement will be more beneficial in the end.
I guess the underlying message here is that while change can come in a very nice pretty package, such as a promotion or an office (with a door, that I CAN SHUT), it can still bring about difficulties. It’s how we react to the change and those difficulties that really makes us who we are.