Stephen King has a new book out called 11/22/63. It’s a time travel story about the Kennedy assassination, but the underlying premise is much more interesting. In exploring the potentially redemptive effects of being able to prevent that awful event, King affirms the value of change.
We humans seem genetically predisposed to dislike change. There is, of course, a logical if not evolutionary reason for that. Change disrupts the familiar patterns in our life and forces us to confront risk. It’s just easier and more comfortable to coast along with what we know.
Unfortunately, however, coasting would be a dangerous mistake in the post-recession world of work. In this hyper-competitive global marketplace, there is no status quo. Employers need their employees to deliver a constant stream of fresh ideas and innovative strategies just to survive.
Hanging onto the job we have now, therefore, may provide the security of familiarity, but it also exposes us to the insecurity of stale habits and rigid thinking. That’s not to say, we can’t be creative and original in that position, but let’s be honest. The longer we’re there, the harder it is to stay out of a rut.
So, change has an upside. There’s a benefit to accepting a King-like revision of our personal history, whether it’s in a new assignment in the job we already have or in a new job with the employer we already work for or in a new employer with an entirely different set of challenges. In fact, there are several.
First, change frees us to tap new aspects of our talent and knowledge as we confront unfamiliar work issues and demands. Second, it enables us to start over with a blank slate by shedding our own and others’ assumptions about our limits and capabilities. And third, change prepares us for more change which is the new norm in the American world of work.
So, here’s a new guideline for career success. Manage your career the way you ride a bicycle. Never coast for long. And, keep peddling around those turns in the road, for they’ll change you into the person you have the capacity to be and the person you deserve to be.
Note: To read more about Career Fitness and Career Activism, get my books, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System and The Career Activist Republic. Both are available at Amazon.com, in many bookstores and on Weddles.com.