Change, change, change- it’s been a big keyword in the last few years. Clearly, change is not always that great. In some cases though, it’s awesome – a nice change of underpants should be welcomed by all. There are times when change just seems senseless; the whole if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it scenario should apply. I see unnecessary changes on a weekly basis at my job. I’ve learned that no matter how ludicrous the change, typically there is nothing that can be done to keep the changes from being implemented.
There are a wide range of changes I’ve witnessed in my twelve years with the same company. The smallest of the changes being a “no t-shirts” rule. Sure, that doesn’t seem like a huge issue, but when I’m living paycheck to paycheck and have to go out and buy “nice” shirts, it’s an irksome request. Yes… Irksome, because we talk to customers on the phone, not in person. It’s not like the tone of my voice changes if I’m wearing a t-shirt versus a blouse. I know I have never called to make a payment over the phone and thought, ugh, that person is wearing a t-shirt. I don’t care if the guy is wearing coffee stained boxer shorts, and a My Little Pony crop top that fails at hiding his hairy belly; if he can take my payment and process it correctly, that’s all that matters.
In some cases, I have been the person who had to enforce these little changes at work. Not when it came to the dress code, but instead with process changes. I do the beta testing and user acceptance testing where I work. Since I know how the new programs change our processes, I have to go around to my coworkers and help them with technical glitches, or show them what they’re doing wrong. Through this, I have learned that some people just accept change and move on, while others like to complain. The ones who complain don’t accomplish anything, and they expect me to agree with them. All I can do is empathize and tell them that I know change is frustrating, and may not always make sense, but I still need them to stick with the new process. I know I’ve done my share of complaining about change, but usually it’s regarding my favorite brand of potato chips changing their recipe to now include an ingredient to which I’m allergic. I mean, you just don’t mess with a chick’s potato chips!
Some changes are big, but they are by choice. I used to be a collector, and then after five years of having to call everyone from little old church ladies to arrogant print shop owners, I applied for a position in the customer care department. I enjoyed helping people, but when offered to start a new team for taking payments, I decided that would be a good change to make as well. Taking payments was easy, but monotonous, so I made one final major career change- I accepted a website help desk position. That was a great change because now I’m on a team with three incredibly funny and friendly people. I also get to troubleshoot technical issues, and help customers navigate our website.
Other changes are huge, but there’s no choice in the matter. The biggest change at work was just presented to us this week. We were told our jobs are being sent offshore. Oh, our jobs will be sent “near shore” as well, like it makes a difference if we’re told our jobs are going to Guatemala instead of just the Philippines. This is somewhat of a devastating change, but at least I have months of notice. So now I have to make some choices that lead to more changes.
I now know I will not be able to retire with my current company as I had planned, so now the question I have to answer is, What do I really want to be when I grow up? My current job does allow me to help people (which I love), but it’s with technical website issues. Do I want to help people in a deeper way? Do I want to have some tangible results from the help I provide others? I have even contemplated going to school to become a nurse, then reality steps in and reminds me that I really can’t stand people. I’m not sure I could maintain a loving and caring bedside manner with half of the people I encounter. Maybe I want to actually use the degree I earned many… Ahem… Maybe even too many, years ago. Yes, that’s right, I have a degree in culinary arts, yet I’m a desk jockey. I still use the skills I have, but only when making dinner for my family, or a cake for a friend.
I originally didn’t pursue a career as a chef due to the hours involved- they weren’t conducive to being a new mom. Now that my daughter is grown, however, I’m not limited to an eight-to-five workday. One of the big issues I would face in going back to culinary arts is having to work my way back up the food chain (pun intended). Unfortunately having to do so would mean that I would be making less money than I make now, after being with my current employer for twelve years (which still isn’t a lot of money). Having to accept an even smaller salary in order to have a career in culinary arts would lead to even more changes. My family and I would have to cut back on expenses like cable, internet, and other niceties like… Toilet paper. Seriously, we don’t “splurge” as it is, so there aren’t too many ways for us to downsize.
So what do I do? There are several desk jobs available at any given time in my area; I could just take my experience and transfer to another tech support position. I could also take this forced opportunity to be a pastry chef. I’ve even been told on many occasions that I should open my own cake business. Not only is that suggestion very tempting but it is also quite scary. I would get tangible results with my cakes, but I would still have to work with people *sigh*, sometimes very picky people *double sigh*, face-to-face. I would also have to run my own business, which I’ve never done before.
Yes, I have some personal changes in my future. I’m not going to complain. I’ll take this as an opportunity to better myself; I’ll learn a new skill, or start using the skills I’ve had on the back burner for years (pun once again intended). I just hope those skills haven’t developed that nasty skin on top like gravy or pudding. *shivers* Remember, change isn’t always bad. I actually hope all of you experience at least one positive change today, be it underpants, sheets, attitude, two quarters and a dime, or even the box of baking soda that’s been in your freezer for three years. Seriously, it’s absorbed all all of the stink it’s going to, change the dang box out already!