A former boss and the best mentor I ever had often said “change is hard” when promoting a new idea at a staff meeting. Gasp! To her this “change” was filled with excitement but everyone else saw any change to the status quo as filled with dread. What does this mean? Will my job get harder? Will I have the skills to do this new thing? What’s wrong with doing things the same way we’ve always done them? It’s safe and known and I’m pretty good at it. Does change really have to be this hard?Sometimes a life change IS hard and sudden and dramatic (a devastating diagnoses, an unexpected loss) and is associated with something bad. No one wants bad things to happen so we strive to avoid any kind of change. It’s safer to not think about life changing. How do we graciously accept constant change?I’ve learned that good change and bad change coexist together to create the yin and yang of life. Some changes in life are by choice and some just happen whether we like it or not. We can’t appreciate one without the other. A year ago this week we were settling into our apartment in Savannah. I consciously made the choice to change jobs, move to Savannah, leave friends and family, and exchange the “safety” of what I knew for a different opportunity. I was excited about all the possibilities that Savannah had to offer. I was ecstatic to start an increasingly more responsible position at the public library. I was thrilled for the chance to learn something new.
Positively, we moved to a wonderful city that we love. We’ve enjoyed a lot of quality time with family and have met some fascinating new friends. We bought the perfect house in the middle of the historic district within walking distance to everything. We’ve explored, tasted, talked and laughed our way through the last year.
Unfortunately my job change did not work out so well. With loving support from my husband, I made the choice to walk away after eleven months. I had no way of knowing that the job would turn out to be something different than I expected. My personal and professional ethics were challenged and I opted not to compromise my personal and professional ethics. As I said to one administrator, “I’m too young to retire, but I’m too old to put up with these shenanigans”. So I walked away with my self-respect in tow. At first I worried a lot about losing my “librarian” identity but it was more important not to lose myself. It seemed like a big, life-altering change at the time but is getting smaller and easier by the day. The best part is that I get to spend more time with my family and friends doing the things that I love in a place that I love. Through the entire soul searching process I learned a lot of positive things about myself and that is always a good thing!
A few years ago I attended a library workshop called “Lead the Change”. The presenter, referring to library organizations, said “if you’re not changing you’re not growing”. This is true in our personal lives as well. I have found that what might look like a “bad” change usually leads to something very good. I’m not sure what is in store for me next but it is time again to embrace change and grow. Change is good!