How to handle change at work

Work and employment doesn’t always run smoothly.

Previous generations may have had a job for life, but any review of the job market and how industries, technologies and ways of working have changed in the last forty years shows how much change can happen in any ‘safe’ area of business or employment.

Examples of industries where this has happened include:

  • Coal mining
  • Steel production
  • Manufacturing (particularly cars)
  • Dairy farming and milk ‘doorstep’ delivery
  • Telecoms
  • Computer hardware
  • Ownership of national and public sector organisations (British Gas, Royal Mail, Prison services, NHS departments)
  • Private and shareholder funded companies – these are bought/sold and restructured daily

What we do and how we do it continues to change at pace in the workplace.

You might think that service roles are a safe bet, but take a look at the use of artificial intelligence in this insurance firm in Japan before you relax. Also look at the growth in robotics as an alternative to some roles as an example of future technology likely to impact the job market.

What can you do to handle these changes?

A crystal ball (or a career in robot design) would be useful, but as these are not available to everyone, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare for organisational change and possible redundancy,

Accept change can (or will) happen

As per the industry examples, sooner or later, change will happen in your sector, fuelled by technology growth, economic changes or a reorganisation of your working environment.

Accept this could happen to you.

This sounds simplistic, but being open to the fact that change will come (rather than resistant) will help you take further steps and make more resilient preparations.

You may need some coaching to help digest this, if you are not used to change. For some this could be a very significant change in your beliefs or view of the world. Don’t face it on your own.

Be prepared

Baden Powell was right when he trained the scouts. You too can be prepared by quietly taking some proactive steps when change is coming your way.

Think of this as resilience training. Plan for the worst (while hoping for the best) and you will be ready when it happens. You can be prepared by having some job application ‘assets’ ready AND be prepared mentally that your long established career plan may need to change.

What to prepare?

Update the tools you would use to apply for a job (CV, covering letter, LinkedIn profile)

Identify your strengths and document examples of recent good work

List who you would contact to find a new role

Updating these documents and ‘job assets’ can help you be ready for change. Feeling ready (you have done your homework) goes with being ready, having a fresh CV at hand.

Understand your work values

It’s not an easy question, but think about what you currently get from being in work? Or why you chose your current job? And – What else could you do?

What do you enjoy doing? What does work give you (apart from pay)? What happens when you have a good day at work?

Understanding what makes you tick at work will help you find new work that meets your needs.

So just to round up what I’m saying here. Change happens to all industries and business but you can lessen the impact by accepting this and being mentally ready.

You can also be ready by being organised (a current CV etc) and by knowing what you like doing at work and what it gives you in return.

You could end up with a different job, but as long as it meets your needs, you’ll feel satisfied.

So… get ready for change, so you can take advantage of the new choices it brings.

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