Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes

Driving through west Texas in July 2017, the turning windmills on the side of the road seemed to be dancing in synchrony – like a line of Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in New York City dancing and kicking in a chorus line. I didn’t have to visit Holland after all to see windmills. What a great country we live in!  This was a big change from the oil wells I saw in east Texas, the first time I visited the state oh so long ago.  Not just the change in the landscape, but the change in technology to provide us energy. 

Later that month, an article in the business section of the Washington Post about clean energy caught my attention. American Electric Power, one of the nation’s largest power companies, announced plans to buy the nation’s biggest U.S. wind farms. The project is in Oklahoma (we drove through there first before getting to Texas) in cooperation with two renewable energy companies.  Through subsidiaries of AEP, the power generated through wind – a renewable energy source – would serve customers in four states – Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. The downside, AEP will be less reliant on coal plants for energy which will impact certain jobs. Change!

Change is hard – personally and professionally. Sometimes you see it coming; other times it’s unexpected.  Sometimes it’s planned by you, other times it’s imposed on you by others or by circumstance. Emotions are always present – some are positive while others are negative. The challenge is getting through it with the least amount of conflict – internal conflict and external conflict.

There’s been much in the news about the changing face of manufacturing in this country. Interestingly, government data shows that many factory works are quitting their jobs at the fastest pace in a decade. The indicators are that they think they can find work elsewhere. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that since June 2015 the share of employees voluntarily leaving the industry has risen from 1.1 percent to 1.6 percent.

An article in the Washington post in August 2017, talked about one man in the manufacturing sector who was taking advantage of his company’s education benefits and going back to school at age 53 to study psychology. He wants to help others who are challenged by industry changes and help them face them. Others took buyouts to start their own businesses – some to follow a passion that they hope they can turn into incomes. Career transitions are hard. I’ve done it many times – moving from employee to consultant to writer. You have to know the resources available to you. You have to move from perhaps being an expert to being a student.

How do you tackle change? It’s so easy to get stuck daily routines and the pace of your work. Stepping out of your comfort zone – even occasionally – can help prepare your for change. When you stop starting (something new) you stop. So explore and challenge yourself by learning something new – in your personal live, in your professional life, in your organization or industry. 

While change is often uncomfortable, it can also bring a whole new energy level. The challenge is getting through the change and getting to the other side!

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