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- Personal Development
Can Things Change?
This question has been asked many times: Can things change? This is especially true if you are an older individual and your life seems to have been an endless roller coaster ride. If given the opportunity to change one instance in your life, would you? Some might be quick to answer: yes! There is one thing that you must remember, though. The changes that occur will not only affect you; it can also affect others as well.
The George Bailey Syndrome
Most people have seen the 1946 movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The main character, George Bailey is at the brink of suicide. It seemed forces beyond his control were manipulating him from disappointment to disaster. He wished he had never been born.
Many people have faced such a calamity, perhaps not to the extent of a George Bailey, but it appeared to be just as devastating. Being excluded from important decisions on your job that directly affected you can be disheartening. Looking forward to spending quality time with a spouse only to discover s/he has other commitments that cannot be delayed can be inacceptable. Your bills are increasing but your resources seem to be decreasing. This is just to name a few of the many things that happen in life. What to do?
There are three alternatives:
1. Do nothing and just hope things get better.
2. Talk it over with your family or a close friend.
3. Take drastic measures.
Let’s explore each of these alternatives. Of course, there could be others depending upon the extenuating circumstances. However, we will limit ourselves to these three alternatives.
This is probably the easiest action to take and could possibly be the less prolific. Doing nothing means you are surrendering to the status quo in the hopes that things will just “change on their own.” Eventually, time does bring about a change. This change can either be for better or worse.
We will use as an illustration being on a job and not being chosen for a coveted position that would be a promotion. Your general feelings could be one of either disappointment or even anger. This is especially true if you considered yourself to be the obvious choice and someone from outside the company was chosen. By doing nothing or just being angry is counter-productive. The situation may never change unless you discover the rationale behind not being selected. There could be several:
· The newcomer has more experience in the position
· Your qualifications weren’t an exact fit
· Management wanted to incorporate a different prospective
· You are indispensable in your current position
· Disparaging comments were made regarding you
· You over-exaggerated your abilities for the job
Any one of these reasons could have been used in the selection of the best candidate. Doing nothing will not correct your problem. It could keep you stagnant in your present job.
However, if you were waiting for your in-grade increase which was postponed due to temporary budget cuts; doing nothing could represent a 50/50 proposition. Either once the company is solvent your increase is given or your co-workers and you could face layoffs. Doing nothing again may not be a viable alternative.
Talk It Over
Talking it over could be the best alternative. Referencing the previous example, discuss with your family how you feel about not being chosen for the position. Ask a good friend or relative to be candid but not judgmental. Try not to be over emotional or vindictive regarding the information s/he communicates to you. Remember, this is basically to help you—not a personal criticism of you. Be prepared for what is said.
The comments you receive from your family or friend may prompt you into wanting to speak to the hiring manager. If you can instigate such a meeting; that would be great. If you are on good terms with your present supervisor perhaps something can be arranged. Please remember to use the upmost tact and diplomacy when addressing someone who has the authority of making your job miserable or enjoyable. If you are told that you are indispensable, consider it a compliment and discuss ways where this can benefit both the company and you.
Discovering that disparaging remarks have been said regarding you can be disturbing. It can also be a way for you to correct any negative aspects in your personality. Seeking advice from this person is the first step on the road to better employee relationships.
If you and the position were not the perfect fit—inquire if there are courses available or additional training that could put you in a better position when another opening materializes. This also shows you are mature enough to accept not being selected and wish to improve your chances in the future.
If management wants to integrate a new prospective into the company, then this doesn’t mean that you were not qualified. It could mean however, that you might want to consider changing companies.
Take Drastic Measures
This is an alternative but not a very good one. Using the previous illustration, you decide to get revenge on the company and the hiring manager. You begin to sabotage the work of the new employee and spread distasteful chinwag about the company. Either you are rude and obnoxious or you are quiet and reserved. Whichever method you choose—you are determined not to be cooperative.
Seeking retribution can be a dangerous alternative. Generally, this will rebound with your immediate dismissal or even legal litigation. The tension in an office where people are not cooperative is not fostering a positive company cultural environment. Think carefully before undertaking this choice.
Doing physical harm to yourself or someone else will not be discussed because considering such an alternative needs to be discussed with a crisis management professional.
In the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey discovered how his life touched others in very positive ways. Although he didn’t seek help, it was made available to him through his wife. George had helped so many others and they were willing to help him. You can’t assume others are aware of your problems; you only need to ask for assistance.
You may not be privileged to have an extraordinary visitation by a celestial being. Nevertheless, there are people who care enough for you and are willing to listen to you discuss your feelings of disappointment as well as celebrate with you in your triumphs.
Can things change? This is a question that YOU can answer.