Be Prepared for Change

In one of those saving moments that professors, actors, and ball players occasionally offer to salvage a wasted class, an amateurish play or a badly executed game, a Psychology PhD. ended his semester by telling his class “No information, technique or skill will ever be as valuable as this single adage: Be prepared for change. Be prepared to change. And after you change, be prepared to change again.”

Over the last decade, ripples and ruptures in the surface of our society have reinforced that instructor’s admonition; name a business or profession which has not changed its posture from the pushing and pulling of technology, outsourcing, and employee work modification. And while this has been a trying time for business owners, it has been at least as trying for workers keeping their balance in these uncertain times.

Several years ago two people in my world were reacting to the outset of earth shaking changes in their worlds that registered on any economic Richter scale. Elaine worked as a bookkeeper for a service that counted my office as a client, and Ashley worked in the entertainment field as an associate producer.

Traveling Numbers Lady
Elaine visited each of her accounts a few times a week, turned in her data to her employer, and then started over again the next Monday. While Elaine visited any of her assigned parties, she asked questions about how and why things went the way they did, and offered insight to ways to improve some of the financial practices of the business. She was, in short, going beyond the call of her duty.

At one point, Elaine mentioned to one of her accounts that she was concerned that her employer might not be surviving some of the economic tides that rose and fell each month, and asked if the account owner knew any similar firms that she might approach. He told her, “the model is not right for you. You’re too smart and too good with people. You should consider taking on a job that would allow you to continue your education, expand and deepen your expertise, and give you the chance to become an owner instead of an employee.”

Gizmo Girl
Ashley had the job she had worked for most of her life. She worked with creative people, managed one show business crisis after another, and had the status of, well, a show business person.

“Dad,” she told me, “I hate the way Mom and Sis love talking with everyone else in the family about their jobs, about helping people, and all I have to talk about is how every day the people I work with try to sneak by each other to get ahead.” My wife chimed in on this one: “You should look at one of these kinds of jobs,” she told her, and she handed her a packet of brochures about careers in other fields.

Ashley didn’t go into any of the jobs her Mom suggested, but she did go back to school, got a second bachelors degree in health science, and is finishing her graduate degree in Occupational Therapy. It took courage and self confidence, but she reacted to her own internal changes at work by creating a new opportunity for herself in a new career. She’ll graduate from Columbia in the Spring.

Professional Management Lady
Elaine took a job with her best looking account owner and accepted my challenge to “continue your education, expand and deepen your expertise.” She now has a certificate as a fiduciary, is completing her accounting certification, and has been asked to serve on an advisory board in her field at the California State University at Fullerton. No one is more proud than her husband Les, but those of us who work with her come pretty close.

Change Will Continue
Elaine and Ashley and each of us are guaranteed to face more changes in the future. Our employers’ ships may sink, or our dreams and aspirations may change course. Let the changes come. If we follow the same compass that Ashley and Elaine follow, the one of courage and self confidence, we will all find our way safely to shore.

To connect with Don, call the Law Offices of Donald A. Hunsberger at (714) 663-8000 or visit www.hunsbergerlaw.com

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