Mastering the New “Normal”

brewing coffeeimages

Our beloved Krups coffee maker decided it would brew its last wonderful cup of coffee this week. That might not sound like much to you — but, I assure you — to the finicky beings that are my taste buds, it is. I loved that coffeemaker. Each day it brewed the perfect cup of coffee, that would sustain me through many a morning meeting or assessment report.

However, I had no choice in the matter. Done. Kaput.

So — I reluctantly charged off in search of a replacement. The same machine was no longer available. (Why have you messed with success?) Change is hard. Even the small ones.

When change unceremoniously arrives at work, all sorts of havoc can ensue. A little like my coffee machine dilemma — we’re not always fully consulted when these changes are about to occur. Whether you are anticipating a new boss, a revised performance rating system or company-wide reorganization — change is challenging. It really is. I’ve been there. I’ve lived through lay-offs, sudden resignations and client shake-ups. (I’ve also helped teams move through those very same challenges.)

Embracing change is another story, and that is difficult for most of us.

How do we deal with change? I’d say, as best as we can — but I’m sure that is the last thing you’d like to hear. On some level, we simply have to construct (or wait for) that “new normal”. In most cases, we manage to find that new path and we adjust.

While you are waiting, here are a few things to consider:

  • Embrace the need. While uncomfortable, long careers demand that we appreciate and recognize the need to adapt. Organizations evolve. In some cases, the need to revise our course is inevitable.
  • You can maintain your identity. Remember, that the qualities you personally bring to the table will remain — even in the midst of change. Don’t assume that revisions to your work life will entirely derail you or force you to become less of a contributor.
  • Learn more. With any change, learning more about what is about to happen can alleviate accompanying fear and anxiety. Do a “reference check” on your new supervisor. Ask for the “expanded” explanation as to why that new procedural change is necessary.
  • Ignore the “naysayers”. The last thing you need around you, is an individual who isn’t going to give the situation an iota of a chance. Inoculate yourself against the negativity that they might be spreading. It’s really not wise to borrow additional trouble.
  • Give it time. Once the changes occur, offer the situation time to settle. Some of the initial bumps that pop up, work themselves out. There is a period of “re-calibration” that must occur.  Once that is complete, a clearer picture may surface. You may actually like a bit of what you see.
  • Look for the up-side. Change often opens the door to more change — and there could be opportunity lurking there. If you have a new supervisor, for example, they may just be the person willing to listen to those piles of ideas you’ve carefully stored.

I hope you discover your “new normal” quickly. Meanwhile, our new Krups #KM7508 12-cup programmable coffee machine sits on our counter. It has big shoes to fill. But, I’ll have to admit — today it brewed a pretty mean cup of coffee.

Is change difficult for you? What are your strategies to deal with it.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, consultant and speaker. The Office Blend, has been recognized by Forbes as one of their “Top 100 Websites for Your Career” in both 2012 and 2013.

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