The word “Change” conjures up all kinds of emotions in people. Reactions to change are as myriad as people themselves. Change of school, change of city, change of residence, change of job, change in oneself, change in environment, changing behaviors of people…if there is one thing that’s constant, that’s change! Yet change is the most resisted.
Then there are a few who simply love change and still others who thrive on it; like me.I live on change and when I can’t change the city I live in, the organisation I work for, I change my residence. Being an expatriate in a foreign land, that’s easy. We just rent out a house, so moving just means ending a contract. Fortunately for me, there have always been compelling reasons for moving home – a growing family, a change in the location of the office or school or just financial wisdom. When I can’t move a house, I simply move the furniture around the house or change the color of the paint on the walls. I am sure , by now, you have an idea of how much I love change and how well I adapt to it. This obviously has to do with me having moved countries, changed schools or just my genes . Guess I am ‘the nomad’ in the making and I have no qualms about it.
A few years ago, we had a change in top management at the organisation and like it generally happens, with every such change, you have a change in working style, change in strategies, objectives etc. Our new boss was one for details and got to work immediately; to fix processes, gaps, improve services and quality. Work became fun for me (we were in the middle of a major revamp and after a long time, things seemed to be interesting) though for many others the idea itself was daunting. This man was changing the culture of the organisation that was as deep-rooted as the organisation itself. There were people who had been there for 30 odd years and found it extremely distressing. Very soon, I became the “Boss’s Pet” and the torch-bearer of his policy.
Then one day, someone from the IT department came over to my cabin, to take the printer from my office. Apparently, the boss had decided managers should not have individual printers. Cost-cutting, Equality or just “I’m the boss and I’ll do as I please!”( I was so pissed). At this moment, who should come to my mind- none other than Muhammad Bin Tughluq himself (a Turkic Sultan who ruled India from 1325-1351 )!. Despite having hated History in school, this man had somehow been filed away neatly in some compartment in my brain, only to surface 25 years later, on this day. The reminder startled me but the similarity couldn’t be brushed away. The wise Emperor had failed because he was ahead of his times and people just couldn’t handle it and some of the changes he made were neither pragmatic nor well analysed. They were just changes. Coming back to the present, I did argue that the printer was so old, that it wasn’t even valued as an asset anymore, in the books. “How was a printer with no value, saving the cost to the bank if removed and even if there was some minimal cost associated to it, what big difference could it make anyway in the bigger gamut of things?”. The IT Department, the Finance Department agreed. But, the Boss is the Boss; so despite my peaceful protest, the printer was taken away. Compared to all the changes I have experienced, this was barely a change. It was a minor inconvenience. Yet this little change had dislodged me (for some time). And with this change I learnt something new about myself. I was as inflexible as anybody else, when the change was forced upon me or when I did not believe in the change and when change encroached my territory (only I needed to understand, there’s really nothing personal about work).
For ‘Change’ to work, it must be communicated; all parties must be made to understand the reason or benefit of the change. It cannot be thrust upon or else it’s bound to fail.
However, being a realist, it did not take long for me to bounce back and I told myself that maybe, not having a printer was good after all. This would give me the much-needed walk to the common printer which was good for my health (sitting at hours on end in front of the screen, can kill you!) And allow me to socialise while collecting my prints…That thought changed how I felt and life went back to normal.
2 years later, yesterday, I got a personal printer again. Did I mind? Of course not! I had survived the last change. I could easily live through this one ( The boss had moved on and along with him some of the rules too) :). There was an extra printer in the department and it was allocated to me.
The truth is… it’s all in the mind. Change is inevitable. You either accept it or find some way to beat it. But you don’t crib, sulk and waste your life brooding over it (it’s never a solution to any problem) because the power to change is in your hands and your mind. It’s the cycle of life. Change is meant to be. So, let go and see where it takes you.
P.S. We just got an eviction notice from our landlord. He wants to sell the house in which we have been staying for the last few years. Will be busy changing homes, looking for a house, moving in and settling down. The sad bit- I will miss some of my neighbors who become friends along the way. But the good bit- it provides an opportunity to clear the clutter that we’ve managed to ‘hoard’ in the name of memories over the last few years…