‘Change’ was my take-home word this summer. Yes, when you go on your first co-op work term you sort-of expect the change. A new environment, a different experience from sitting in long lectures and pulling all-nighters to keep your grades up. However, this is the good kind of change, the change we choose, the change we embrace. We are eager to discover if we enjoy our major in real-life as much as we do in the classroom, excited to polish and acquire new skills and hopefully earn some upkeep money in the process.
However, we do not always choose change and changes in the workplace are the perfect example.
In the workplace, change is often chosen for us. It is not always embraced though which makes sense because unlike my personal decision to do co-op, change in an organization affects dozens of people and can break down years of organizational culture.
Fortunately, for me, I entered Seaspan in the middle of a managerial staff change and its effects, of course, trickled from the top to the bottom. I say fortunately because experiencing the restructuring of a large corporation firsthand was a massive learning curve for me. It was like learning the ‘dos and don'ts' at someone else’s expense.
Change is not always easy but it is often for the best. I realized that employees who did not fit in sought work elsewhere and those who were able to adapt to the change made a stronger workforce, eventually building the ideal team for the company.
This observation made me reflect. Change is a process. The beginning is often challenging because it takes us out of our comfort zone (breaking habits, learning new things, meeting new people) but at the end, it is often worth it. It is like climbing a mountain, the fun parts are not the rocky pathways and thorny bushes at the beginning but the view at the end, when you have finally made it to the top.
We might not always choose change, but that does not mean we should immediately resist it. Think about the effects, would you improve from it? If yes, go for it! If your answer is no, I do not need that, then find something else that works for you. This was not only a lesson I learnt as an HR Intern but also a principle to apply to many other aspects of life.
As a co-op student, I did not just watch the organization change but I allowed myself to change. I embraced my new environment, acquired some new skills, made some new friends, and learnt some lessons.