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Please Stand Up
“Arrivals and departures and those places names, never seemed so strange before”
I recently attended a holiday party and had two interactions that made me think about the topic of change. One was with a colleague who recently announced that he was leaving for a new employer; the other was with a colleague who recently retired. Both cases involved major changes. But both cases got me thinking about change from a different perspective.
I’d had plenty of time to work with the colleague who was leaving for a new employer. I met him on his first day on the job, and bid him farewell on his final day. I felt content that we’d both had the opportunity to benefit from our relationship. I was disappointed that he was leaving the firm, but happy that he was excited to go somewhere new.
I’d only had fleeting opportunities to work with the colleague who retired. Those opportunities were little more than just an ad hoc facilitation capacity or training session. I never really had the chance to work with him in the proverbial trenches. I’d heard nothing but wonderful things about him and everyone was sad to see him leave.
As I passed by him at the party, I felt an emotion that I couldn’t quite pin down. At first, I thought it might be regret. But regret requires that you had control over a decision and chose to do something else. In the case of this colleague, I never really had the choice to spend more time with him than I did. He was never a person high up the priority list of people for me to work with. The timing just never worked out for either of us.
Looking back on this experience, the emotion that I felt was loss. I lost out on working with him, and vice versa. I can’t help but think about how both of our careers could’ve been somehow different had we worked with each other. The loss I feel isn’t because an opportunity was lost — but because an opportunity never really was.
Change happens to us, and also because of us. Waiting for some sort of change to happen may very well mean that you’re waiting for something that will never materialize. There are times in life where proactivity wins the day. We must literally and figuratively stand up. There are also times where we must stretch out and wait. In this example, I chose the latter. I was effectively waiting for permission to work with this person. And that permission never came.
Sea Power — “Please Stand Up”
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