A Story of Change: Chapter 1

by Emily Jasper on May 8, 2009

What follows is the beginning of a short series about how my siblings and I adapt to change. These next few weeks include a lot of change for all of us, but mostly for the three Gen-Y children. I am the eldest (25) of three, with two brothers who are fraternal twins (23) just behind me. This is part of my contribution to Matt Cheuvront’s Life Without Pants series on the Inconvenience of Change.

I have written about change before, but for my family, the ability to adapt to change was necessary growing up. We were the children of a Naval officer, and let me tell you, we got really good at packing up and moving to new towns. Those experiences armed my brothers and me with tactics on how to deal with change. This is the story of my artillery to handle change:

I seek out change. This is not usual. When things in the office start getting shaky, I get excited. Not because I am happy people will have to do shifting of jobs, but because I might get to. New responsibilities and challenges energize me, get me new experiences, and keep me from getting bored. Some may say Gen-Yers get a little ADD when it comes to work, and I will admit, I like lots of variety. But that’s a personal preference rather than a work preference.

In order to seek out change, there are a number of things that I need to do in order to “deal” with it. The list might vary due to the type of change, but these are the recurring points that are the most helpful.

1. Set up a routine. During the week, I get up at 5am, workout, get ready, and arrive in the office at 7:30. Saturdays I clean, Sunday I grocery shop, and I try to read at least one book per week. Rinse. Repeat. Routine is like pushing the Autopilot button. When you get into a routine, you don’t have to engage all your mental faculties to get going in the morning, to accomplish a short-list of to do’s each week.

2. Do what you can when you can. When I was in Sales, I learned you accomplish everything you possibly can as early as you can because there will always be those last-minute emergencies. Putting things off doesn’t give you the luxury of being able to handle unexpected requests. These can be work emergencies, social obligations, or wanting to get in some personal time.

3. Don’t over-schedule yourself. Gen-Yers are notorious for being mulit-taskers who are involved in 15 different things, riding a rocky road to burnout. If you are dealing with constant change, you need wiggle room and flexibility. Be involved, but understand what time you can truly commit. Be a contributor for a group blog instead of managing the whole thing. At some point, you’re going to want to take a night off to catch up on reality tv, and having flexibility to do that while still fulfilling your obligations keeps you going.

The next chapters of this series will include the stories of each of my brothers. One decided to quit his job, move to a new town, and go to nursing school. The other is graduating college in a down economy, dealing with finding a job in a specialized field. Also included will be the Boomer perspective on the decisions that each child has made.

Please pick up a copy of New Day Revolution by Sam Davidson and Stephen Moseley. New Day Revolution shows you how small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Next time you throw out the juice carton, take five seconds to compact it and save space in the landfill, or grab an extra box of crayons for your local school when you buy a box for your child. For people who feel they have little time, this first book from the duo that launched CoolPeopleCare.org gives helpful hints, practical tips, and step by step instructions on how to make a big difference in the local community and the world at-large with whatever time you have. We can’t all be Jack Bauer, running down bad guys and defusing bombs – but we can all make an impact where we are with what we’ve got.

The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Photo from my family