In an effort to polish my skills, I was assigned to prepare a presentation on networking for young adults between the ages of 16 – 18. I would deliver to my supervisor and two other managers. Since there were no other specific requirements, I thought this would be a chance to really show off both my skills and creativity.
I analyzed the needs of my audience, prepared a simple but effective activity for my target audience, and even developed a closing activity that required each participant to announce what they would do the following day to help with their networking.
Instead of preparing a semi-dull PowerPoint presentation, I thought I would pull out one of my latest tricks and created a Prezi with movement and zoom features to “wow” the audience.
So, with every bit of confidence that I was going to score big on this presentation and perhaps be promoted to “Senior Speaker” (or something similar), I entered the room fully prepared.
What happened next, I was not prepared for at all. My supervisor informed me that the audience I had prepared for had changed; the audience was now a little older, ages 16 – 21, and each member had a 100% vision impairment (also known as blindness).
Yikes! This required me to do some quick “thinking on my feet” (and that’s difficult for someone who is paralyzed from the waist down). I did manage to muddle through my presentation, but it wasn’t the “wow” I had planned for. Afterward I began to think about some ways that we can better prepare for change, especially quick change.
Accept the inevitability of change
Change happens – seasons change, we all get older, and things go “digital”. Similar to the phrase “time stops for no man” (or woman for that matter), change is going to happen whether we like it or not. So it might be better if we begin to accept change.
Start using muscles you forgot you had
Have you ever done something physical you had not done before, or had not done in a long time? You were probably sore the next day because you hadn’t exercised those muscles. Much the same way, begin to exercise your mind in new ways by learning new and different tasks. It may hurt in the beginning, but the more we prepare ourselves for inevitable change, the easier it is WHEN it comes.
Transfer the knowledge you have
What are similarities between an Accountant and a Police Officer? Both positions require filing reports (“ba-dum-dum-CHING” . . . I’m here all night). But really, the principles in providing a clear and reconcilable report of an incident (Police Officer) or the current status of a business (Accountant) are the same. When change happens, we can certainly pull out of our “bag of experience” something that will help the situation we may find ourselves in.
Flexibility with regard to one’s career is a concept that recognizes the fact that careers in the 21st century often follow a variable rather than linear progression. That’s a fancy way of saying “things change” and the more flexible we can be in relation to change, the more we are able to go with the flow.
As we prepare for a change in season, I hope these tips can help you successfully adapt to change which can benefit both your career and personal life.
David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.