The Paris Change Effect

Change Chance

We’ve all been told we’re scared of change. Told that as humans we are inherently inert and at one point in most of our lives a ‘professional’ called a ‘Chief Change Manager’ or something similar have plotted us on curves and force-fed books about cheese down our throats.

And so we’ve gone along with it, accepting that we don’t like change.

I’ve certainly always thought that I didn’t like change. Operating on that assumption, I’ve made decisions in the past based on forcing myself to not be scared of change. When faced with a problem with several possible solutions, I would dismiss my instincts, my hesitations; as simple, garden-variety, unwillingness to change.

My dream job knocked on my door this week. On paper it sounded like a no-brainer, a chance to combine two of my strongest passions and increase my skills, profile and confidence (not to mention take-home pay). But all the while I was rejoicing over my good luck, I kept coming back to the same niggling doubt.

I was just starting to feel (somewhat) settled here in Paris. I’d worked out the ins and outs of my job, set up a (sort of) routine, and whilst I still encounter busy-ness on a daily basis, I’ve eliminated most of the new-job stress from my life. Two days out from Christmas vacation, I knew that if I pursued this new opportunity that my six days of planned eat-sleep-eat-bliss would be ruined with anxiety and possibly, a hint of regret.

But, I said to myself somewhat dismissively, it’s normal to feel like that, it’s just your resistance to change. You need to push through that.

But what if I wasn’t scared? My track record includes frequent career, state and country changes on a frequent basis, and I am a brand loyalty manager’s worst nightmare. I change brands of toothpaste every time I shop.

It dawned on me that I’m not afraid of change at all, and I probably never was. My problem, is that I’m scared of standing still.

And I realised too that as much as this job sounded like The Dream, the reality was probably never going to live up to what I’d imagined, because the dream job, for me, doesn’t exist. At least, not on somebody else’s payroll.

I already have my dream job, at least one day a week; the Mondays I spend writing my novels. And, if 2014 goes my way, in the not too distant future, that dream might just last all week.

This entire decision-making process took place on the line seven metro, the time it took to travel twelve stops from Porte de la Villette to Opera. I got on the train, feeling frantic but entirely ready to pursue the new job, and stepped off, calm and confident that everything I needed, I already had.

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Change/ chance image courtesy of Wiertz Sebastien on Flickr.

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