Last August I announced that I will be retiring when my current employment contract ends on June 30, 2018. Late last month our Board hired a recruiter, so the process of finding my replacement is well underway.
I am definitely ready to move on to the next phase of my life, but I also know that the prospect of a new leader and the inevitable change to come is causing some anxiety for our staff and volunteers which leaves me feeling a bit guilty. And if I am honest, even though I am excited about what my future holds and looking forward to a happy retirement, the prospect of change makes me a bit anxious too.
On Friday night one of our long-time volunteers (who has also become a friend) hosted her annual holiday potluck for the staff and volunteers at the branch where she volunteers, and we had a funny conversation about the changes to come. She asked if I would come to the party next year, and I told her that I probably would not as I don’t want to usurp the new Director, but it would depend on who the Director was and my relationship with that person. She then said she wished the Board would just promote our current Deputy Director because everyone likes her and that would result in the least amount of change. I explained that as public officials the Board has an obligation to conduct a thorough and transparent search for my replacement, and said that things will probably be even better with someone new at the helm. Her response – “I don’t like change, and I don’t want better.”
At the time I thought her comment was funny, but the more I think about it the more it makes me sad. I wonder how many people are so anxious about change that they don’t want it at all, even when it is for the better? I see many people who are unwilling to leave or change situations that are clearly making them unhappy, even when they have opportunities to do something better, so I think that it is probably a lot.
I hope that I do not become one of those people. If I am unhappy with a situation or circumstance I want to be open to making the changes, whether in my attitude and approach or in the situation itself, that will make things better. And when change is thrust upon me, I want to be the kind of person who is open to the lessons and opportunities that it brings. I don’t always like change, but I do “want better.”