Welcome to 2016, where nothing has changed except everything.

This is always the time of year when employers like to have their employees reflect on the previous year and write a self-evaluation recounting successes, opportunities, and recapping accomplishments. I’ve kept old copies of these evaluations for years, and when I look back on them, there seems to be a common theme: change. More often than not, my opening paragraph contains a thesis statement something like one of these:

  • For me, personally and professionally, this has been a year of transition.
  • This year, I have successfully navigated an ever changing environment.
  • Although this year included a difficult adjustment period, I….
  • My year has been full of opportunities to adapt to a new…

I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for me to realize that change is the permanent condition in the modern world. There’s no longer any such thing as getting comfortable and coasting or being fully versed in your role and fully confident in your abilities, because once you start to feel as though you’ve got it, something (or everything) changes. I’ve never had a problem adapting to change (I thought the book “Who Moved My Cheese” was pretty much common sense, and really didn’t understand why someone would write a whole book on the subject), but something deep inside has always been wondering when I could just have a period of time where I have the opportunity to get bored with the status quo. Answer: Constant adaptation IS the status quo, you idiot! 

So, it really should have come as no surprise that along with the changing of the year, other changes would soon follow both personally and professionally.

Families change all the time. Two years ago, our little family of 4 turned into a family of 3 as my oldest daughter graduated from high school and left the nest. (Yes, I get that she’s still part of my family, but not having all 4 of us under the same roof, has been strange.) Less than two full years later, she is successfully employed, renting her own apartment, paying her own bills, and only needs mom when she needs a washing machine. I don’t mind. I miss her, but I know she’s not far away.

Over the past 12 months, her younger sister has grown increasingly independent, and in the past few weeks, has reached yet another milestone….a drivers license. The change here is positive in some ways. I have more time now that I’m not constantly chauffeuring her around town to and endless parade of rehearsals, activities, meetings, performances, and on and on and on. But, I think this has also been one of the most difficult transitions for me. It’s one less thing she’s dependent on me for. It’s eliminating one of our primary opportunities to connect. Driving her across town is when I heard about friends, school, problems, frustrations, successes…you get the point. Now, we have to adapt and find other ways to connect, but that’s a topic for another day.

Work has been one of the most challenging changes recently. In the past year, I’ve endured a change in managers, departments, job responsibilities, political climates all while continuing to try to keep all the balls in the air. In the past two weeks, a series of events, most of which were out of my control, have lead me to accept a new role in an area that is completely outside my comfort zone. I’m returning to my techno-geek roots, and back to learning new technologies, new products, and reawakening a knowledge that I had long since let stagnate.

I guess next year’s self-evaluation is going to have a similar theme, huh?