By Jennifer Davidson, WGU SHRM Virtual Student Chapter President
Early this year, the WGU SHRM Virtual Student Chapter Leadership Team selected topics for each of the blogs to present to our membership. I remember at the time thinking about how the economic class I was knee-deep in would be relevant in the fall. What would the temperature of our economic climate look like based upon the election? Considering how economics ebb and flow during an election year, I thought, “What a great topic!”
At the time, a pandemic would not have made the vision board. But here we are. Fast-forward eight months, and we are seeing a change in our economic climate correlated to a pandemic, not election results. The loss of jobs, industries, our cultural norms have all been tested and family members lost.
We’ve had to deal with the change of working from home. We have moved from an office environment of coworkers to an isolated world of silence. We have had to self-educate and navigate technology on the fly. Now we are checking in and out of Zoom and Teams meetings and taking on new work projects. We have resolved to wearing masks that are just plain uncomfortable as we navigate our new normal. Our normal in a different kind of busy.
Some adults do not like change. Many adults enjoy routine, structure, and being comfortable. We have turned all those things upside down, and, for many, it is not working well. Somewhere in this mass of unorganized chaos is the daily challenge of getting up. There is a perception that someone thinks that if you missed a meeting, you are not working. If you do not volunteer for a project, you could be ostracized because you said no. That may not be a correct perception. Have you met a parent who is trying to work and homeschool?
How do we begin to manage our reaction to these changes? We must start small and begin to take these things one day at a time, creating virtual spaces that are warm and welcoming for friends, family, and coworkers. Lending a hand when it is difficult may be a little of what the world needs. We need to work together to make a way. Take a few minutes this season to check on a neighbor, do some yard work for family that may not be able to do for themselves, and yes, it’s ok to check in on those coworkers that used to drive you crazy. You may not realize that you are missing them as much as they are missing you.
Your fellow students and coworkers are also having a hard time trying to decide if they should make a call to check on you. Stop with the excuses. Pick up the phone and call someone! Forget the idea that you might be interrupting them—they may welcome the connection. It is time to take the time to reconnect. We are social beings that cannot begin to react to these changes if we do not begin to move when things change.
As students striving to become professionals in the human resources world, it is imperative that we take a few moments to help and assist the people we will one day partner with and support. Now is a great time to reach out and practice the soft skills you have learned. Do not be afraid to be a change maker.
There is someone out there sitting in bed, reading Facebook, and thinking getting up is not on the to-do list. Today, I challenge you to think about how you have spent this year managing your reaction to change and what your takeaway will be? How do you manage change and how will you change the way you manage it? Some ways that you can do this would be by sending a handwritten note in the mail, dropping off a goodie bag of thoughtful items, or sending an invitation to a virtual online picnic or party. Are you ready? Let us begin by managing the things we can. It will do the world good and it will be good for you.