Not everyone is happy when you change

Career Opportunities podcast logoNot everyone is happy when you change
By Douglas E. Welch


Listen: Not everyone is happy when you change

Despite the struggle it can sometimes be, growth and change are an important part of any career. If you aren’t growing and changing every day, you are probably falling behind. You should constantly be looking for new skills, new challenges and new positions where you can have the most impact. Usually, those around us, our friends and family, are supportive of our changes. They want to see us grow, too. On occasion, though, there are people who see changes in your life as threatening to their own status quo. If you gain success by changing, what does that mean for them if they remain the same. Humans can be caring individuals, but sometimes they can get wrapped up in their own emotions.

I am sure you have seen this in action in your own life. You decide to lose some weight and then a friend constantly entices you to go to one restaurant or another. You disclose your desire to move to a new town, only to hear all the negative aspects of living there. You are looking for a promotion and your co-workers try to convince you that it would either be too hard of a job or that you could never succeed at it. This natural desire to maintain the status quo can take many forms from benign to destructive, but you always need to look beyond what your friends are saying and find the underlying cause.

Jealousy is often a big factor when others are resistant to changes in your life. This doesn’t mean that they are doing it out of malice, or even doing it with conscious thought. It often means that they are simply feeling an unrequited need in their own life or career which your change highlights. Sure, some people can take this to ugly extremes, but typically people are just bemoaning the fact that they haven’t made the changes you are making.

Think about a time when you were jealous of someone else’s success. How did you feel? How did you react? Don’t kid yourself, either. We all feel jealousy. We might feel it to greater and lesser degrees and some of us might let it go more easily, but we all feel it on occasion.

Listen to the advice of your friends and family, then do it anyway.

Another cause of conflict comes from some people’s sense of scarcity. Despite all the abundance in our world, they can easily fall into the thought that every reward someone else receives is a reward that is lost to them. Every job someone else gets is one they lost. Every bit of praise, every promotion, every dollar is something they lose. You might imagine how this could make someone bitter. Worse still, it has nothing to do with you particularly, but only with their overriding view of how the world works.

You need to be especially aware of these people, as they can be the most destructive to your ability to change and grow. They will poison every contact, every conversation and might even actively try to thwart your change by spreading rumors and other attacks on your skills and work. These people can easily turn their disappointment to malice.

So, now that you know what may face you when you announce any major change in your life, do it. No one can stop us from making the changes we need, except ourselves. Listen to the advice of your friends and family, then do it anyway. Listen to the negative aspects proposed by your co-workers, and do it anyway. Face all the resistance that you will receive, and do it anyway. Will you change your methods, adjust your goals, postpone a move? Maybe. If you do, though, you will do it with the full knowledge of the feelings of those around you and how it might effect their behavior.

We are all flawed human beings and we sometimes don’t do the right thing for ourselves or others. We need to recognize that fact and allow ourselves to pursue change, even when it might cause friction with those around us. We need to see them as human and understand that our great success might bring out some bitter or painful thoughts and memories. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change, simply to avoid this, but rather that you should change anyway, and help those around you change, as well.

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