You may know the story of the boy who so relentlessly looks on the bright side that he’s thrilled to receive a gift box filled with manure. As he cheerfully points out, a box of manure means that “there must be a pony!”
But most of the rest of us find it hard to hold on to optimism while looking at boxes filled with company plans for restructuring, delayering, reorganizing, outsourcing, mergers, spinoffs, and more. It’s tough to be an optimist while working longer hours at pay levels that do not keep up with living costs. Where’s “the pony” in reduced career opportunities, job insecurity, and ever-increasing demands by employers?
And yet, these are exciting times. There has never been a greater need for employees at all levels to be fully competent and motivated. Global competition, rapidly changing technology, and raised customer expectations are demanding more of organizations and their people. It is clear that the successful company of the future will have a sound strategy for development of competent human resources who are committed to the goals of the company.
So it is possible to be an optimist. We can take actions to improve our working lives. We can fight against feelings of helplessness and lack of control. We do have influence and control. By learning about your competencies, and by enhancing and developing them, you can take control of several extremely important parts of your work life: everyday job performance; relationships with co-workers, with bosses, and with subordinates; and preparedness for other roles and careers.