I am frequently heard exhorting all sorts of people to adapt to change in job search. I run workshops in women’s groups, coach private clients and MBA classes in international Business Schools. I get profoundly frustrated when eyes glaze over in lack of understanding. If I get it… why can’t they?
In some areas I am pretty advanced. As an early adopter of social media, particularly in Europe, I made a relatively seamless transition to new technology as it related to career strategy. For some unfathomable reason I could see the almost immediate connection between changing technology, economic circumstances and new approaches to developing a career. I just got it.
So why people clung onto these outdated less effective ways of managing their careers was truthfully incomprehensible to me.
Yet in one area I confess, I too, remained intransigent. Books. I needed a cover and paper and something with weight I could put down on a coffee table, in my briefcase or on my nightstand. I have spent fortunes on excess luggage shipping my reading material around with me and on postage having current titles delivered to any number of destinations. I’ve given myself back and arm ache, schlepping around weighty tomes and supplies of reading matter. I’m not even a corner turner, or spine bender. I wouldn’t dream of writing on one of my books. Even my best-loved reads are in such pristine condition that charity shops are willing to travel miles to pick up my rejects, whenever I make a donation.
I had a collection of probably about 4000 books (I’m a hoarder too!) You can imagine how much space that took up. For some time now my friends have been suggesting I acquire a Kindle, bemused that I am effectively paying storage to house books I would probably never read again. My accountant, had he not been bald, would have torn his hair out. I resisted for all the aforementioned reasons.
But the real reason was that because of something equally unfathomable, this was one area I didn’t want to… I simply couldn’t…. change.
Does the sun rise in the west? No! This was what I knew and was used to.
I was given a Kindle for Christmas, complete with pink case. I went through all the usual social gestures of appreciation (“lovely darling, thank you.”) I handled the rose-coloured item gingerly at arm’s length, viewing it with deep suspicion, as my daughter enthusiastically talked me through the user instructions. Cautiously, under supervision, I downloaded a few titles, grudgingly acknowledging the cost effectiveness and speed of the inter-connectivity with my Amazon account. I nodded reluctantly to the very clear advantages for someone like me who travels so much.
In early January, away from prying eyes, I returned to this fine article, picking it up with my finger tips and started to read. I had to admit it actually wasn’t so bad. I adjusted the font size. I picked it up again and it was on the exact spot I left it. I sped through the books I had downloaded, mixing up the forward and backwards buttons from time to time, but no real harm done. When I finished one title on the train to Paris I simply downloaded another. And hey-ho there it was! No postage. It slips into my handbag at a fraction of the weight of whatever weighty tome might be on my reading list.
So now when I talk to anyone who has doubts about creating a LinkedIn profile, opening a Twitter/ Google+ account, or using a Facebook page for professional purposes, I feel I have been in that dark place of resistance. We all have them and they are all different.
Will I ever buy a paper book again? I’m sure I will. Just as anyone will print out a hard copy CV.
Am I glad I finally got over myself, because this is what it is really about? Absolutely.
Where are you in the change game? Where is your dark place of resistance?
P.S. I am not working for Kindle!
P.P.S. Article by Jonathan Franzens “ebooks are damaging society” for a counter view.