by CareerActually contributor, Kyanne Smith


Recently I went to a presentation about workplace change. Thankfully, it wasn’t the usual approach to the subject, although the presenter did acknowledge a few of the ‘basics’:  We know it’s an ongoing, expected part of life at work. We know it’s tricky, frightening, frustrating and sometimes exciting. But on this occasion the topic was approached in a very refreshing way.

We were invited to the beach…in our imagination. We walked down to the water and felt the sand under our feet. Our colleagues were there too…. and then came the waves. Some small and easy to jump, and some were the ones that just pick you up and turn you over. The waves were the changes we experience in the workplace.

At a rather funny point in the presentation, we were introduced to a person on the beach with a loud speaker, shouting (not so helpful) information … “there’s a wave coming, but we don’t know how big… We’ll get back to you when we know more”.  All the while you’re still in the water and wondering what’s going to hit you and when.

It got me thinking about the ‘waves’ in my workplace, which was a really good reminder about my own response to changes. In particular, it was a note of caution for me…. to be careful of what and who I listen to.  I’ve come to know that some workplace ‘announcements’ aren’t all that helpful. The people with the loud speakers don’t always have the answers (or give accurate information). To use that old phrase, ‘best to be alert, not alarmed’.

The presenter asked us an interesting question. What helps us stay afloat? My mind presented me with an image from childhood – those orange inflatable ‘floaties’ that went on each arm. I loved those floaties when I was little because they made me feel safe. So I wondered what ‘floaties’ I use in life now?  Upon reflection I realised I have a lot: fun and humour at work, time with my family and friends, getting outdoors, working in my garden, and continuing to learn new things. All these things help keep me buoyant. I found it really useful just to take a moment to remember this, from a different perspective.


I wonder….. how’s your beach looking right now? Are you swimming? Perhaps you’re looking for a new beach? Wherever you find yourself, we know something for certain- that the weather and the surf will change. In the positive words of Dory, from the film Finding Nemo, perhaps the thing to do is ‘just keep swimming’….and remember to put your floaties on!

I would like to acknowledge and thank Orlie Beer, (from Davidson Trahaire Corpsych), for her creative and interesting presentation.