Just Keep Swimming

Fun fact:  if a shark stops swimming, it will die.  It needs to force the water through its gills to process the oxygen in the water.

Fun fact: if a shark stops swimming, it will die. It needs to force the water through its gills to process the oxygen in the water.

Recently, I’ve been reminded that no matter what happens, you must move forward.  There is no choice, there is no debate, time marches on – and you with it. 

The first time this became clear to me was when my son was born.  I read all of the books, I bought all of the supplies, my son was born and despite it all my world went topsy-turvy.  In those first few months, was exhausted beyond reason and on many occasions, we would find ourselves sitting there crying together.  Time went on, I learned to adapt, he gained skills, and today things couldn’t be better.  Back in those baby days, there was no giving up – not even hiding away for a much-needed nap.  I had a baby that needed me and I needed to keep moving forward, all the while using my wits and ingenuity to learn and adapt.

I work for manufacturing company, a sector that was among the hardest hit in the economic downturn.  The last year has brought a flurry of changes – people taking early retirement packages or being laid off, departments restructuring, budgets being cut, etc., etc.  These changes started happening about this time last year and although some of the changes were tough on me, I could fairly easily see how to adapt and figure out how to complete my job function within this “new normal”. 

The last round of cuts, however, have left me at a loss.  It wasn’t about WHO was let go or the restructuring that took place, per se.  For me, it was trying to adapt again, (when I hadn’t quite yet adjusted to the previous changes) trying to make sense of the vision seen by management and also get a feel for where our “ship” is now headed.  (when I hadn’t yet adjusted to the previous course)  As I try to analyze the situation, I wonder:  am I on a path to success or destruction?  I honestly couldn’t tell you.  If I stay, will everything “right” itself and I will find myself rewarded, or will I go down with the ship?  Does management have the wisdom to be making the right choices?  Can I trust what’s happening here? 

In the short term, with all of the above in the back of my mind, I still have to figure out how to move forward.  I don’t know where my boundaries are, I don’t know who to go to for questions, I’m doing things solo when I’m used to a committee.  (there is no “committee” left!)  I still have projects to complete, products continue to come due for launch, time marches on.  I must, somehow, find a way to move forward.  Even a choice to NOT move forward is still moving forward – crazy, isn’t it?  My goal everyday (as a rule) should be to improve my current situation in whatever way I can.  So, rather than trying to hide or digging in my heels, the best case scenario is to try to stay positive and do as well as I can with what I have to work with every day, no matter what…because really, that’s all I CAN do.  So confining and yet so simple.  Wow.

Oddly enough, there is a quote in my planner this week that is eerily fitting:

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious ambiguity. 
– Gilda Radner

A nice dose of optimism for uncertain times.  🙂


About hollybarber

I have a well-rounded communications and photography/video background with a healthy dose of technology. I enjoy the creation process, carrying projects through from concept to finish and the challenge of fine-tuning processes. I like to be organized, and I have a regard for the importance of proper asset management. I definitely have a creative side that enjoys design work, photography and art direction. I like to imagine the possibilities and think of clever, creative solutions. Continuously exploring and learning is part of my nature, which makes me a natural fit for working with technology and the Internet. Specialties: Web producing, digital communications, design, usability, mobile marketing, web marketing, creative problem solving, art direction, process improvement, project management, digital imaging, branding
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