March 29, 2010
The Technical Term for No Change
The saga of efforts to reform higher education often seems like a Russian novel: long, tedious, and everyone dies in the end.
Second best quote comes from Linda herself:
There is a technical term for people who do not change: dead.
OK, full disclosure: change is hard from me. (My coworker's response to this, quoting Bartok in Anastasia: "I think I'm gonna die of not-surprise.") I could bore you with all the deep-seated psychological reasons why this is so, but I shall resist.
Change is inevitable, of course. So the question is not "Will we change?" but, "How will we change?" Change is hard for many because it implies (and almost inevitably includes) some kind of loss. When we embrace or face something new, that requires letting go of something else which we may have appreciated or just gotten used to.
So for me, it helps to try to see the positive and not fixate on the negative. For example, it helps to look at change in terms of creativity, something I find energizing.
While--as I've said here and here--I don't believe in change for the sake of change, our publishing environment has made change (and probably lots of it) inevitable. The solution is not longing for the good ol' days (though appreciate and learn from them we must) but finding ways for us and our coworkers to honor the past and find the motivating benefits in the new.