I’m sorry. Did you say something?

In a matter of a few weeks, the world as I know it will change.  It’s inescapable, and no manner of preparation nor emergency survival kit will delay it’s coming.  It’s an event with such cataclysmic implications the Aztecs should have circled October 2011 in their little calendar, not 2012.  It’s true people! Our company is converting to Microsoft Office 2010.  The horror…the horror…

At least for some.  Personally, I could care less.  Sure it will take some getting used to, but as I don’t have any authority to make corporate decisions, or any other decisions that affect my job for that matter, there’s not much I can do about it.  I’ll come in one day, and there it will be, all bright and shiny and new in my applications list.  And you know what?  I’ll still have the same work to do, and the same deadlines to meet, so I’ll sit down and do it.  The only difference is, I’ll be wearing headphones.

Ironically enough, they’ve recently implemented a “headphones in one ear only” policy in the office.  A policy that up until now has not affected me because I listen to the radio.  However in the weeks to come, not only will I make use of my ear-buds, I will ignore said policy and be temporarily deaf to my surroundings.  I’m a rebel.  I also value my sanity.  And listening to certain co-workers bitch and moan about the new system is more than any human should have to endure.  Waterboarding would be a walk in the park in comparison.  Complaints are nothing new.  The complainers will go on at length about anything and everything and I’m pretty good at tuning them out. However it escalates exponentially when a change of this magnitude occurs. And to me, griping about change is akin to beating a dead horse.

In the words of the legendary Agent Smith –“You hear that Mr. Anderson?  That is the sound of inevitability.”  Unfortunately the line “Suck it up” was left on the cutting room floor.  But there you have it.  Change is unavoidable.  And no amount of whining will prevent it.  Complaining is not going to make anyone around here stop and say, “Oh look.  So and so is unhappy with our decision. Let us revert back to the old ways.”  It only serves to annoy the hell out of the rest of us!

Try this experiment.  The next time you find yourself in a group of people, preferably one’s you know, (although it would still work otherwise), just mention something about the recent changes to Facebook.   I should warn you, depending on the size of the group and your familiarity with them, you should be prepared to agree with everything they say, or be able to run fast and at length.

If you read any of your Facebook news feed in the days following the update, you should have some idea the reaction to expect from your test group.  If you logged on to FB after the change and were so disoriented you couldn’t find the feed, or you’ve been living under a rock and don’t have a profile, allow me to enlighten you.  People HATED it.  Serious fear and loathing in cyberland.  The menu that was on the right is now on the left.  The feed can now be filtered by type.  The Friends and Messages buttons no longer say Friends and Messages but have icons instead.  Drastic changes that will bring about the apocalypse right?   Judgement was swift and unforgiving.  Outraged postings and frustrated tweets.  It made CNN for crying out loud!  People were calling for Mark Zuckerberg’s head on a spike, all because he took his multi-billion dollar website (that’s free to use I might add) and made some changes to it.  What an asshole!!  How dare you change anything!!  Rot in the ninth circle of hell, Mark Zuckerberg!!  It should remain the way it was!!

And which way is that exactly?  The way it was when it was launched?  Of course that would mean it still has its original layout, but it would also exclude the majority of its users, including those doing the complaining, given that it was limited to college students. And the Photos application didn’t exist.  How archaic.  Well, we can’t have that.  Ok, well how about we go back to the way it was in 2008, when they completely overhauled the design?  People cried bloody murder then too.  And those same people are crying it now, because they want it to go back to the way it was after the first overhaul, that they then complained about, because they wanted it to go back to the way it was before the first overhaul…ow…migraine.  I’m sure there exists a complex mathematical equation that could simplify it.

But regardless of the convoluted reasoning, it all boils down to one thing – people hate change.  I remember being required to attend a lunch-and-learn with the company and dreading it, considering the waste of time those things usually are.  In this case it was made even worse knowing the session was based on a book called “Who Moved My Cheese?”  Seriously.  The gist of the story? Two mice and two miniature humans living in a maze.  After eating all of the cheese in one area of the maze, the mice go off in search of more cheese, having known their existing stash would eventually run out.  While the miniature humans are suspiciously asking who moved the cheese, and then are too afraid to explore the unknown parts of the maze for more.  Seriously.

Now, I’m not one to blindly follow and regurgitate motivational bullshit or corporate mantra, but I remember this allegory and had to share.  There’s something about turning office culture into one of Aesop’s Fables that I found amusing.  (Although I think Dr. Seuss could have made it a much better story. And it would rhyme.)  But whenever I hear someone complaining about a change they’re going to have to make, all I hear is a cartoonish sounding voice in my head saying “Who moved my cheese?  Who move my cheese?”.   It’s quite funny actually.  And it happens so often.  Because there are so many of the miniature humans out there.  Sometimes I think I’m surrounded by them. So in the coming weeks, rather than unleash the fury of my not inconsiderable talent for swearing better than most sailors, I will simply pop in my ear-buds and crank up the volume.

“Huh?  What was that again?”

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