Helping people deal with change in the workplace – for adults

Helping people deal with change in the workplace   (for adults, requested by Anna Croce )

Some thoughts from Finland.

In our country we have several traditional occupations.  In the past we used to hunt the wildlife, capturing bears and reindeer, and any creature that would provide us with food or fur.  Things have changed a great deal in the last century.  We have become mechanised, integrated, specialised and at the same time the need for flexibility has arisen.

The artisan has needed to learn computer skills.  He may still ply his trade but now the world has become his market.  He sells his goods on the internet.  Small co-operatives have sprung up where previously individuals worked alone.  Within these groups specialisms have arisen.  In general they all understand their trade but those most skilled in production, those most artistic and accomplished crafts people continue to produce their artefacts.  Others within the group develop skills of marketing, advertising and selling the goods.

We have found it most effective to learn several skills in order to deal with modern demands.  One market closes and another opens.  Individuals are required to be flexible and prepared to learn and change.  That way we can respond to the market quickly and keep ahead. 

My family provides an example of this flexibility.  We have a white wood furniture business.  There is a high demand for our beautifully designed kitchens in Europe and America.  We have watched recessions come and go.  The work force has fluctuated somewhat, but we always try to keep as many as we can employed.  We find that those who are most skilled and specialised are the ones who are worst affected in recessions, so we have a policy which deals with this problem.  We insist that all employees train to work in at least two or three departments.  Sure, it costs us money, but it means we have a flexible workforce able to adapt to changes and confident that if their preferred work dried up they could do other kinds of work.  This could be within the company or they might need to work outside the company in their second or third area of expertise. 

This approach makes for a calm resilient workforce grateful for their opportunities to develop their skills.  They are loyal to the company but know that they could cope if they have to leave.  That is our solution to anticipating the changes in this fluid market and employment situation.  What are your solutions?


How does company policy on health affect people’s flexibility and attitudes?  Are employees encouraged to look after their health in positive and constructive ways?

Is there a genuine system in place that allows people to air their concerns without fear of retribution?

Is there a counselling and advice service available to employees, or within a small company a person who is trained to deal with confidential matters?

The Circus Comes to Town – story on gratitude and jealousy for 7-11years

A Story on Gratitude and Jealousy

The Circus Comes to Town

I was sitting on my front door step feeling very sorry for myself.  My mother said I should stop sulking.  My father just gave me a dirty look and went on with his work.

My brother Peter has a friend who lives down the road and he had invited Peter to go to the circus because it was his birthday.  I was not invited.

The circus!  I would love to see the circus.  How exciting.  I’ve seen pictures of people on high wires and trapezes.  I’ve seen photos of clowns and seen them on TV, but I was not invited to go.  Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.  I felt two big fat tears running down my cheeks.

My grandma appeared at the front door.  Grandma usually had a bit of time to spend with me.  I stood up and gave her a tearful hug.

‘What’s the matter my Chickadee?’  she asked.  ‘ Has the dog died?’

We didn’t have a dog.  We had no dog to die and she knew we didn’t like dogs anyway.  She made me smile.

‘I’m not invited to the circus with Peter and Rubin and I really, really want to go.’

‘Oh dear, that’s a pity.  It’s Rubin’s birthday isn’t it?  Well I expect boys of ten don’t want girls of seven at their birthday party trip.  Did you invite Rubin to your birthday treat when you went to the cinema?  Did you invite Peter?  No, I don’t think you did.  I remember you saying it was girls only.’

‘ Yes, but that was only to the cinema.  We could go to the cinema any time, but the circus, it doesn’t come very often does it?’

‘It will come again next year  Chickadee, and you will enjoy it all the more, because at your age now you may be frightened by what you seem to see.  When I was your age I went to the circus and I saw a clown lose his head in the piano.  He popped his head into the top of the piano to look  inside it and another clown slammed the lid down on him.  He came up with no head at all!

The clown's head seemed to have been chopped off.

The clown’s head seemed to have been chopped off.


I was very upset, but the audience thought it was a great joke.    I just hid my face and didn’t watch any more clowning.  I didn’t know it was just a trick; the clown  seemed to be running around headless!  It wasn’t until several long dragon puppets appeared with two people inside each one, tossing and twirling the dragons, that I came out of hiding.’

‘Now let’s think about the circus trip that you are not going on,’  Grandma continued, ‘Be grateful for  what you have in your life.   There will always be someone who does more or has more than you.  So what?  That is not a problem.  Would you want another little girl to be complaining to her mother that she doesn’t have exactly the same as you?  No, of course not!  Let us all enjoy what we do have and let others do the same without us feeling upset about it.  It’s called envy, or jealousy, when we feel bad like that.  It is a bit like a sickness – they say people go green with envy.  They don’t of course, but it can make you feel horrible and it is not healthy for your mind to be filled with envy.  Now go and wash your face and wash all that greenness away, it’s not doing you any good at all!’

Grandma was right of course.  I always noticed when I was beginning to feel jealous about something. I remembered Grandma’s words and stopped those thoughts before they made me feel bad.


Did the story remind you of anything in your life?

Why was the girl upset at the beginning of the story?

Have you ever felt envious of someone?  What was the reason?  What do you think about it now that you have heard this story?

Has anyone been jealous of you? How do you know?

What do people who are jealous sometimes do?

What does it mean to be ‘grateful’ for something?