He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.
- Harold Wilson
Change can happen when we least expect it. It can be bought on by events, people and our own decisions. Some change we instigate , rather than having change foisted upon us.
Sometimes we get caught up in events and through no fault of ours, change can explode like a shaken soda drink. Other times the heart or conscience make us the perpetrator of change.
Many, be they famous or not, have drawn a line in the sand and said “no more!” Others have lost far more than a job! Erwin Rommel was a great German General. He saw the way Adolf Hitler was becoming more and more irrational. He saw how The Second World War was progressing and he knew the deaths would continue. He joined a group of like-minded high ranking Germans and devised a plan to remove Hitler. It failed and he was killed. He was quoted as saying, "Always in a moment of extreme danger things can be done which had previously been thought impossible.”
Life events contribute to our character. When a new event impacts you, like sudden and unexpected change, it can cause a reboot in your brain. Your perception of “ME” changes.
We really never know what is around the corner...
This Life Event happened to me recently
I had been seeking work for a while. It is a difficult thing to do in your latter years. There is a perception in the job market that older people are “not up to it” - but in reality we offer experience and dedication. I saw a job advertisement and it sounded great! Great pay too! I attended a group interview and the job sounded like one that suited my talents and abilities. There was a group of 14 people in the intake. The job concerned a government incentive to contact people on government payments who are suspected of being overpaid or not honestly reporting income. My job was to assess and arrange debt repayments. There were many different options for repaying and (after all) the money was taxpayers’ money, right?…not theirs!
The people I worked with were great and I made new friends. I was working close to home and I was happy…..almost. But slowly, I came to the decision that what I was doing in my role did not sit well with my beliefs. I felt I was doing harm. I was speaking to people, (some with major health issues) and I personally was putting financial pressure on people who already had financial problems. Gradually, I found the job to be vindictive and frankly, nasty.
Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.
- Arnold Bennett
So, I bravely decided to make a decision. I say bravely because a number of people have told me how “brave!” I was. Did brave mean foolish? I suspected so... I decided I could no longer do the work and regrettably left. Was I brave as some said? Or was it more of a moral/social issue? To me, it was simple - I did not want to harm people. Especially the more fragile members of society. Granted there were others who could easily pay back the debt and others who were deliberately being dishonest and had been caught out - but these were rare.
I went into work one morning and by lunch time, unemployed! The life paradigm has suddenly changed.
What happens to people when something like that happens? Well, I went into shock to be honest. I questioned my abilities and my work ethics. I was in a state of….. No, not denial, but rather a state of self-doubt and self- culpability. I was suddenly lost in a foggy landscape of fear and indecision. Self-doubt and fear was my new standard! Albeit briefly. I know it was my decision but none-the-less it was a challenging time.
So why did I do it? Why deliberately place a financial burden on my family. Why make a stand at all. The others I worked with understood how I felt, but they are still there. Ultimately, it seemed the right thing to do at the time. People outside of my work have complimented me on my decision, yet I still question myself, wondering if I had made the right decision.
We cannot just 'hope' things will improve, we all need to act or not act. It is a resolution that we all have to make at some time in our life. If I had not left, then this uncomfortable situation would have become my new reality and I did not want that to happen.
Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same, but get better.
- Sydney J. Harris
Little determinations can create ripples. My effort was a very small one, but I feel I have done the right thing.
It came down to my moral standard and a belief in the greater good.
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
If you truly love and care for your “neighbour” then it’s a 'no brainer' that when you see wrong and you cannot stop it - at least walk away from it. Don’t be silent, be brave and make a stand, even if it is just a little one. It will change us for the better.
“To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another. Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you.“
Christopher wants to see equalness in the world and desires to see the doors of Christianity open to all. He feels that, too often, faith and belief are used to promote individual ideologies. Christopher has been a drama junkie for decades. He enjoys reading, theatre, good food and good company. He loves music but can’t play a note, nor sing very well for that matter. He has two adult children and a patient wife. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
See all previous articles by Christopher Newport