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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Change Happens

Change is inevitable. I've talked about my views on characters and how they deal with this. It's my position that few people embrace change, and that in fact, many resist it as long as possible. I have my characters do this as well, and generally try to put them in situations where they have no choice about it.

Recently, I had a refresher course on just how real people react to big change, and I can safely say that I'm dead-on in my characters' reactions. Dead on.

About six weeks ago, we were told our jobs are being relocated to Atlanta. Many of you know that I work for an airline. It used to be Northwest, but Delta bought us out and they're headquartered in Georgia. The decision was made to close the building I work in and get rid of it. Everyone here--about 400 people--was suddenly faced with enormous change. Either move to Atlanta or find a new job. We were given until July 31st to make our decision.

This wasn't a fork in the path where one side continued on in sort of the status quo and the other had change. This was a T in the road. There is no path remotely similar to the current one.

One of the interesting side effects of being a writer is being able to observe. Although I was reeling myself from this unexpected announcement (or maybe because of it), I was able to step back and watch others. It's actually pretty incredible to see how strenuously people have resisted. Now, six weeks after the bombshell, most of my coworkers have adjusted, but there are some who are still resisting.

So yes, in my stories when I have characters who cling to the status quo past the point where they should move on, it's realistic. In fact, even the most stubborn of my heroes and heroines have adjusted more quickly than many of my coworkers.

And how did I react to this change? I was too numb to go into resistance--my choice was denial. At first. Then I began researching Atlanta--housing, crime rates, traffic patterns. I reached out to friends who live in the south (although not Atlanta) and found people online who could answer questions for me.

I waffled a lot at first, but within a week, I was leaning one direction. A couple of days later, I read something that made me 90% certain which choice I was going to make. I stayed at that 90% level for a really long time. Last week, the week I had to make my decision, I was 99% sure what I was going to do, but I didn't make my official decision because I wanted to be 100% certain when I did. It's August, the decision day has come and gone, I did give my notification on my decision, but I'm still not at 100%.

If your curious about what I decided to do--I'm moving to Atlanta. My report date to my new office is January 9th.