My introduction to the labor management consulting team came through my mandatory attendance in a series of senior leadership workshops during which the team presented the change management program the company contracted them to implement. Admittedly, I came in both ignorant about the approach and skeptical that anything so soft-sounding could make a substantive difference in the lives of so many given the hard realities faced by the company. But by the end of the initial round of sessions, I came away a believer.

As the program unfolded and my involvement in it deepened, I realized that change management was the type of work I wanted to do professionally. Through the unwavering encouragement and ongoing support by members of the consulting team I pursued a “professional development” path that combined soaking up the coaching from consulting team members; gaining experience in designing change management strategies; playing various roles involved in carrying out the subsequent interventions; and even completing my undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management. My plan was to acquire and demonstrate these skills such that my value inside the company would be sufficient to underwrite my position as an internal change agent well into the future.

One acquisition later followed by new management and a different direction it became obvious that my Plan A was not viable. So, Plan B: do I accept a position in another area in an attempt to remain employed by the company despite the upheaval caused by the acquisition? Or, Plan C: do I allow myself to be swept up in the next reduction in force and pursue opportunities with organizations elsewhere that would value my new-found passion and expertise? After 15 years employed by a company that no longer existed, wounded by the processes of downsizing in every form, and severely limited in opportunities for professional growth, I ditched the fork in the road leading to more despair and embraced the one illumined by hope for a future doing what I loved somewhere, somehow.