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 Effective Engineering e-Newsletter – 3/2/2006

This is your monthly e-Newsletter from
Effective Engineering Consulting Services (www.effectiveeng.com).  If you would like to receive Effective Engineering e-newsletters as they are published, please send an email to e-newsletter@effectiveeng.com, and we will add you to our distribution list.  Comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged!


A Fresh Start!

  By Tom Dennis – President, Effective Engineering [tdennis@effectiveeng.com]

How many times in life do you get the chance or seize the opportunity to make a “fresh start”?  When you do, your attitude can make all the difference in whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.  It is in your best interest to make it a good thing.

Sometimes a “fresh start” is voluntary.  You may be offered a new job assignment within your current company.  You may be offered a new opportunity at a different company.  You may identify a new business opportunity.  Or it may simply be a personal decision to take on your current job with a new attitude and approach.

Sometimes a “fresh start” is involuntary and forced upon you.  You may be forced out of your current position by “downsizing”, “reduction in force”, “right sizing”, or some other euphemism for being laid off.   There may be a mismatch of your skills to a specific job.  You may not get along well with your boss or management.  Whatever the cause, you may find yourself no longer working where you were.  You can get angry and brood about it, or can use the occasion as an opportunity to find and/or do something better.

I, like many others, have been through all of the above, and then some.  I’ve been laid off.  I’ve had personality/ philosophy/values conflicts with a boss that lead to me leave a company.  I’ve been enticed away from a satisfying job for what looked like a more satisfying or challenging job.  I started my own consulting business.  I very recently had an involuntary (health related) situation result in a voluntary “fresh start” decision on my part (a decision to leave a satisfying but stressful full-time position to return to my consulting practice where I can have more personal control and less stress).  All of these have proven to be positive learning experiences, although that may not have been totally evident at the time.  You can learn a lot about yourself with a “fresh start” – the good and the bad.

Two other examples come from my family; please forgive me for the personal nature of these examples.

My son recently began his own “fresh start” when, after having had it with New England weather and high housing costs, he decided to pick up and move to Arizona.  He was able to get a job transfer, so he had a place to work, but other than that he knew no-one, knew relatively little about that part of the country, and picked a place to live based on information he found over the Internet.  Thus far it has worked out very well.  He’s enjoying his work, his out of work activities, the dating scene, and is forming many new friendships.  It has been a grand adventure, and he is thriving in it.  We’re very proud of him and his decision to take a large risk into the unknown.  He has succeeded largely due his positive attitude and outlook.

My wife takes “fresh starts” to a new level, and is my personal hero.  Barb was told she had less than 6 months to live due to a number of serious medical conditions.  That was almost ten years ago, and her indomitable spirit and exuberant outlook, along with a true miracle at a critical point, has allowed her to survive and thrive.  She began taking water aerobics classes, which helped her enormously.  She now teaches about 9-12 classes per week, and has helped innumerable people with health issues of their own.  Her “fresh start” has had a positive influences way beyond herself.

Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone’s “fresh start” is different as well.  Different pressures lead to different reactions.  But regardless of the situation leading up to it, if you can take advantage of your “fresh start” as an opportunity (and it really is or can be an opportunity!), then you can make the most of the situation and grow significantly.  There’s a saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”  Take your “fresh start” opportunity to change your life and situation for the better.

Only one person controls your destiny – you!  Only one person controls your attitude and approach to life – you!  Don’t look to or depend on others to determine your future.  Take personal control of your future!

You can choose to remain in an unrewarding, stressful, unsatisfying job, or choose not to.  You can choose to try something different that you feel can be better for you.  It can be a hard decision and there is no right or wrong answer.  When you decide you want to make a “fresh start”, it may work out for the best or it may not; in either case, you will have learned more, about yourself and about the world. 

If you decide to remain in your current position, then think seriously about your attitude and approach.  Approach your job with a positive and pro-active attitude and you can change your outlook and impact the attitude of the entire organization for the better.  Approach your job with a negative and reactive attitude, and you can depress the world around you.

If your “fresh start” was forced upon you, take it as a new opportunity and adventure (even if it doesn’t feel like that’s the case).  Explore your options.  Reflect on what you really want to do with your life.  Then pursue your goals with vigor and enthusiasm.  You’ll find that a positive attitude is infectious in all the right ways, and this shows itself clearly in others’ reactions to you.

As the saying goes, “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.”  Make the most of your “fresh start”!

Copyright © 2006 
Effective Engineering Consulting Services, All Rights Reserved

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