For a moment, consider what you were thinking about before clicking that link. Were you worried where the link would take you? Did you get concerned about what sort of virus/spyware/malware/bestiality porn might get downloaded to your computer when you clicked((Were you perhaps hoping for actual porn?))? Or did you just click without knowing the link would bring you back here to where you started?
When I ask people what their biggest fear is, I get lots of different responses. Death, the loss of a loved one, change in job situation((Be it positive, negative, or otherwise.)), sudden onset of a global thermonuclear war, and the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse are just a handful of the answers I hear on a fairly regular basis. That said, despite all of their differences, each of the above items can be summed up with one word.
More specifically than change, you can also look at all of the items in the preceding paragraph and consider them all to have components of the unknown. It’s one thing to have no fear of changing your clothes in the morning — after all, even if you don’t know what you’re wearing, you still know you’ll be putting on clothes as the ending of this process. It’s completely another thing to have no fear of the afterlife, especially if you have no idea if one even exists.
I don’t want to get too terribly existential in this post, so I’m going to relate my point back to one of the simpler items on my original fear list. Let’s say you just got a promotion from your employer. Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate. That first paycheck, you’ll make it rain in the champagne room as your friend watch you drop part of your new-found wealth of bottles of Cristal and Dom Perignon. Praises and scantily-clad women((Or scantily-clad men)) will fall from the sky into your lap, but not in such a manner that you or they will get hurt.
That first day on the job in the new position though? You’ll be freaking the fuck out. It’s not usually from a lack of skills or talent. After all, you wouldn’t have been promoted into the position if you weren’t good at what you do, or if your superiors felt you lacked the capability to perform in your new position.
More likely, you’re freaking out because you’ve lost the comfort and familiarity with how things once were. Your co-workers may still be there, however you now look at them in a different light. Perhaps you have a new boss. Maybe you’re the boss now when you used to be the peon. Or, there’s always the chance that you’re in a completely new role with completely new people, meaning to have to work hard to build working relationships with completely new people. No matter what the situation, it’s likely unnerving you to your core.
One of my favorite wrestling gimmicks ever was Sean O’Haire’s devil’s advocate gimmick in the early 2000’s. The gimmick itself was short-lived thanks to the release of O’Haire’s mentor, Rowdy Roddy Piper, as well as a motorcycle accident that caused O’Haire to miss time on WWE TV. That said though, the gimmick itself made for some captivating promos, like the one below.
The ending line from all of O’Haire’s promos with the character is the same: I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. When we’re faced with the unknown, one of the best ways to combat our own fears is with knowledge.
In the case above, I would encourage the individual going through a job change to take an inventory of their own personal skills and emotions to help them realize where they are. Obviously, the inherent skills that individual had to earn the promotion didn’t disappear overnight, so reassurance of those is key. That said, perhaps there is a perceived struggle on the part of that person in terms of lacking knowledge for their new position. In many cases, there will be someone around the company who has done your new position before, so lean on them as a mentor while you learn the ropes of your new position. Even if this is a brand new job that you’re the first person to fill, seek out those around you who you view as being wise, then use their advise to reach your goals.
How do you deal with the unknown? Is the concept of an unknown future one that frightens or excites you? Sound off in the comments.