by Paula Arturo
When Heraclitus claimed “the only thing that is constant is change” (i.e. the universal flux) most of Greece scratched their heads. After all, if there’s one thing that characterized Heraclitus it was his somewhat cryptic and oracular language. Rewind to 500 BCE and the mere notion of a self-taught, independent thinker actively trying to break the mold of philosophy may have been a little too much for his contemporaries to handle.
Fast forward to our days and look back on the world you live in now versus the world you born into. When I was born in 1979, my country was under a brutal military dictatorship. My fellow muse’s country was divided by a wall. In the States, where I grew up, Jimmy Carter was president. People jammed to Blondie and Travolta was the hottest thing since sliced bread.
Throughout elementary school, I did my homework at a library with actual books. Google was not a word and research was done with encyclopedias. I played outside. Collected bugs. Built a treehouse and played with Barbie dolls. My BFF Alvin and I talked over walkie-talkies and played Simon. Cell phones were brick sized and apples were still just fruits.
I’m only 39 years old, yet every now and then, when I stop and pay attention, I can barely recognize the world. At this moment, I’m writing this post on a computer that fits on my lap and which is wirelessly connected to some crazy mysterious thing called the “internet” with which any person can access the sum of human knowledge. Knowledge… literally at our fingertips. Who knew I’d be lucky enough to see that in my lifetime?
Change, as my outlandish friend Heraclitus pointed out centuries ago, is indeed a constant. And one we’re fortunate enough to experience! Change is inevitable. It’s a force of nature. And you don’t want to get in the way nature. But change is hard for people. Change comes with loss. It comes with challenges. And, sometimes, it comes with pain and feelings of failure and inadequacy.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all wanted to crawl back into our childhood beds when we could just pull a blanket over our heads and pretend it was an impenetrable fort that could keep us safe from every monster. It’s human nature to want to resist change. To hold on to what we know, the people we love, the places we call home, and the dreams we once had.
Many language professionals long to stop change, especially changes in the business world that are detrimental to us as a professional community. They fight to resist market trends. Some even fight to resist new technologies. And while fighting for our rights is commendable, fighting to resist inevitable changes in the world is a waste of energy. Here’s what we can do instead in the face of change: ADAPT!
And by “adapt” I don’t mean accept the unacceptable. I mean channel your energy to getting ahead of the curve. If your market segment is making a change for the worst, make a change for the better and move upmarket. If your market segment is getting too competitive because there aren’t enough entry barriers, work harder than everyone else, learn more, become hyper-specialized, and find a less crowded niche. Change. Adapt. Grow.
Here’s what we have in store for you to help you adapt to these changing times:
1) July special: Take charge! Order a logo and get a free CV to help you market your services to better clients! Sign up here.
2) Learn from the best: Join us this Friday for a very special Coffee Hour with multiple award-winning literary translator Lisa Carter. Sign up here.
3) Hone your skills: Join us in Las Palmas for our no-nonsense, no self-promotional presentations from iffy speakers, expert-based, workshop-oriented conference, including an optional business masterclass and writing retreat. Register here.
We’re changing and growing. And we’d like to change and grow with you!