comfort zone

Recently the College of Business at St. Ambrose University embarked on a logistical game of musical chairs, moving faculty in the same department closer together. Prior to the move I was on the 2nd floor, one of my colleagues was on the 3rd floor, and two other colleagues were on the 4th floor. The philosophy behind the move was intelligent and appropriate. Colleagues of the same department can collaborate better when they are more proximal to each other and students can be better served when they can go to one departmental space.

Prior to the moves, faculty were randomly located based on office openings when one member left or retired. The new person, regardless of discipline in the college, would fill the vacant space. So while College of Business faculty occupied the same section of the building, departments were spread all over.

Has the plan experienced resistance from the faculty? Of course! Many faculty like the “Comfort Zone” of their existing offices due to the view, office size, and/or their neighbors. These moves require people to pack up their office (i.e. pictures, files, books), physically move it, and unpack and place everything in the new office. In some cases people are moving to a smaller office with a less attractive view and perhaps with neighbors they aren’t as fond of.  In my case I was leaving an office that was larger than most, had windows on two walls, had been updated more recently than most, and had great neighbors! Would I have gladly stayed if not been asked to move? Yes! Were my three colleagues settled into and content with their pre-move locations? Yes!

Our department moved last week. My new office has its advantages as well. With the move, the offices were repainted and re-carpeted. Since I am on the 4th floor, I now overlook the beautiful oak tree grove at the front of our campus. My colleagues are in the 3 offices immediately the left of mine.  I have freshly painted walls and new carpet. It’s also refreshing to have change – walking through some different halls and seeing some different people. A move also provides an opportunity to review your possessions, some of which you forgot you had. You can discard, give to others who may benefit, and reorganize to become more effective. I can sense already this is going to have a positive impact on our department and our students.

So…… I bet you have developed some comfort zones in your life – stability, habits, patterns. Do you find yourself spending the majority of your time with the same friends, watching the same TV shows, eating out at the same restaurants, vacationing the same places, or running the same routes during your morning workout? This isn’t necessarily bad, especially if you are excited about your routines. On the other hand, if you find that life is losing a little of its luster and getting through the day seems more like a chore than an adventure, I strongly encourage you to shake it up and get out of your comfort zone. Change can be good, even when it is something you aren’t seeking. Success is adapting to change.