A young employee’s perspective
In the past year, I have experienced more change than perhaps at any other point in my life so far. I graduated from University, moved to a new city, started a new job, moved in with people I didn’t know, moved out again, moved in with old friends and started learning to play piano.
So ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr Spencer Johnson really struck a chord with me when I read it last week.
‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ is, put simply, a book about change. It’s about how change affects us, or perhaps more accurately, how we let change affect us. The book’s 4 characters (Hem, Haw, Scurry and Sniff) all react differently to their main source of sustenance and happiness, their cheese, being moved. Some move on without thinking, some refuse to accept it and some come round to the idea of looking for something new. It is a business book which isn’t explicitly about business, but whose lessons are particularly relevant to business, especially in the modern market.
The story mostly follows Hem, who at first is crushed by losing his cheese, but comes to learn that finding new cheese will make him stronger, and that he mustn’t take cheese for granted.
The moral is clear: don’t get comfortable. When you begin to rely on cheese, take it for granted and forget that it isn’t yours, you set yourself up for a fall when it is inevitably removed. I can’t help but feel that this book is much more relevant now in a business sense than it would have been when it was published in 1998. People are very rarely employed in a job for life, and the constantly updating digital landscape means things are continually in flux. Nothing stands still.
So, this book may be simple in its message, but it is all the better for it. Do not let yourself be static while the rest of the world moves along. In the book, the metaphor for change-readiness is keeping your running shoes tied at the laces, hung around your neck. This is an invaluable lesson, and one which I intend to follow. Always be ready to move, whether this means learning new skills, crafting new products to meet customers’ needs, rebranding yourself or your company, or just keeping an eye on what’s going on in your industry.
Just make sure that when the cheese moves, you’re ready to get out there and find it again.
Alex, Communications Officer