It’s been a year of transition for my business and our family. This time last year, the business hired its first employee. Now, almost a year later, we are in the process of hiring two, possibly three more to support the growth.

In addition to the business growth and change, we married off our oldest daughter and welcomed a new son-in-law, moved our middle daughter out of state for graduate school and are sending our son off to his last year of college at UW-Whitewater.

Needless to say, it’s been a year of life changes and transitions.

Change and transition is difficult, and I’m a person who, for the most part, enjoys change.

Yet, it’s still hard. I’ve always said that change is easy when it’s your decision. Change is hard when it’s done to you.

Some of the more recent examples that, I believe, are going to become more prevalent have to do with the employment market.

The days of employees working at companies for a lifetime are gone. With the change in pensions, health benefits, dual income families, shortage of qualified candidates, and the transition of businesses as baby boomers exit the work force, just reinforce that change is a constant.

Technology alone has had the greatest impact.

Breaking this down further, just look at how frequently businesses need to recreate themselves. What worked in the past no longer works. Staying the course for the life of the business isn’t sustainable.

The rate of change happening around and within the business requires constant review and adjustment to make sure that you’re focused on markets that are relevant, that you have a value proposition that is valued by those customers, and that your company structure and depth of management supports the business, just to name a few. There is no coasting if you want to be relevant.

Taking this back to the employment market, the rate of change in the employee/ employer relationship is challenging. As an employer you need to provide training, development, career advancement, a good culture, good pay, benefits, etc. Employees have choices and will continue to have choices where they want to work and who they want to work for. As an employee, you need to be relevant. What are you doing to keep learning, growing, and developing your skills and abilities? This market is unprecedented, and the opportunities are great for those who are continuously growing, learning, and willing to take some risks.

Seventy-six percent of owners plan to transition their businesses over the next 10 years. This is a rate never before seen. With the shortage of qualified workers, this environment will provide opportunities for many to own a business, and/or have significant growth opportunities.

As an employer, we all want those employees who are committed, dedicated, and willing and capable of learning and growing. To grow, employers are not able to find experienced talent, but instead will need to invest in growth and development of younger employees to develop and grow their talent. As an employee, there are choices as to where to work and who to work for. The question is, are you willing to make a change? Are you willing to make a transition?

We all know people that complain about their job and/or circumstances but aren’t willing to do anything about it.

So, what happens in these situations? Well if you’re unhappy long enough, it shows in your performance and may ultimately result in your termination because you are negatively impacting the business.

Self-awareness and proactiveness are some of the most difficult leadership skills to develop, because it’s hard. It’s much easier to blame someone else for the situation you are in versus being proactive.

You know, the familiarity of the situation we are in, regardless of how miserable, is still known. Any change comes with an unknown, regardless of how much research and evaluation.

Change is about choice. You can choose to be miserable and justify why you can’t do something about your situation, or you can choose to proactively pursue a change. The latter is harder but comes with rewards. The former is easier, but leaves you performing at less than your potential.

Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, certified exit planning adviser, and owner of Journey Consulting LLC.