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You Must Create the Change That You Want to See

I want to address the article written this week by Order of Education contributor Hazel M. For one, it was directly addressed at me and the adjunct professors with whom I regularly work. But beyond that, I found a lot of truth in Hazel’s piece and I’d like to pick up where he left off by sharing a short clip from a speech President Obama gave on Thursday–the same day Hazel’s piece was published. I’m calling this clip “Create the Change That You Want to See.”

But before I get to the clip, let me just say Hazel M. is mostly right. Adjuncts–and people in general–predominately fall into two categories.

  1. People who quietly accept things whether or not they like them and try to minimize the waves they make. The “path of least resistance” people.
  2. People who don’t like their situations and are vocal about it often, but who never really do anything to change those situations. The “all talk, no action” people.

Create the Change That You Want to SeeThese two categories describe the vast majority of people. Think about those with whom you interact every day. Are they “path of least resistance” people or “all talk, no action” people?

Think about yourself. Which category do you fall into? When you encounter something you don’t like, are you more likely to accept it quietly (even if it angers you inside) and move on? Or are you more likely to tell your friends and family and anyone else who will listen how mad you are?

Neither of these categories are very flattering ways of thinking about ourselves, but I bet you fit into one of them if you are truly honest with yourself. Most of us do.

Category 3: Create the Change That You Want to See

The third category–and the one we should all be striving to reach–is the one I’ll call the “Create the Change That You Want to See” category. These are the people who, when they encounter situations they don’t like, change those situations. These people neither quietly accept injustice nor do they merely talk about how bad things are without attempting to change them. People in this third category take action. They realize there’s only one way to improve their lives and that is to improve them. Deliberately. Actively.

I can’t take credit for this phrase. I spotted it yesterday while I was watching a speech President Obama gave to a group of young Israelis in Jerusalem. In the hour long speech, this 20 second clip really stood out. I kept rewinding it over and over again on YouTube. It really spoke to me because the message of this short clip is so crucially important to all of us not only in the adjunct movement, but for everyone who cares about bettering themselves and their situations. I edited the video down to this clip. Watch it.

You must create the change that you want to see.
Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.

Members of category three are rare. Most people are–understandably and reasonably–afraid to make real moves in life, to enact serious change and create opportunities for themselves. It’s hard to go against the grain. It’s hard to stand up for yourself. It’s hard to be the first one out the door. It’s hard to Create the Change That You Want to See. But it’s the only sure path to a better life.

We must be willing to leave our comfort zone. We must be willing to take the first step. We must be willing to stop talking and start acting. We must be willing to create our own change.

How will you begin to Create the Change That You Want to See today?


  • Mad Freeway Flier

    Good pep talk, but it’s a lot like advocating the power of positive thinking. Many adjuncts are so far down the food chain that they can’t afford to participate in their union activities. Those of us attempting to DO something are up against incredible odds in trying to organize a national association. We need that before we can begin to do the sort of union organizing it will take to better our lives.

    • josh_boldt

      There will always be some kind of grand insurmountable obstacle out there. If you want a reason not to change, you will always be able to find one.

      You can change your personal situation right now. Tonight. You can find a new job and walk away.

      Or you can begin to talk to other adjuncts locally first thing tomorrow morning. Your adjunct group could walk out at noon on Monday and start protesting.

      You always have options. You can always control your own life.

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