COPING WITH CHANGE

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					CoPing With Change
Shawna Legarza



I
  n recent years, we have wanted
  and seen both organizational
  and systematic changes in
Forest Service, Fire and Aviation
Management. Although they under-
stand that change is constant and
transformation takes time, even
the most experienced fire managers
may become overwhelmed and be
left feeling confused and uncertain
within themselves and with regard
to the decisions of fire manage-
ment agencies. While we continue
to work more diligently to keep
up with changes and obtain good
results, we often feel our lives spin-
                                            The San Juan Hotshots in Lake Chelan, WA, 2005. Photo: San Juan Hotshots.
ning out of control, and, thus, the
cycle continues. It seems we have                                                       this said, understanding the process
less and less free time to commu-
nicate effectively with our families
                                             Is it plausible to relax                   and the effects of change is a chal-
                                                                                        lenge for any leader.
and take care of our inner selves.            and communicate in
Where have our fundamental pri-             moments of uncertainty                      During your career, the connec-
orities gone?                                    and confusion?                         tion between challenges in your
                                                                                        personal life and organizational
As we balance our fate and ideology                                                     changes in your professional career
as an agency, we need to allow time         also our employees, overwhelmed
                                            with the stress and implications of         may evolve into a complex web of
for personal reflection and remem-                                                      confusion that could become highly
ber our fundamental priorities. I           change. Employees who become
                                            overwhelmed have difficulty man-            stressful and profoundly unhealthy.
believe we need to be the leaders                                                       You may become addicted to the
of organizational and systematic            aging stress and, thus, lessen the
                                            connections with their cowork-              risk of change and the speed of the
change; we need to continue to                                                          emergency, while not truly know-
develop the wildland firefighting           ers and families. So we must ask:
                                            How does one become receptive to            ing the long-term physiological
culture within our doctrine to take                                                     and psychological effects. With the
better care of ourselves, our fami-         the effects that change has upon
                                            oneself, coworkers, subordinates,           competitively based subculture
lies, and our employees.                                                                of firefighting, we often forget to
                                            and families? Is it plausible to relax
                                            and comm
				
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