By Dan Gephart, July 9, 2018

Hello FELTG Nation!

Do you mind if we talk about change?

As I write this, I’m gazing at a For Sale sign that looks oddly out of place on my sun burnt front lawn. This concrete box I sit in has sheltered numerous Gephart humans and four-legged creatures since the new millennium. I’m not just leaving this house, though. I’ll be fleeing the Sunshine State, which has been home since my two adult sons were toddlers, or as we affectionately call them here “gator brunch.”

And that’s not even the biggest change. This week I started a new job for the first time in more than 23 years. Twenty-three years! That was so long ago, Al Gore was still reinventing government and smashing ashtrays.

But I don’t need to tell you about change.

You live with change every day.

I know. As the former long-time program chair of a certain federal training conference that I will not name (rhymes with FDR), I saw how change, along with fear of the unknown, drives people to training sessions.

Change leads to overcrowded classes about transgender employees. It packs rooms of HR professionals trying to figure out how to stop sexual harassment claims. It leaves people willfully standing for three-hour workshops to hear the latest guidance on how to handle reasonable accommodation requests for telework.

And I haven’t even mentioned the concern and confusion surrounding the president’s recent civil service-related Executive Orders or plans to reorganize the federal government.

Change can be stressful, unpredictable, and downright scary.

But change can also be, and often is, good.

Agencies should be more inclusive to all employees, and that means educating yourself about transgender workplace issues. We must hold accountable those managers and employees who practice harassment of any type. You’d better know what to do when an employee asks you for a reasonable accommodation.

These new executive orders, at least the ones dealing with performance, actually provide a great opportunity to more efficiently handle poor performers.

And if you think requests for telework are going to decrease anytime soon, I have some Florida swampland to sell you. No, really, I do. It’s a three-bedroom in a nice family neighborhood. Competitively priced. Give me a call.

Embrace that fear of the unknown. Lean into it. As someone much smarter than I said: Change is the only constant in life.

Change has landed me here at FELTG. This is a dream come true. I couldn’t be happier and more excited to work with Bill Wiley and Deb Hopkins, and the uber-talented group of FELTG instructors, including legends Barbara Haga and Ernie Hadley. These fine people work tirelessly to improve the quality and efficiency of the federal workplace. I don’t use the word tirelessly lightly. I’ve seen their schedules.

I also appreciate the chance to continue working with all of you – the faithful civil servants who loyally serve the taxpayers despite sometimes undesirable working conditions and constantly shifting political agendas, all the while ducking the uninformed insults regularly hurled your way.

Let’s step into this change together. It may be challenging, but nobody said we couldn’t have fun while navigating it. Gephart@FELTG.com

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