Design Engineering

If the shoe does not fit must we change the foot?


General DPN

There is a Big Bad Wolf chasing us these days. It is called Change.

One theme which comes up frequently these days in Canada is how drastically things are changing around us everywhere in this recession.

It could be either good or bad depending upon which side you are on, but remember that for centuries everyone has been lamenting that nothing remains the same. Empires have come and gone, civilizations have ebbed and flowed. Especially since the industrial revolution the pace of change has intensified.

We all know change is constant and yes, we know all progress and improvement constitutes change. So why are we all so scared of change? Well Ellen Glasgow, the American writer, summed it up All change is not growth; as all movement is not forward. Truly a lot of people are a bit shell shocked having seen change thrust down their throats for the sake of change driven by plain old greed. This greed is barely disguised and often sugar-coated to make it more palatable.

You cannot blame workers for being suspicious when massive layoffs are announced in the name of shareholder value only to see management walk away with disproportionate amounts of money in the form of bonuses or options, while many of those same poor shareholders only see their stocks decline, and watch in dismay as their own jobs disappear. The situation reminds me of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

It is easy to forget that some of the change is inevitable. It will be less stressful, for example, to embrace it though sometimes a pinch of salt or holding your nose may be necessary.


Let us embrace the sensible change and progress that comes with it. The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.

Do you remember the fax machine? Yeah, that contraption that beeps in the corner sometimes. Ask the fax manufacturers how change to email and internet has affected them. Yet the same internet has created employment for millions, for IT workers, server manufacturers and web site developers.

The World Wide Web and email also produced a breed of modern malcontents who started producing computer viruses and computer worms that spawned giant companies like Symantec and Norton producing anti-virus software and employing brilliant minds worldwide. Are you not glad some people don’t have a life?

The travel agents are struggling and going out of business as everyone uses the internet, but this has generated hundreds of wildly successful travel sites like Expedia, Price line and Hotwire, etc., and made the process of booking flights, hotels and cars a breeze from the comfort of your home.

The landmark music shops like Sam’s in Toronto disappeared as everyone downloads their music from the Net. A new generation will never know what it was like to go and linger in a music store and browse the records and CDs and sample the music. Yet along with a generation weaned on iPhones, iPods and Blackberries, a new music industry thriving on downloaded music was born.

The current economy has gone through a bitter transformation, lately for the worse. This begs the question, “is it just a matter of time that this recession too shall end and happy days may be back again?”

It is a certainty that things are beginning to get better, now this would be a welcome change wouldn’t it?

So come on, Canada, let us be proud and strong and rise to the occasion just as the nation did recently during winter Olympics and tackle this changing world head on, and triumph. It will not be easy. As poet Anatole France, born almost two centuries ago, said: All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

Scott Peck summed it up beautifully. The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

The most successful people are those who are good at plan B. Now be prepared but be wary, because The Future has a way of arriving unannounced, and please don’t put that Prozac away yet.

Ajay Bajaj, P.Eng., is President of Rotator Products Ltd. (, a board member of the Power Transmission Distributors’ Association (, and a member of the DPN Editorial Advisory Board.


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