Life events and career change:
transition psychology in practice

Because the only constant is change

Enabling factors in transitions
A number of conditions appear to enable successful transitions:
Economic security — surplus resources, no debt, stable income, own home, low commitments, multiple-income household
Emotional security — supportive partner, stable childhood, support networks, openness on emotional and mental health issues
Health — good physical fitness, prudent lifestyle, quality time for leisure.
Prior transition skills — positive transition experiences, clear goals
Supportive work environment — high respect / low control culture, good team morale, clear role and contract terms, life~work boundaries respected
Transition support — briefing, monitoring issues, practical support, life~career planning, tolerance, dignity, valuing the past, time off before illness, confidential counselling, freedom/recognition for new ideas
Positive outcomes: minimise severity of distress in the crisis phase, minimise risks of quitting or extended crisis, optimising recovery time, high innovation, personal transformation, healing old wounds, ‘rejuvenated’ staff, high group morale and synergy, enable organisational transformation.
Inhibiting factors in transitions
Economic insecurity — low income, debt, high financial commitments, fear of job loss, temporary, ambiguous or onerous employment contract
Emotional insecurity — no partner, few friends, dependent relatives, secret grief (lost lover or child), sense of guilt, unresolved issues or regrets, multiple transitions, anxiety over being diagnosed mentally ill
Health — chronic or undiagnosed conditions, low fitness, fatigue, lifestyle
Hostile work environment — work overload, unrealistic demands, insufficient resources, abuse of life~work boundary e.g. excessive time demands affecting relationships, leisure, fitness. Low respect/high control culture. No time off except sickness absence. Discipline for absence. Scapegoating weaker members by stressed team. Harassment or abuse by aggressive/stressed manager. Boss changes. Rigid agenda.
Poor transition management — no support, no preparation for change, unrealistic time scales. No monitoring of key issues pre-crisis. No opportunity for fresh insights. Past achievements ignored or rubbished.
Negative outcomes: increased risk of severe crisis e.g. extended absence, quitting, breakdown, suicide. High risk of errors e.g. accidents (work, car, home), indiscretions or poor strategic decisions. Poor, broken or abusing relationships. Poor team morale, turnover. Down-grading career prospects. Frustrated recovery — rebellious staff, unused insights, dissent, conflict.