Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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Developing career resilience

4 Resilience and change

One way of thinking about career and personal resilience is that developing resilience leads to success in dealing with change. Psychologist John Fisher (2012) has developed a model of personal change – the Personal Transition Curve (see Figure 2) – through work that examined how individuals responded to changes that were being made within their organisations. Fisher’s work is based on, and advances, earlier work in psychology dating back to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s work on death, loss and grief in 1973.

Fisher identified eight stages of transition in the workplace – although not all stages are of equal length or significance for each person, even within the same changing organisation.

Described image
Figure 2 Fisher’s Personal Transition Curve – larger version available [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Fisher adds to the eight stages by identifying three further ‘points’ where people may not move through the transition process (denial or hostility) or where someone may decide that they will leave the organisation (disillusionment).

The transition phases represent a sequence in the level of self-esteem as you experience change. Changes in levels of self-esteem appear to follow a predictable path and identifying the eight phases along such a self-esteem curve can help you to understand the transition process better. Although this model describes transition as a sequence, not everyone in job transition will experience every phase. Each person’s progress is unique: one may never get beyond denial or disillusionment; another may drop out during the depression phase; others will move smoothly and rapidly to the later phases.

Activity 9 Personal transition curve

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Using Fisher’s Personal Transition Curve in Figure 2, and your personal example of change that you identified in Activity 8, think about whether you recognise any of the stages listed here. Make some notes about your own transition curve.

Do you remember experiencing these stages? How long did it take to make the change?

Did you move quickly through the cycle or get stuck?

Were there emotions or behaviours from yourself or others that you could link to parts of the cycle?

Identify something that did you do to take care of yourself when going through the different stages. Did you talk to others? Take action? Focus on a new activity outside work?

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As your answer to this question will be personal/only applicable to your own circumstances, there is no discussion for this activity.

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