“Transition” is a key word in life. So much of what we do is about making transitions — new jobs, new homes, new relationships and so much more. And of course, a lot of the most significant transitions happen during a relocation, which is why it can be so stressful.
Beyond these changes that are centered around singular events, transitions also occur more gradually at different times in someone’s life. The psychologist Erik Erikson looked at life through the lens of eight different stages that occur across different age ranges. Each stage is defined by a key emotional conflict, important events, and positive or negative outcomes based on how someone manages the stage.
As Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO of 20-first, notes in the article below, all of this makes it important to get better at transitions. This is particularly important in the mobility industry, because as I noted above, a lot of big changes occur when a person moves for work.
I think mobility professionals should try to master transitions from two perspectives. First, make sure you’ve got them down on a personal level. Get a grasp of Mr. Erikson’s eight stages and try to make sense of where you might be in that journey. Think about where you are now and where you’d like to go, both professionally and personally.
This introspection will help with the second item, which is understanding the transitions relocating employees are going through. What life stage are they in and what might that say about their wants and needs? What factors might be contributing to making their moves more or less stressful? What can you do to support them through these big changes?
Getting into a relocating employee’s shoes, so to speak, is a great way to develop empathy and ultimately improve their experience. And you can only do this if you’re first willing to take a closer look at yourself.
My daughter is graduating college. My son is starting his first company. My husband is adapting to something he resists calling retirement. My mother has just been fitted with her first hearing aids and is suddenly complaining about the noise of the sirens in the city. Not to mention my trio of good friends, one who lost a job, one who moved countries, and one who split from her partner. Every one of this cross-generational crew is struggling to let go of what was (identity, community, colleagues, and competencies) to embrace what’s next (as yet unknown, undefined, and ambiguous). There is a mixture of fear (Who am I?) and excitement (I am SO ready for a change), confusion (What do I want?) and certainty (Time to move on).