A gateway to the world of
Work, career and community psychology
Encouragement & resources for 2014
Site updated 2 January 2014
Welcome! This site offers a summary of Eos services for individuals and employers and a resource centre with reports and internet links for our clients and professional network contacts.
If you are thinking about your current situation in your work, study or community - or looking to make a big change in your life in 2013 - you may get some ideas and encouragement here in the Life-Career Planning and Life-Work Themes sections.
If you are involved in a work organisation or community going through hard times due to economic conditions, severe weather or political conflict then you may find some useful ideas from other experiences of managing trauma and change in the Community Projects section. Increasing our personal resilience is a special feature of Eos programmes. Increasing our resilience in organisations and communities to economic and political changes, conflicts and natural disasters is an important theme in Eos research.
Eos aims to help individuals and organisations
- to survive and thrive in the world of work, and
- to balance work performance with personal development and quality of life.
The site offers practical information for people about work, study and life issues. We also cover new developments in work and community psychology that raise challenging issues for employers, researchers, governments and the media.
Employers, Human Resources, Occupational Health and other professionals are welcome to use the site for briefing notes on a range of life and work issues or to request Occupational Psychology services see For your organisation and Professional networking sections.
The Eos website includes Free career briefing notes including several files in the Life-Work Themes section. This includes the Eos get-a-life time chart to check your life-work balance, plus Fun without fear - notes about safe and dangerous relationships at work including bullying and emotional relationships. The Career First Aid and Transition management pages are relevant for individuals, managers and unions in many organisations. They also suggest priorities and coping strategies in the psychological aftermath of the financial crises since 2007, the Crash in 2008, recession since 2009 and continuing economic uncertainty in Europe and the USA. Transition management is highly relevant for communities recovering from natural disasters and countries going through major social and political changes - from newly elected leaders and governments to major regime changes or conflicts.
Career and personal development and change
If you are looking for personal career advice in South East England see details of Eos Life-Career Planning programmes.
The Life-Work themes section contains articles about some of the most frequent hazards and opportunities our clients discuss with us. These include career development, coping with career crises, trauma, change and seeking a healthier work-life balance. e.g. Career First Aid, Safe and dangerous organisations and Managing Life-Work Boundaries. These may be of interest or encouragement to individuals and employers, or to people who are concerned about a friend or relative in crisis with their work or study. Working long hours? If you have Excel on your computer click here to check your own work life balance.
Career Consultant Dai Williams is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and registered Occupational Psychologist with the UK HPC. Dai started Eos in October 1986. Over 650 people have done individual Eos career programmes, plus 150 others in Employer sponsored programmes for staff and management selection, development or redundancy support programmes. Former and recent Eos clients are welcome to a free Eos update pack for reviewing and updating personal and career development exercises including personal life plans. Contact Dai for further details.
Services for employers
Eos mainly works with private individuals but several employers who intially referred staff in crisis to us have seen the value of using career and personal development techniques for developing talented staff and in senior management. See Organisation Services for examples and latest updates for international trauma support contacts.
We often work closely with Human Resources and Occupational Health professionals and exchange ideas and information, contacts and action research through Professional Networking between different professions, between pratitioners and researchers including e.g. the UK Forum for Organizational Health and with health and employment specialists in other countries.
Eos transition management reports may also be important for civilians, aid organisations, troops and governments in regions suffering wars or natural disasters - see below and a synopsis of Dai's chapter (27) on Surviving and Thriving published in the new Transition Handbook by Springer NY, 2010 - Handbook of Stressful Transitions Across the Lifespan, edited by Prof Tom Miller. This Chapter is now available as a separate paper from the Springer website.
The Praeger Handbook of Veterans' Health was published by Praeger, California in October 2012. Volume 1 includes Global healthcare for veterans. Dai Williams was asked to review the health and wellbeing of the UK veterans community in Chapter 12:
Forgotten heroes? Health and Well-being Issues and Resources for UK Veterans and their Families in the 21st Century.
Challenges of working life
We welcome interest in Work Life Balance (WLB) in the UK in recent years. This subject goes in and out of fashion for political parties and the media. But maintaining a healthy balance between personal life and work demands is a major issue in many industries and many countries. Some key issues are described in Managing the Life-Work Boundary - written in 1999 but still highly relevant in 2011. Over 11% of UK staff work over 60 hours a week (plus travelling time). The physical and mental fitness of staff is far more important to their productivity than the hours they work. In 2010 the BPS Division of Occupational Psychology sponsored an International Worshop on Work Life Balance at Surrey University.
Gradual changes have enabled organisations to develop healthier working practices instead the outdated long hours culture. Talented senior staff in strategic roles are quitting organisations that make excessive demands on their time. Long hours working increases stress, fatigue and the risk of serious errors - from strategic errors by top executives to work and driving accidents for other staff. Healthy organisations are likely to be more effective and safer. See Safe and Dangerous Organisations. These hazards still apply to many Government organisations (e.g. health and education) as well as to commercial and not-for-profit organisations - and to Government itself.
The economic downturn of 2000-2003 challenged many organisations and countries. It required different thinking strategies from the economic growth of the late 90's. Stock markets gradually recovered from March 2003 until the global financial crisis developed in 3rd quarter 2007. Since then UK unemployment rates have begun to rise again but employers have tried to retain key personnel where possible as crucial resources to enable and contribute to economic recovery. The employment outlook for school leavers and new graduates in autumn 2010 is challenging. Government cuts are resulting in more public sector reduncies in 2011 but we welcome new jobs wherever they can be created.
Crises in national and international finances from 2007-2009 created major anxieties for people with large loans or mortgages, and dramatic challenges to management in governments and public sector organisations, as well as in business and third sector (charities and other not for profit organisations). Eos career assessments with hundreds of people shows that different personality types have very different ways of coping with change e.g. some people seen as misfits or mavericks in old organisations may have new insights into surviving unstable business conditions. We suggest new ways of working to individuals and can offer briefings and consultancy advice to employers who are managing the effects of economic and political change, and the morale of organisations during recession and recovery.
Internet users from 144 countries have visted the Eos Life-Work website since December 1999. Welcome back if you have visited before and greetings if this is your first visit. To read the site in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese or Korean go to Babelfish translation, enter the Eos URL http://www.eoslifework.co.uk and choose your language.
Communities in crisis
Since 1993 I have used some of the practical techniques that help individuals to manage loss, stress, and change to study how communities, politicians and governments cope with trauma and change. See the Community Projects section for studies about the UK, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, USA and Afghanistan. In 2010 unusual weather conditions have caused severe flooding traumatising communities in many countries e.g. Pakistan, the Philippines and parts of Africa. Natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti and volcanoes in Iceland and Indonesia have have also traumatised local communities and caused wider economic disruption. Eos studies may be relevant to civilians and emergency response organisations in communities in crisis.
Our thoughts have been with friends and communities in Japan following their triple crisis of earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima radiation emergency in 2011. The remarkable public uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have led to a roller-coaster of changes that are gradually evolving into new regimes. Some regions like Myanmar seem to be finding new optimism. Conflicts across the Middle East and South Asia from Syria to Pakistan involve widespread violence and distress. Natural disasters like hurricane Sandy caused devastation from Cuba and Haiti to New york. Eos notes on mass transitions may be relevant - see Human responses to change, and Surviving and Thriving: How transition psychology may apply to mass traumas and changes. see below.
Early Eos projects included working with self-help groups coping with unemployment during the last UK Recession (see CSGU Handbook for support group leaders). And the Professional Networking page includes links to international Trauma Support organisations.
Over the last 11 years I have been considering the likely psychological aftermath of the traumatic and tragic events of the September 11th attacks in the United States and the War on Terrorism. The concept of transition is a powerful factor in understanding how humans respond to trauma and change see Human Responses to Change. It is essential in career psychology and for employers managing organisation change. The same process may be vital to governments and countries affected by terrorism or war. This is considered in the report Psychological Aftermath of September 11th - is there a 9-11 Transition? including reflections from a visit to New York in September 2002.
Some of these issues may be relevant to employers managing the indirect consequences of 9-11 for people in many other countries e.g. working in American companies overseas, or in countries disrupted by the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, or may indirect effects of conflicts such as mass movements of refugees. These issues may be very important for employers sending expatriates on assignments in recent or new combat zones.
In view of the tragic and continuing violence in the Middle East the Community Projects section contains two papers which analysed psychological aspects of the Balkans war in April 1999: Rising global tension and Fear and violence in stressed populations . Both papers are still relevant in the unstable international climate, especially in the Middle East and south Asia since 2001.
In 2004 we added a new topic Living with fear & trauma - psychological aspects of global terrorism. This includes a presentation to the IATA AVSEC 2004 aviation security conference in Vancouver on psychological effects of terrorism on airline passengers and staff. These topics became relevant again in July 2005 with the 7-7 terrorist bomb attacks in London. These events are important for the public and for employers and staff in all organisations affected by terrorist attacks in London in July 2005. The aviation security issues came up again with reports of new terrorists threats against flights between the UK and USA on the 10 August.
Transition psychology appears to be a natural process that usually enables humans to survive and thrive after major trauma or change. This offers hope and encouragement to many communities that experience major crises. Some may suffer sudden traumas - from terrorist attacks and wars to natural disasters like floods, tsunamis and hurricanes.
Other communities in crisis may have suffered lingering traumas from epidemics like Foot and Mouth disease for UK farming comunities, or the SARS outbreak in Asia. Longer term disruption also comes from economic disasters e.g. Recession and unemployment.
Community psychology is now emerging as a distinct field of practice and research in the UK. It is mainly based on the work of Clinical Psychologists but psychological theories and technques from other fields e.g. Occupational Psychology can be applied to analysing community needs and supporting community recovery and development of healthy communities. The disastrous effects of Hurrican Kristina on the city New Orleans and neighbouring communities illustrated the importance of Community Readiness programmes as part of disaster response strategies. The chaos and disruption that actually occurred in New Orleans in 2005 was equivalent to the Eos worst case scenario for potential hazards of the Y2K Millenium bug scenario in December 1999. The Eos Community Readiness principles suggested then are equally relevant in other large scale community disaster scenario planning.
Surviving and thriving in times of trauma and change: In October 2008 the global crisis started a period of recession in many countries. In the 1990's Eos supported many people through the last recession in the UK. Psychological Effects of the UK 1990's Recession explains some of the problems that people and employers faced in the UK and suggested coping strategies. Many of these issues are relevant to the uncertain economic outlook for the next 5 years - 2010 to 2015 .
Eos political psychology reports are relevant to the UK Coalition Government following the UK Election in 2010 and previous elections in the USA, Israel and other countries. These include the first year leadership transition period for new national leaders and governments.
Similar mass transition periods may also apply to whole communities or nations after wars and natural disasters e.g. this year in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Bahrain, as well as for communities in Japan, Africa and south Asia. The new Handbook of Stressful Transitions Across the Lifespan (edited by Prof Tom Miller, published by Springer New York, 2010) includes Chapter 27 - Surviving and thriving: How Transition Psychology May Apply to Mass Traumas and Changes by Dai Williams. This is relevant to the outlook for communities traumatised by recent conflicts and natural disasters e.g. floods in The Philippines and other regions in Asia and Africa, earthquakes in Haiti and military conflict zones in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. It includes practical techniques and priorities for transition tracking in periods of trauma or change.
Previous Eos reports also included psychological aspects of global security concerns for the airline industry UK airport security crisis since the 9-11 attacks in 2001. An ongoing research interest covers occupational and community health and safety issues including psychological and physical health aftermaths in war zones relevant to civilian communities and to veterans, aid workers, peacekeeping forces and media crews (eg Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Israeli / Lebanon conflict ). These are directly relevant to recent, ongoing and potential conflicts e.g. in Georgia, Sri Lanka, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and potentially for Iran and Gulf States.
We hope this website may give encouragement and practical advice to individuals and employers in similar situations around the world. We would like to exchange ideas with other researchers and professionals that help individuals and communities to cope with periods of trauma and change, and to harness these for personal and community development.
Awareness of transition psychology may help rural and urban communities in crisis to find new hope for recovery and growth. People who are still coping with trauma and loss may find new hope and energy when some other major change affects their lives. Emotional support and economic security are key factors to psychological recovery after traumas and change - see Life Events and Career Change. But these factors are desparately scarce in poorer countries and communities traumatised by war or natural disasters. Some more powerful countries deliberately sustain fear and poverty in victim countries - not realising that these will only extend the experience of crisis and breed the most violent long term consequences as proposed in the Power or Peace project.
Health and safety in war zones
Occupational psychology includes aspects of Occupational Health and Safety as well as trauma and change. 17 years in the oil and construction industries has made me alert to toxic materials and curious about health problems faced by troops and civilians involved in combat zones, particularly since 1991 e.g. Gulf War Syndrome. In February 2002 I added a study on potential health and safety hazards associated with suspected uranium weapons for civilians, troops and expatriates in Afghanistan. These potential hazards are important for international employers and aid organisations and countries involved in a series of Post-Conflict support programmes and International Peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa. The report Mystery metal nightmare in Afghanistan? was particularly intended for Occupational Health professionals and UN and other international aid agencie.
Many of the new weapon systems used in Afghanistan were also used in the second Gulf War in Iraq in 2003 and in ongoing operations in Iraq e.g. Fallujah and in Afghanistan. Until environmental contamination, and the medical condition of troops and civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq are investigated these hazards raise serious health, safety and legal responsibilities for employers and governments. This new threat was explained in Hazards of suspected Uranium weapons for Iraq (Sept 2002) in the Community Projects section. This analysis plus recent findings from the US Patent Office and preliminary medical test results for Afghan civilians were published in a second report Hazards of Uranium weapons for Afghanistan and Iraq (October 2002). In view of recent concerns about US weapons used in Falluja a new downloadable version of this report was added in Nov 2005.
These issues were debated in the European Parliament on 12 February 2003 in Strasbourg and a resolution calling for an moratorium on these weapons was passed. A new slide show summarises recent investigations and potential radiation hazards from new US weapons for civilians and troops in Iraq. Two weeks later a briefing in Westminster was offered for UK MPs, Peers and NGOs to these hazards).
The start of the Iraq war despite widespread international concern placed immense strains on international relations and the world economy. It involves specific health and safety concerns for civilians, troops and other expatriates in Iraq, with major public and occupational health implications. Each new crisis in an already unstable world is a challenge and an opportunity for community, peace and political psychology. A first post-war assessment (March 2002) considered key issues for United Nations uranium testing plans in post-conflict Iraq. To date (April 2004) UN testing in Iraq has still not been allowed to start.
In July 2006 the Israeli/Lebanon conflict started another post-conflict trauma cycle for communities in the Middle East. Unfortunately many of the weapon systems used were similar to those used in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq - with similar potential long term health, safety and environmental hazards. On 30th August 2006 these concerns were discussed UN priorities for investigating uranium and other suspected illegal weapons in the Israel/Lebanon conflict. I visited Lebanon in September, described in the Eos weapons study in Iraq, September 2006 - interim report and again in November 2006. These studies led to a number of discussions with UN staff and NGOs in Geneva and other concerned organisations groups in Switzerland, Austria, UK and the Middle East. A combined Lebanon report is also available.
Other Eos pages list trauma support resources and the powerful transition periods that follow major traumas (such as natural disasters, wars and terrorist attacks like 9/11) described in the Community Projects index. We hope these may be useful for traumatised communities in both Israel and Lebanon, and for aid programmes working with them.
Eos Career Services is named after Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn and symbol of hope. It is an independent consultancy based in Surrey, UK. It was set up in 1986 by Career Consultant Dai Williams, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist. The Eos Life Work project aims to increase awareness and to offer practical advice for topical issues in the world of work. It covers our action research and international networking activities via the Internet. We liaise with other specialists in work and organizational psychology, human resource management and occupational health. We offer comprehensive career management, personal development and career crisis support programmes.
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page updated 2nd January 2014. Copyright © Eos Career Services 2014
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