Career First Aid
Lifeline - your past as a key to your future
Your defining moment
Transition scenarios for the new Parliament
See also: Introduction & Index I Part 1 - After the honeymoon I Part 3 - Review
As the post-election transition in Parliament moves on more MPs and ex-MPs are likely to be encountering the transition crisis issues anticipated in Part 1, written 2 months ago.
Several situations during October and November have provided classic examples of the transition crisis for individual MPs and for parties. It is not appropriate to speculate on individual cases here. But both the Labour and Conservative parties have run into organisational crisis issues within the last 6 weeks. The effect on backbenchers has taken slightly longer but is now emerging.
The transition theory suggests that a period of crisis is almost inevitable at this stage of the new Parliament. It may be an essential catalyst for change before individuals and parties can adjust fully to the new order. Managed skilfully the recovery phase can provide new insights to update and redefine party principles for the new era.
Parliament in transition is primarily intended as a guide to help individuals assess whether the transition cycle is relevant to your own situation. It also suggests how to manage some career and personal life issues at this time.
Part 2 offers three sections aimed at specific career management issues which may be immediately relevant for MPs and ex-MPs. The fourth section suggests how MPs and parties may use the transition model to anticipate other developments in the next six months.
- To offer a Career First Aid checklist for individuals under pressure or in a career crisis situation. These principles can be applied to career and personal dilemmas at any time. They are particularly relevant during a career transition.
- To enable individuals to recognise the transition process from your own experience. The Lifeline exercise has been used in career and personal development programmes for over 20 years. It may help you to tap inner resources and to see your past as a key to your future.
- To encourage individuals who are approaching a critical decision point in your transition - your defining moment. This is likely to mark the breakthrough from crisis to recovery. It may help you to recognise and understand others who have reached the same point.
- To illustrate how the transition process can be used to generate transition scenarios in the new Parliament.
- To consider how party leaders and organisers can facilitate a smooth, fast transition to the new era in their parties and Parliament. The transition scenarios offer a psychological perspective on political events. These may suggest other options for understanding dissent and managing change during the post-election transition.
1. Career First Aid
We perform best when our physical and emotional resources are sufficient to balance the pressures of life and work. Job, organisation and life changes increase our load. Loss and unemployment deplete our resources. When pressures exceed our coping capacity we suffer stress. Stress impairs our ability to think clearly and stay in control.
Ministers and MPs cover a vast range of issues, shaping the future and responding to daily events. Ideally careers are about achievement. But when events begin to get out of control in the career jungle your first priority is survival. These are some basic survival rules:
1. What is the problem - concern or crisis?
If we have an obvious problem we become concerned. Concerns motivate us to find answers. Unresolved issues cause more problems. These become a vicious circle and potentially a crisis. The first task is to stabilise the situation, with help or advice from others if needed.
2. Take care of yourself and manage stress
How can we stabilise a career crisis? The first priority is to manage symptoms of stress to regain control and think clearly. Three key tasks are fitness, training for stressful situations and relaxation (stress dumping). Regular, quality exercise (walking, cycling, swimming etc.) half an hour each day can make a big difference, especially if sleep is affected. This can save you an hour a day with clearer thinking and fewer mistakes. Take care of yourself, family and colleagues who may also be stressed. Take care driving and working. Stay calm when others get angry. Practice relaxing and breathing easily several times a day and before stressful tasks eg meetings and speeches. Find still moments.
3. Seek help and information for immediate problems
Check facts and seek help. Some situations need prompt action or referral for expert advice eg legal or financial advice, medical advice for illness or severe distress, counselling for relationships and mentor advice in difficult work situations. Early action may prevent a problem from getting worse. If you help other people recognise your limits and know when to refer to others.
4. Buy time for major decisions
Stress impairs judgement and longer term vision. Buy time, take a break, re-schedule tasks. If possible defer major decisions for a few weeks until you can think clearly again. This applies to stressed groups and parties as well as individuals. You may want to escape. Try not to quit jobs or relationships - at least until you have checked all options. If you have to make major decisions under stress check your options with someone you trust.
5. Check your options
By checking options, even hypothetical ones, we can make better quality decisions and feel more in control. Most problems have more than one solution. For example you have options to vote or abstain, to act now or later, to have a main plan and a fallback position. When under stress it is even more important to check options to reduce the chance of making mistakes. Checking several options and discussing them with others helps to sharpen your ideas about what really matters to you.
6. Don't give up - your future starts today
Hard times show us life from a new perspective. It is a chance to re- discover what we really value, and who our real friends are. Have courage. When things seem at their worst new opportunities may be very near. The darkest hour is just before dawn. Remember how you survived past setbacks. Sometimes we need a crisis to let go of old ways and come to terms with a new reality.
7. Eat your elephant a spoonful at a time
Sometimes a major problem seems to be blocking us completely. Find the smallest, easiest thing that you can do successfully and try it. Small victories give us confidence to move forward again.
8. Support your friends
Harassment and scapegoating are common in stressed organisations. Confront them firmly and stand by your friends or you may be next.
9. Have something you can look forward to
Plan things you enjoy, time for yourself and to be with people you like.
2. Lifeline - your past as a key to your future
This exercise is useful to reflect on our formative influences - people and events, past changes we have experienced (past and recent transitions) and how our lives move on. This can be helpful to value ourselves now and to be more confident and aware in current and future transitions. We cannot change the past. But we have choices about how we let it influence and inspire our future.
The Lifeline exercise takes about 20-30 minutes. Click this example for link to the full page version
- Above the chart write your date of birth and today's date.
- Below the chart make a scale for your age in 5 or 10 year intervals.
- Note good times or events above the chart and difficult times below it.
- Draw a line like a temperature chart to reflect your life to date and a few months ahead.
- What key events happened before the low points?
- What turning points led to new highs?
- You can draw a similar chart on a larger scale for the last 5 years or so e.g. starting a few months before the last election.
Most adults experience 10-20+ significant life events including job or career changes. These are likely to show as ups and downs on your chart. See Part 1 for an explanation of the Transition Cycle as it may apply after political events. Several other Eos papers explain transitions in other contexts e.g. Human responses to change and Transitions: managing personal and organisation change. You can compare your lifeline to two examples in Life events and career change.
3. Your defining moment
A number of MPs and ex-MPs have been facing serious dilemmas over aspects of party policy and their new role (or lack of one) since the election, in Government or Opposition. Some have already resolved their inner conflicts and made their new position clear. For others this section may explain the crucial turning point needed to break through from crisis to recovery - your defining moment.
Hazards and opportunities in career transitions
The transition cycle may partly account for feelings of unease likely to be felt by MPs six months or so after the election. The crisis phase, typical at this time, is disturbing and hazardous. The recovery phase offers new opportunities even after the most traumatic change or loss. But recovery depends on understanding and coming to terms with the new reality - both for MPs and parties. Otherwise people and parties may remain stuck in an extended crisis or at best a partial recovery.
Crisis of conscience
Some of you may be confronting issues of conscience where these are threatened by evolving party policies or management style. For others your career change may be straining personal relationships. Resolving these dilemmas is the essence of a transition, restructuring your ideas and life in (or out of) the new Parliament. Surviving and thriving involves deep soul searching, letting go and re-affirming.
Few people appreciate the anger, pain, or fear and the courage it takes to speak out in public to question your party, or to re-define your past beliefs or allegiances. You may be putting your career on the line. History suggests this is a hallmark of integrity.
Preparing for change
A key task in managing transitions is to value yourself - your past achievements and the contributions you have already made to your constituents, party and the nation. These can be forgotten in a period of inner turmoil. The Lifeline exercise can help. Valuing your unique skills and achievements may make it easier to let go hopes or beliefs which are no longer viable, and to accept and adapt to the new reality.
Discover who your real friends and mentors are - the ones you trust enough to talk to about you situation. They will help you to value your past, and your future potential. Listen to their dilemmas too. You may have much in common.
Consider the Career First Aid survival tips to keep fit, manage stress, get advice, buy time, check options and start with small changes to build confidence. Be prepared for change.
Your defining action
The transition crisis and recovery phases are a time to explore and clarify. You may just want to escape. Try not to quit unless you have checked all other options first, preferably with an alternative role or position to move to.
At some point you will have to make a crucial decision, privately or publicly, about what you new life has become - your defining action. You may have to let go of some hope, belief or role. Or, to be true to yourself, it may be time to publicly re-affirm some deep commitment, or confront some threat to your vision for the future. You may have held this back until now for loyalty or expediency during the election and in the early months of the new parliament.
This is the breakthrough point where you decide to dismantle and rebuild your view of the world. It takes courage. Adrenaline can help, sharpening your thoughts and determination. To use your adrenaline well you must be reasonably fit. This is why regular exercise makes a difference. A good walk can calm and clear the mind before you act.
Your defining moment
When you act this will be your defining moment in the new Parliament. So time your defining action with care, perhaps to the minute. Check options. Buy time for your decision. Use this time to recognise events and coincidences that may affirm your chosen course. Trust your intuition to know the exact moment and the right words will come. If events force your decision trust your new insights. Be true to yourself and your integrity will be respected by people with open minds.
Breakthrough from crisis to recovery
The deeper our inner tension or distress the nearer we are to our defining moment, the breakthrough opportunity. Once you make your move you are likely to feel a sense of calm and amazing liberation after weeks of tension. This can enhance your work and personal life.
The inner energy released takes you into the exciting recovery phase, probably with friends who are breaking through too. You are likely to discover new insights better suited to your new role in Parliament and the new era. Your party may not agree yet. Give them time.
Other members and party organisers may still be working through their transition crisis and have not yet come to terms with their new reality. They will have to let go of something too. Some compensate for inner insecurity by over controlling, bullying or scapegoating others.
These people are dangerous, but to be respected not feared. In their anger or fear they may demand loyalty. But loyalty to a changing organisation can be hazardous. Consider your commitment to your constituents. To maintain your integrity be true to yourself, loyal to friends you trust and respect other people's changes.
Learning from others and ourselves
There is always more to learn about coping with life and career changes. We can save time and pain by learning from other people's experiences. Several MPs have taken defining actions recently. Which ones do you respect, even if you do not agree with their views? How did they make their move?
Our own experience of coping with major life and career events is equally important. You have made changes before and will again. The Lifeline exercise can help you reflect on your past changes and defining moments. Which succeeded, which do you regret and why? When did you recover and how did you feel? This can help you focus your inner strength and commitment for the decisions you face now.
In years to come will you look back on your actions now with pride or regret? If you have checked your options carefully you will be happy to live with your defining action, whatever its short term consequences in coming months.
Questions to consider
- From the lifeline exercise can you identify three previous transitions? Recall your defining moments and subsequent changes. Can you bring the same energy to your current situation?
- Have any other major events touched your personal life or career this year in addition to the election result? If so you may also be working through other transitions and need longer to adjust.
- What issues have been most important to you in recent months, in your work and personal life?
- Are any of these issues in conflict with others, or with your commitments to other people or your party?
- Have you been under pressure to let go of some past principles, hopes for the future or commitments to others?
- Have you made any radical changes to your life or work recently, either letting go or re-affirming something deeply important to you?
- Have you reached a defining moment in the new Parliament, or is this still to come? (You may have many in the course of your work, but consider the most important in the past three months).
- If you are approaching a defining moment what options do you see open to you? Who do you trust? And who confides in you?
- Can you recognise other MPs or ex-MPs who have reached a defining moment recently? If so who, and what were the issues they had to resolve? Do you respect them more or less for their action? How have they changed since they made their move?
- What new insights have you gained about your future, your party and national issues in the past 3 months? Is your energy rising?
- How is your life changing? How do your changes affect others?
4. Transition scenarios in the new Parliament
The previous three sections focused on career management skills to help individuals move from crisis to recovery. When the transition theory is applied to several hundred people there will be significant variations. But it still offers a framework for anticipating and managing the next phase of changes in the post-election transition to spring '98.
The post-election transition is only the first of several major changes that will affect the Millennium Parliament. An ongoing issue for parties and MPs will be how to plan in an era of increasing complexity and change. One strategy used by business, and equally valid for career management, is scenario planning.
Instead of trying to predict a single future scenario planning explores multiple future options or scenarios. Some of these are the projected outcomes of our own decisions. Others anticipate the impact of events beyond our control which could affect our future. Start with a minimum change scenario. Then add positive change and negative change options. Make action plans for preferred options and contingency plans for negative events or outcomes.
Exploring scenarios enables us to be more prepared for opportunities and change. This is why checking options is one of the basic Career First Aid survival rules when making career plans and decisions.
The phases of transition for individuals give clues for anticipating the wider effects of transitions in organisations after major events like the election. The early stages of transition depend mainly on whether the initial event was positive (leading to elation and honeymoon) or negative (leading to shock and minimising or disbelief).
Scenarios for the later stages of transition depend on:
a) how and when individuals cope with the crisis and recovery phases
b) whether their environment is supportive or reactive.
When whole parties are affected these factors will determine pace of recovery, morale and organisation effectiveness. A similar situation occurs in businesses after mergers or mass redundancies.
The transition crisis phase has several potential outcomes including:
- - Quitting to resolve an intolerable situation.
- - Extended crisis leading to delayed recovery (or quitting).
- - Repressed breakthrough leading to frustrated recovery.
- - Supported breakthrough leading to optimum recovery.
But all these assume that there is a transition cycle and it will include a crisis period for many MPs. The first reaction of commentators and MPs to After the honeymoon in October was "what crisis?" and denial or disbelief that a transition crisis could affect Labour ministers and MPs.
Taking all these possibilities we outline 6 scenarios. The no transition and deferred transition scenarios cover the minimum change options. We then explore the implications of the four post-crisis scenarios for parties and MPs, plus variations for individuals, families and ex-MPs.
Scenario 1: No transition
For some individuals the normal transition cycle may not apply. MPs need unusual qualities to be elected eg. high motivation and resilience for the gruelling process of election. Past experience of job changes, and certain personality traits, can enable rapid adaptation to new roles within a few weeks. Provided the new environment lives up to the individual's expectations before the election they may adjust smoothly and enthusiastically.
If there are few conflicts between an individual's beliefs and the new reality then there will be less risk of the inner contradictions that can lead to crisis. This is most likely to be the case for experienced MPs in parties which did well in the election.
The individual's personal life and environment matter too. Stable, supportive family relationships, no relocation or other recent life events, secure financial circumstances and positive recognition in the party provide ideal conditions for adjusting to political career changes.
The above conditions may apply to many MPs and some ex-MPs. If so the transition theory may seem of little relevance on this occasion. But it may help them understand other MP's changes. They are a valuable resource to stabilise parties and act as mentors to new MPs, ex-MPs or others affected by the election.
Scenario 2: Deferred transition
It takes several months in a new job before the full significance of the change becomes apparent. In (or out of) normal jobs this begins to emerge after 3-4 months leading to a crisis phase around 6 months. This was likely to apply to party leaders, ministers and ex-MPs.
The new Parliament had an unusually long 3 month summer recess. For some new MPs this may have extended the honeymoon phase and deferred the onset of inner conflicts until the new session started (see Figure 3).
If they have been slow to receive new roles some new MPs may still be experiencing uncertainty and confusion. This would have given them more time to adjust expectations. But it may only have deferred the inner work of resolving contradictions between personal beliefs and party agendas. If so their crisis and defining moments may be coming soon. The Lifeline and Defining Moment sections could be relevant.
Scenario 3: Quitting
Individuals who experience a deep transition crisis may feel a strong urge to escape the situation, or be pushed to leave.
Resigning or quitting is an option from some situations like jobs and relationships, though not from redundancy or bereavement. Quitting as an escape from panic or despair is hazardous because it is likely to start another transition from an already distressed state. The urge to quit may be displaced if the cause of the transition is not understood e.g. breaking a relationship in a career transition crisis and vice versa.
Resigning from a position or a party may be an appropriate defining moment if all other options have been checked first (refer Career First Aid notes). Resigning from the House is a last resort.
Quitting scenarios have serious implications for parties. (see Figure 3 for high risk times for quitting). They are likely to result if parties deny individual members freedom to maintain new insights or deeply held convictions, or if loyalty is demanded at the expense of an MP's personal integrity. Parties need to be aware of the intense power of an individual's feelings at their defining moment.
Employers quite often dismiss staff who appear unstable or under- perform in a transition crisis phase, little realising the new energy and "leading edge" insights they could have offered a few weeks later. They may lose the very talent most needed in a new environment.
If one person uses their defining moment to quit a role or party for clear reasons of principle it is likely that other members are facing the same dilemma. Their action, new energy and freedom in the recovery phase may be a catalyst for others to make their move. Parties will need to re-appraise the relevant issues very quickly.
Scenario 4: Extended crisis / delayed recovery
If the crisis phase continues for more than a few weeks it can result in chronic stress, seriously impaired judgement and an ongoing risk of quitting (see Figure 3). Individuals in this situation will need help, tolerance and support from friends and mentors. Underlying issues need to be identified and options explored to enable the breakthrough to recovery. Mentoring or counselling can be very important to ease this process.
If the crisis phase is extended for several months this can have serious consequences for the individual's health. Medical advice and treatment may be needed. Seek help early to minimise this risk.
If many members are stuck in the crisis phase parties will experience worsening tension and conflict. This is an unstable scenario, likely to result in stress impaired policy decisions, scapegoating and loss of members. Parties can reduce this risk by reviewing divisive policies, consultation processes and how they value or discipline members.
Windows of opportunity will arise which may enable individuals and parties to break out of an extended crisis. Major political or economic events may trigger the change. These may give parties a legitimate excuse to let go of some commitment or past practice that is no longer viable, just as individuals have to do.
Paradoxically the quitting of a member or breakaway group may bring an extended crisis to a head and create the opportunity that leaders need. Demonising dissidents may create martyrs. Conflict and crisis can liberate great energy in a group to heal rifts and restore cohesion. This may come from members who reach their defining moments.
For individuals the delayed recovery may also be triggered by other life events outside their work, good or sad. The recovery phase can be remarkably quick after an extended crisis which may have lasted months or years.
Scenario 5: Frustrated recovery
A growing number of MP's appear to have encountered their defining moment in recent weeks, most evident by statements of principle out of line with current party policies. But in several cases, even to cabinet level, their views and insights have rejected or repressed into silence. Their recovery phase has been frustrated. (See Figure 3).
Some very experienced MPs and ex-MPs have expressed dissenting views, or suggested new alignments, at some risk to their relations with party leaders and whips. At this stage their new visions are likely to be seen as disruptive by leaders and organisers who have not yet come to terms with the need to change. But these new insights, combined with parliamentary experience, are likely to be significant pointers to the new era which is emerging.
To be fair to the parties they have new agendas in their recent election manifestos. But these are nearly a year old now. In an era of rapid change election manifestos are likely to have the same shelf life as computer software. The reality of implementing them must involve regular upgrades. This is where every MP's new insights matter.
The views of new MPs are particularly important in this recovery period. Parties have maintained the tight discipline needed for the election into the new session. But as new MPs work through their career transition they may face growing tensions. If parties demand unquestioning loyalty this may conflict with the new perspectives they bring to the House. New women MPs, and those with recent experience of community or local government issues, may have strong personal agendas.
If parties deny members the intellectual freedom to question old dogmas, or rigid manifesto commitments, this will compromise the recovery phase for individuals but not stop it. As increasing numbers reach this stage they are likely to form new alliances to campaign for issues important to them. If they are forced back into the crisis phase then significant numbers may resign the whip. Some may leave the house, though this has been rare in recent parliaments.
Individual members in the recovery phase may appear unpredictable as they explore new insights and test them out. This is part of the recovery process, reconstructing and refining one's view of the world.
Active discussion with other members in the same phase will help to refine ideas. But tolerance will be very important when these discussions include people who have not yet changed. Experienced MPs may be able to help new MPs in mentoring relationships if both are open to differing perspectives.
Scenario 6: Optimum recovery
This is the most exciting transition scenario for individuals and for parties. It offers more than the no transition scenario because it involves new confidence, high energy and innovative problem solving (see Figure 3).
Experienced members, particularly those re-elected in parties which made gains in the election, may have found the transition easy. Some may have entered the recovery phase as early as the party conferences in September and are likely to be experiencing buoyant optimism. But they are vulnerable to the frustrated recovery scenario.
Parties which can tolerate dissent and value the new insights of members will enable the fastest breakthrough and optimum recovery for their members.
This is may seem quite alien to normal party discipline. Insecure organisations tend to seek to assert their authority by over-controlling members, even to senior level, who they do not trust. Such control cultures engender a climate of fear, inhibiting change not leading it.
Optimum recovery requires a high degree of mutual trust in members, which will be repaid with respect for leaders. This implies that parties entering the recovery phase will make a demonstrable shift to more open management style and culture. Free votes are a good sign. Parties which are willing to encourage ongoing review of policy and procedures, even to revising manifesto commitments, will be rewarded with a renewed level of commitment and synergy among members.
If parties can establish the right climate for the optimum recovery scenario in Parliament they will be setting a model for managing transitions and change in other organisations, public and private.
The transition process for individuals may be complicated by multiple transitions following other major events in their personal life or career. Consider each separately at first. Other events may delay the recovery period. But some changes may compensate for others. And later events may trigger the breakthrough point for a delayed recovery. Seek advice if coping with multiple transitions.
Scenarios for families and support workers
MPs, ex-MPs and their families and support workers may be affected by the transition crisis and recovery phases. Working or living with an individual who is going through an inner crisis is not easy. They may appear distant, short tempered or depressed. Personal and working relationships come under strain. Partners, children and support workers will be coping with their own post-election transitions too. If MPs miss this they may face other crises in coming months.
This is a time for patience and mutual support. It may only be needed for a few weeks. It is helpful to spend time together and share problems and changes, not bottle them up. Include children too.
Old friendships (for MPs and families) may be strained by the transition, especially if MPs take an unpopular stance over their new insights. If the transition period is not understood it can lead to deep and long lasting differences (as seen in communities during strikes). But if all concerned can understand that crisis, new insights and recovery are normal it may be easier to respect and support each other's changes. This may lead to new and deeper friendships.
The transition process offers individuals encouragement to stand by new insights and sincere convictions at a time when this may not be easy.
Leadership in the Recovery Phase
Changes in the new Parliament represent the biggest organisational challenge to parties in 18 years. It will take leaders and organisers many months to adjust and stabilise their new order, in addition to managing affairs of state. The recovery phase will help this task.
Since the May Election party leaders and organisers have been working to implement or maintain their manifesto commitments. But if election manifestos are like computer software they will need regular upgrades. These need to be kept on track, true to basic values and purposes, but adapted to meet changing needs and new opportunities.
If leaders and organisers are not aware of the transition cycle it may help to explain the potential crisis phase due about now, and to anticipate the new opportunities of the recovery phase due soon.
If ministers and MPs are going through changes it seems likely that the management style and organisation culture of parties will need to change too during the transition period. Styles that were appropriate for fighting an election (tightly focused, high control) are quite different from the styles needed 6-8 months later in the crisis and recovery phases of transition (open minded, democratic, adaptable).
Two issues which may need special attention are:
- To provide tolerance and support for MPs working through their own inner crisis period. This may take them from a few days to several months. Mentors may be more appropriate than whips.
- To encourage and tap into the rising tide of new insights and energy to be expected from MPs in the recovery phase.
Trying to repress the recovery phase will miss this opportunity. It may create the frustrated recovery scenario, the most unstable future.
Party leaders and organisers are likely start their own recovery phase soon if not already there. This may involve a significant change of style from recent months. There are some signs of this. Leaders in recovery mode will be better able to value and harness new insights, while needing to support those whose change may take longer.
Parliament in transition highlights the tremendous potential for parties who allow their members the freedom to develop their ideas and careers. New insights are essential to update old dogmas in a period of change.
The new insights generated in the recovery phase should greatly enrich open debate in Parliament and inspire changing attitudes in the country. It could be a great time for debates, not edicts.
Support for ex-MPs
While the transition moves on in Parliament many ex-MPs are likely to be battling through their own transitions, many without the financial security or emotional support available within Parliament.
Most of the principles of managing personal career change described here apply to job loss as well. The recommendations in Part 1 are likely to be even more important now than when they were written two months ago. One party has a support network to involve ex-MPs in ongoing political affairs - exactly the kind of valuing process which could be so helpful.
Ministers and current MPs have their work cut out to manage their own changes. But central and local party organisations could provide valuable support. Ex-MPs may also be forming their own informal support networks. Some are likely to be entering the recovery phase already, with or without alternative employment. Their experiences could be greatly encouraging to others who have not got there yet.
Now what is it really like?
The real question is how are MPs and ex-MPs actually coping at this time? (8 months after the May 1997 Election). Do MPs recognise a crisis or recovery in their work or personal life recently? Do they have some other way of managing change? Their experiences may encourage friends who are still in the crisis phase. Is the transition concept relevant to Parliament?
In Politics, like all hazardous occupations, survivors live by their wits. They constantly learn from each others' experiences and the firsthand stories of those who survive and thrive. In this period of transition the experiences of every MP and ex-MP are important - to help each other survive and thrive, and to build the new era in Parliament.
If Parliament learns to manage its own period of change it could be a role model for the changes many MPs want to bring to the country. An organisation called Antidote is seeking to bring "emotional literacy" to the public arena and to schools. This is a neat term for being more aware of how we cope with life and its changes. MPs and parties have the chance to try this for themselves in the post-election transition.
8 December 1997
Early casualties of the Recession after the last UK election honeymoon in 1992.
The ERM financial crisis had developed 5-6 months after the 1992 Election.
The Review (Figure 2) reports the timing of critical events in the transition crisis period after the May 1997 Election. The new Government's Lone Parent rebellion occurred 3 days after this update was published.
- Hopson & Adams (1976) Transition: understanding and managing personal change.
- Hopson & Scally (1981) Lifeskills teaching.
- Sugarman (1986) Lifespan Development. Methuen
Subsequent papers and references
- Herriot P, Hirsh W and Reilly P (1997) Trust and Transition. Wiley
- Weinberg A, Cooper C, and Weinberg A (1998) A Government health warning for MPs The House Magazine 9/2/98 - based on surveys of stress levels for new MPs in 1992 and 1997.
- Freeman H (1991) The human brain and political behaviour. Brit. J. Psychiatry, 159
- Williams D. (Sept 1998) Parliament in transition: review of the effects of the UK 1997 election landslide. BPS. 1999 Occ Psych Conference Proceedings.
- Williams D. Human responses to change - report of the symposium Waves of Change (January 1999) with Peter Herriot, Ashley Weinberg and Richard Plenty in the journal Futures (Aug 1999). See also the Elsevier website at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/futures .
The Review edition of Parliament in Transition (Sept 1999) included the original briefing After the Honeymoon (Oct 97) as Part 1, this Part 2 in December 1997, and the Review written in September 1998 as Part 3. The printed version is available by mail from Eos price £6. Order by Email see below.
For other papers on transition psychology see the Community Projects index and Life-work themes on the Eos website at: http://www.eoslifework.co.uk
© Eos Career Services 2001
This paper may be copied for discussion, non-profit making organisations and research purposes provided Eos copyright is acknowledged. Brief extracts may be quoted for media review. Eos copyright is reserved. No part of this document or its illustrations may be used for commercial purposes or publication without prior agreement and agreed licence fee from the author.
Page updated 14 June 2001.