Consider this recent article in the New York Times: At 58, a Life Story in Need of a Rewrite

This appears to be a textbook example of an experienced, expert executive who falls on employment hard times. This recession has taken its toll on vice presidents everywhere. Adding to Michael Bateman’s suffering, he is also dealing with a divorce with all its emotion and complications. And finally, he moved to Florida and then to NY in the hope of locating a stronger job market. Physical moves certainly take their toll.

William Bridges helps us understand transitions through his three stage model.

Endings Dealing with Loss Anger, blame, fear, shock
Neutral Zone Transitional Period Anxiety, confusion, uncertainty
Beginnings Setting New Goals Integration, reinventing yourself

How does Bridges model help us understand the challenges of Michael’s transition, especially when multiple transitions occur concurrently?

What do you think of Michael’s statement about his divorce, “Life is short, you’ve got to do what makes you happy.”

Michael’s comment, “If I walk to the store, I’m back in ten minutes and then what? As of now I have zero planned, not a thing.”

What emotion do you feel for Michael?

What advice would you give him?

It may appear obvious, but Michael would probably benefit from some of the following options—

  1. Seeking volunteer opportunities in organizations related to your core competencies and most valued expertise.
  2. Participating in a “job club” or career transition support group—emotional support can be valuable as well as the opportunities to share and build off others networks.
  3. Working with a Career Coach in identifying his key skills which transfer to other fields and industries.
  4. Consider consultative and entrepreneurial possibilities. He may have enough contacts in high places where part-time and temporary work could be found.

I look forward to hearing your opinions.