In Women and Transition: Reinventing Work and Life, Linda Rossetti presents a heart felt and very personal view of transition. As she explains, at some stage in our lives, we all undergo some level of transition. The triggers can be many, death of a friend or family, divorce, serious illness, redundancy or just a realisation that we are on the wrong path. For women in particular, there are additional triggers such as child birth and menopause.
Transition she defines as ‘ A process of change where we re-examine our assumptions about identity, capacity and values’ and follows 3 stages:
- A trigger
- A decision to change
- An action
As Rossetti explains, people prefer stability so transition can lead to a variety of feelings, some very positive and some not so positive. The positive reactions to transition include feeling empowered, rewarded, inspired and energized. Alternatively it can feel somewhat isolating, frightening uncertain and unpredictable. No matter the reaction, it can be very emotional and those emotions need to be acknowledge and managed.
Chapter 4 it will inspire some debate as Rossetti suggests that transition may be gendered as though it is only men or women that go through transition. There are many areas where men and women differ but we all have the potential to go through periods of transition. Rossetti has found however, that it is the response to transition that varies, thanks in part to how we are raised, socialised and the culture that influences us.
Transition can be described with a very simple process:
We envision a new state through internal exploration. This allows us to create a hypothesis.
We then validate that hypothesis by testing it with data.
The hypothesis is then refined and the process repeated.
Rosetti expands on the process with a transition toolkit including processes such as:
- Brainstorming possible options
- Involving peer review
- Developing stories of how the end state might play out
- Conducting experiments
In doing so, she provides the ‘Woman in Transition’ with a series of tools and a process to build a strong hypothesis for their future. A step through of the process provides a practical demonstration of the toolkit and offers some insight into the value of each of the tools.
It is a simple system but looks to be a very effective handrail for defining your future state and testing it against how you see yourself.
Exploring much more detail than can be captured here, Rossetti identifies and helps the reader much of the confusion and emotion that can be encountered during transition. The case studies are engaging and the observations thought provoking. Overall the book provides some great insight into transition and how to approach it, predominantly with the woman in mind but applicable to both genders equally.
Dare to Aspire