Competing in the middle of a packed arena, with thousands of fans cheering you on and millions more watching on TV, is about as far removed from a regular, nine-to-five job as you can get. But the thrills of your sporting career can only last so long and, like every other athlete, you will soon have to adjust to a new life and a new career.
Your career transition doesn’t have to be something you dread, however; choosing a new challenge can be an exciting time and, if you start preparing early, then your move from sport into the workplace can be an easy one. The timing of your transition can be something that you plan (the earlier the better!), but can happen unexpected due to injury or other unforeseen circumstances.
Help is also at hand with the IOC Athlete Career Programme, which provides online resources, training opportunities and job placement support to enable elite athletes to successfully manage the transition from sport to a new career.
Preparing for the transition
Every athlete knows that their sports career won’t last forever and those who start planning for life after competition will find that they have a head-start over those who haven’t even begun to consider what they’ll do next.
And while it may seem strange to start thinking about your life after sport when you’re still so focused on achieving your goals on the field of play, it’s never too early to prepare for the transition from competition to the workplace.
By planning ahead, you will give yourself the best chance of making a smooth transition and will be in a great position to begin the next exciting phase of your life.
Discover who you are
If you’ve always thought of yourself as an athlete, it can be difficult to imagine doing anything else. But by exploring your interests and thinking about what motivates you the most, you can discover a new and exciting career path to follow once you retire from competition.
Start by thinking about what you’d like to do next. You can return to education or pursue professional opportunities. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the sports industry – Olympians have been known to pursue careers as everything from accountants, doctors and lawyers to actors, politicians and entrepreneurs. You really can do anything you set your mind to!
Once you know which direction you’d like to go in, you can then start looking at what skills you’ve gained as an elite athlete and how these can be transferred into the workplace and develop your game plan for success. You may be surprised to see how useful some of the attributes you have developed in sport can be in other careers!
Planning for success
As an athlete, you already know the importance of having a plan and setting goals – they help you understand where you are currently, where you want to go and how to get there.
If you know which direction you’d like to go in once your sports career has ended, you can begin to make a plan and set out how to follow that path. Start by thinking about what it takes to succeed in that career and then look at what skills or qualifications you may need to gain.
As soon as you have clear goals for your new career, it will be easier to work towards achieving them!
Looking of inspiration?
Check out these and many more inspirational examples of athletes who have made an exciting transition from competition to career.