Navigating the Path from Career Change to Career Transition in a Changing World

  • Athlete Career Transition Tips
  • Published on October 26, 2023

In the wake of the pandemic, global labour markets are undergoing significant upheaval as businesses adjust to the new normal.

A staggering 25% of workers in the US are actively seeking fresh beginnings in their professional lives, and according to PwC, 20% of British employees will have a different employer by 2023.

This tumultuous landscape means millions of individuals worldwide are grappling with the challenges associated with occupational shifts. Understanding the nuances between a career change and a career transition is crucial, as there's no one-size-fits-all solution to these transitions.

Career Change

A career change, often spurred by external forces like the pandemic, involves a complete shift to a different sector or industry. It demands adapting to new working patterns and acquiring new skill sets essential for the new role. 

Such a change may lead to a reduction in income or status and necessitates careful consideration of ambitions, financial reserves, and personal circumstances.

Career Transition

A career transition is a more moderate shift, typically involving a move to a different role within the same industry or company.

During a career transition, individuals leverage existing skill sets and workplace experiences while expanding their networks and taking on more significant responsibilities. This transition could result from a promotion or a desire for a more fulfilling position within a similar field that aligns better with personal goals.

Navigating Change

Regardless of the degree of change, individuals undergoing career shifts face cognitive hurdles, a journey outlined in three stages by organisational consultant William Bridges:

The Ending: In this phase, individuals assess what they're leaving behind and what they're carrying with them in terms of expertise, working systems, routines, or relationships. It's crucial to let go of past identities and acknowledge the emotions associated with departure.

The Neutral Zone: This introspective phase involves reflecting on strengths that can be useful in the new career. Career specialists play a vital role in helping individuals create space to contemplate their future while identifying transferable skills and experiences.

A New Beginning: The final stage focuses on acceptance, growth, and progress. Emphasis should be placed on applying fresh skills in new contexts, forming relationships, and establishing routines in the second career. Aligning personal values and goals is key to staying true to one's purpose in the new role.

The Athlete’s Perspective

This transition process strongly resonates with athletes moving from retirement to a second career. Professor Nancy Schlossberg aptly defines transition as a change in assumptions about oneself and the world, leading to corresponding changes in behaviour and relationships.

Athletes possess a wealth of transferable skills such as time-management, teamwork, leadership, attention to detail, and resilience under pressure, yet often lack awareness about their potential contributions in the workplace.

Athlete Career Transition (ACT)

Recognising these challenges, I co-founded Athlete Career Transition (ACT) in 2010.

ACT sheds light on athletes' hidden talents and assists them in understanding the applicability of their skills in various professional contexts.

We facilitate their placement in business environments where they can continue to excel, providing unparalleled and sustained support during their transition. This not only fulfils athletes as elite performers but also provides great companies with a distinct competitive advantage.

To discover more about our initiatives and how you can be a part of this transformative journey, click here.