Preparing for career transitions

Dr Fran Longstaff
November 22, 2021
min read
women training in the gym with rope

I am a Sport Psychologist, and in sport we take career transitions extremely seriously. We spend a huge amount of time working with athletes to better prepare them for the next stage of their career. Whether that be moving from junior to senior competition or preparing for life after sport.

Transitions are inherently difficult because we often have very few previous experiences to draw upon to help us through them. 

Over the past 3 years I’ve started applying sport psychology to the workplace. And like sport, a person's career is made up of a series of transitions - starting your first job, becoming a leader, returning from parental leave. 

But the key difference between sport and the workplace is that many of us in the workplace are drastically under-prepared to cope with our career transitions. 

As an example, how many of us have been asked to take on increasing amounts of responsibility without training in focus and stress management?

Probably lots of us. 

And this is because in the workplace it’s widely assumed that people should just have the skills to ‘step-up.’ But skills by their very nature can be trained. 

And while we may sometimes be able to get through a career transition with no training, there will be times when we really struggle. And why should we struggle? Why shouldn’t we prepare for our career transitions and perform through them just like athletes?

We should work on our mental fitness the same way we do our physical fitness.

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Dr Fran Longstaff
Head of Psychology

Dr Fran Longstaff is Head of Psychology at Fika Mental Fitness. With more than 15 years' academic and applied experience in sport and exercise psychology, Fran oversees Fika's Behavioural Science output, designing and implementing organisation-wide Mental Fitness training programmes for Fika's client-base of more than 80 businesses, education institutions and healthcare organisations. She is passionate about training leaders and managers in how to build their own and their team’s Mental Fitness in order to transform the culture, output, productivity and happiness of their workplaces. Fran worked as a lecturer in Higher Education for 13 years before joining Fika, and still works closely with Fika's board of academic experts.

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