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Career Transitions - a life-stages series

09 January 2017

From a recent article in Stuff: “The reality of becoming a mum for premier athletes can mean walking away at the peak of their powers – risking all the hard work and dedication that got them to that point.”

For many of us our workplaces have policies and procedures which look after us if and when we decide to have a baby, however, some of the principle issues faced by elite sports people are not confined to them. Transitions in life stages affect us all financially, emotionally and physically, and planning for these transitions is important.

LW Sailing

LW Centre Olivia Price And Nina Curtis

Ruby spoke with Women’s Markets Marketing Co-ordinator Lucinda Whitty (centre with team mates Olivia Price and Nina Curtis) about her approach to life after winning a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics in sailing (above).

“I did a Bachelor of Business at UTS majoring in Marketing and International Law. Throughout my sport career I kept studying, generally part-time. I was always very upfront with my lecturers and tutors about my training and preparation schedules and if I was overseas for sailing competitions and I found them [her lecturers, etc.] to be very flexible and supportive.

“Study, and have interests and people outside your sport with who you can speak. You can get really in the bubble and it’s important to be able to escape that insularity and stay in touch with the world - and life.

“When you’re not training or you have some downtime, try and do internships in areas of work that interest you. It will give you experience and contacts and help you decide what you are interested in and what you are good at doing once your sport career is over.

“Get your LinkedIn profile up to date and find mentors in fields that interest you. Talk with them about what it is they do and how they got to where they are.

“Have a look at your training and preparation timeline and plan ahead. The employment process can be long. I know there were some graduate programs I could have applied for and by the time they were ready to come on line I would have been ready to join, except I hadn’t planned ahead with that in mind.

“The thing is you never know if you might be injured or not selected, and if you’ve had the foresight to apply for something then the option is there to start work on your business professional career.

“In time, you will face retiring from sport at the elite level and a successful transition needs planning. My tips are: learn how to prioritise and manage your time, understand how the interview process works, and network with a variety of people, especially outside your chosen sport.”