Why the ‘Sophomore Slump’ of Adulthood Hits So Hard

Article Interview for BBC Worklife on Sophomore Slump. The interview was conducted in English and released in 2022.

BBC Worklife

The first year in a new job or in a new degree program can be tough. Starting a new project or taking on more responsibility at work are difficult tasks at first. You have to learn a lot of new things and do them well enough to impress your boss or colleagues.

But after you have done it for a while, it gets easier – right?

Not necessarily. Many people also experience what we call the “sophomore slump.” Once you get past the initial learning curve and are doing your job well, you have a hard time maintaining that level of performance over time

For example, let us say you are hired as a salesperson and have a great first year: you close more deals than any other salesperson on your team, receive awards and recognition from your employer, and get promoted twice. The following year, however, things do not go so well. You stop winning awards and have trouble closing deals.

And this can happen even if you are not held accountable in any way. It just seems to happen over time. This phenomenon is not limited to work either – it also occurs with physical activity and other habits that need to be practiced over time.

I recently gave an interview to the BBC, in their Worklife section, to discuss the sophomore slump, why it happens, and what you can do about it. Go check it out!

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About Me

JN Reyt

I am an associate professor of organizational behavior at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management, where I conduct research on the future of work and conflict resolution in the workplace.

I teach organizational behavior and negotiation at all academic levels. I also lead negotiation workshops for corporations and work one-on-one with managers as a negotiation coach.

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