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I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

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  • I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

    Several years from now, after Sanya Richards, Alan Webb, Galen Rupp and other teen-to-pro prodigies possibly earn and collect medals, prestige and national/international honors, they will grace the track one final time and begin other pursuits in the real world.

    When they sit in their conference room across the table from the respective Human Resources Directors and applicable managers (who will most likely be cognizant of the athlete:s on-track accomplishments), the former athletes will be asked a series of questions to test their characteristics for success and practical experience as they may relate to the positions for which they may be applying.

    A few of the questions staged may very well be:

    [insert name],

    -What were your most important pro career accomplishments?
    -Describe difficult decisions you've made and the process you went through to reach those decisions.
    -How did you handle instances or times when you were inappropriately judged or characterized?
    -How did you handle negative criticism?
    -What did you do when you had an idea or a goal which was in total disagreement with the majority?
    -What can you offer us that someone else can't?
    -How long would you stay if we offered you this postion?

    Their answers will vary, but several facts will bind them together: these former athletes will all have invaluable self-competitive and self-confidence experience gained at the highest level in their previous professions; have made what can be misunderstood and deemed unpopular choices of going against the flow; have dealt with an unreal and unrealistic amount of outside influence and public demand; have made a commitment to themselves and to their coaches to pursue their dreams; and have dared to be themselves - which may have meant daring to be different.

    When all is said and done in their sports worlds, I simply hope it is character, desire and dedication which are most evident in the makeup of who Richards, Webb, Rupp, Ritz, Hall and many others in the USA are. The medals and honors they may have received will have come as a result of how well they dealt with their own successes, their disappointments, their own and others criticisms, and how well they put the package together.

    That package will be assessed by a group holding the key to a longer future - that in the work world.

    Therefore, when these current athletes turn their lives in another direction today - popular with some and disagreeable to others - I hope each understands the principles they will learn along the way can be adapted to - and applied in - their real-life worlds outside of athletics.

  • #2
    Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

    <<Therefore, when these current athletes turn their lives in another direction today - popular with some and disagreeable to others - I hope each understands the principles they will learn along the way can be adapted to - and applied in - their real-life worlds outside of athletics. >>

    Like Regina Jacobs and the real estate industry?

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    • #3
      Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

      > Like Regina Jacobs and the real estate industry?

      No.

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      • #4
        Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

        Very nice post, EPelle. I like it!

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        • #5
          Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

          Very, very true. For the most part I find that to be true, not just for world class elite level athletes...but competitive athletes in general make for better co-workers in professional environment. Probably pretty obvious, but they understand the commitment it takes to excell, understand teamwork, etc....

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          • #6
            Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

            Thanks YCN -- something on the heart when I awoke this morning after having a hunch Richards would go pro.

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            • #7
              Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

              That is a nice sentiment. And perhaps a bit naive. As an Olympian and now a successful retired athlete, I have been on both sides of this discussion. Athletic credentials may get you an interview, but all politics are local. You better be able to bring something to the table besides a medal. When the spikes come off, so do the gloves. You're working with and competing against some people who got beat up in gym class and some who took out huge loans for college and resent athletes who they feel have had an extraordinarily easy life. The novelty of your athletic heroics wears off very quickly in the workplace.
              I'm not saying these athletes won't be able to transition successfully, but they'd better be prepared for questions outside of "Can I hold your medal?"

              The most significant interview questions each will be asked after athletics will be; "Give some examples of your leadership qualities. Describe a situation when you put the needs of the organization above your own. How would you define a successful team? Give an example of you being an integral part of a successful team. What can you do for our organization?"
              I predict an awkward silence.

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              • #8
                Re: I Was Once a Professional - Now I Want a Career

                decafan...thanks for reading. My point was missed, however:

                These athletes are not going to be hand-held nor sought after when it comes time for real-world work. My point is this: These athletes are making choices which they must defend both for the public and for themselves. They are going to live through a lot of resentment for those choices, as they will also be surrounded by those who support and uplift them. When all is said and done, if they are successful or not, the fact remains that they made a choice, went after it, layed everything down on the line and can say they tried.

                Leadership skills do not come from being the best in a sporting event. It comes from following, learning, trudging ahead, taking the hits and missing the mark, learning, relearning and teaching others how to do it better when given the same opportunities.

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