While professional athletes perform the job they love earning thousands and millions, when it’s time for them to retire they find it difficult to decide what to do next in terms of employment. They may transition their career to either being employed or to setting up their own business. As an athlete nearing retirement, any way you choose to proceed, you will need first to discover who you are outside of sport; and who you are outside of sport will be a determining factor in your future employment/business endeavors.
There are many exciting careers out there besides the ones we typically think of. The important thing is to identify what you enjoy doing. What is your particular talent, what are you especially good at? What do you feel passionate about? There’s no right or wrong answer; each person has a different set of talents and passions.
Once you identify what you are passionate about, you should check what skills are needed in pursuing your passion and you should focus on building relevant skills.
It is important to start working towards determining your interests and expanding your social network, long before the end of your playing career. In addition, throughout your sports career you should be building skills which will help you in the transition from professional sports to the regular workforce or entrepreneurship. Remember that gaining experience and making contacts will definitely be useful in the future, therefore you should seek, develop and nurture relationships both in the sports and other industries.
To identify what you want to be doing in the future you should answer the following questions:
> What are your interests?
> What are your greatest skills?
> What would you like to do other than sports?
> How much money do you need to earn?
As an athlete you have a vast experience in sport. You have the option to use that experience to concentrate in becoming a sports physical therapist, coach, team manager, team owner, team public relations, sports merchandise developer or retailer, sports administrator, sports psychologist, sports manager or scout.
Other examples of fields that you may consider given your sports background, are those of entertainment and media and they include occupations such as sportscaster, journalist, publisher, reporter, editor, graphic designer, web designer, public relations, photographer, literary agent, broadcaster, marketing or advertising executive, actor, film editor, screenwriter, etc.
When you have crystallized what your passions and talents are, one way to move forward is to check out your area of interest by doing some volunteer work or taking an internship. This way you will be exposed to the daily life of your intended occupation which will help you decide if this is what you want to be doing for a great part of your life.
There are multiple examples of careers that athletes have pursued after the end of their sports career:
- A number of former pro athletes such as John McEnroe, Charles Barkley, Annabel Kroft, Gary Neville and Michael Johnson have all transitioned successfully into the world of broadcasting.
- Former wrestler Jesse Ventura, basketballer Bill Bradley and boxer Vitali Klitschko have transitioned from sports into the world of politics.
- Former Sweden and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Klas Ingesson fulfilled his “dream” of being a lumberjack after he retired from football.
LinkedIn recently analyzed data on over 3,000 former NFL players to find out where they transitioned after their professional athletic careers. The results which are shown below may give you ideas as to possible second careers for yourself!
- 20% small business / entrepreneur
- 18% sales
- 9% coaching / fitness professional
- 8% finance/insurance/banking
- 5% campus and professional athletics
- 3% media and sports broadcasting
- 3% education
- 2% non-profit/board member
- 23% other
It is very important that your post sports career is an interesting one and at the same time earns you enough money to support your desired lifestyle. Your goal is to have a career that pays you enough to live well and that matches your current and future interests. If you need any advice in getting ready for your life after sport you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org