Welcome back for part two of our look into tips to help you make that transition to life after football.
Click here to check out part one.
I did some research on the topic, and thought I’d share with you what I found
Below are links to some of the articles I read in case you want to give them a read yourself.
Let’s continue, shall we?
Lesson #4 – Network! Network! Network!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “It ain’t what you know, it’s who you know,” and it’s true, to a certain extent.
Success in life is directly proportional to the quality of relationships you have in your life.
Think about it; no one is going to want to hire or help someone they don’t like.
Take advantage of the platform you’re blessed with. Being a high school, college or professional athlete puts you up on a pedestal you may never get to experience again in your life.
Leverage that platform to meet business people in the area where you go to school; especially those that are in industries that you’re interested in.
Treat people well that you meet. That trainer that’s taping your ankles today, might know someone that can help you with your career down the line.
You just never know.
I can tell you from experience that some of the best opportunities I’ve received in my life came from networking and treating people with respect.
If you’re not sure how to properly network, Google tips on networking.
I know your schedule is grueling, but years down the road, your families future and well-being could ride on that next handshake or smile you exchange with a stranger.
In “Life after Football in the CFL”, former CFL safety Will Loftus touches on the importance of networking, when it comes to preparing for life after football:
“They said whenever you meet someone grab a business card, because you never know when that card is going to come into play. As I got older I would grab young players and say, ‘Enjoy the moment, but prepare yourself.’ Be respectful of the game, but use what football can do for you. Life is about building a positive support network.”
Lesson #5 – Try to Get an Internship
In this current economic climate, it wouldn’t be smart to think that someone’s going to give you a job just because you used to play in the NFL, or for a major college program.
Put it this way: let’s say you’re lucky enough to not only make it to the NFL, but you’re lucky enough to have a long career.
That long career might take you until you’re, say, 32 years old.
That’s a “lot” of life left to live. Can you imagine how humiliating it might feel to have to take an entry-level job after all the fortune and fame you experienced as an NFL player?
Employers want experience. And even if you choose to be an entrepreneur after your playing career is over, you still need experience, otherwise you’ll lose your shirt out here in the business world.
People will sense your inexperience and take advantage of you.
So, if you’re a current collegiate athlete who’s found your occupational passion outside of football, try to get interships in the summer time, if you can.
Use the networking skills and tactics you developed to network to find jobs for the summer where you can gain experience.
Then, once you’re in that internship, network with people in that industry, not just locally, who you can develop relationships with.
You’ll be so much further ahead when your playing days are over when you have experience and relationships built that can help you out.
If you don’t wanna take my word for it, just look to the NFL. There’s a reason why the NFL Player Development program features a Career Internship Program that allows players to gain work experience with companies in their areas of interest.
Lesson #6 – Learn How to Deal with Money… Yourself.
Yes, if you make it to the NFL you’ll have an agent and a financial advisor, but are you going to really leave your own family’s financial future in someone else’s hands?
It’s great to have guidance, but you need to have enough knowledge to be able to ask intelligent questions.
I bring this up, because one of the hardest parts to making the transition as a player is not having money saved up.
If you’re in the NFL, your contracts aren’t guaranteed, which means that if you aren’t saving and investing wisely… you catch my drift.
Whether you make it to the NFL or not, knowing how to deal with your money is of the utmost importance.
You can make $100,000 a year, but if you’re spending $100,001, what good is the six figure income? You’re just as broke as someone with the same financial literacy level that works at McDonalds that lives just above the poverty line.
Work to develop at least some basic financial skills.
Check out this clip from a segment on CBS on broke NFL players:
This convo is taking longer than I planned… Check back for part three, coming soon.
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