Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Career Over: Now What?

Career Over: Now What?

I knew the moment I walked off the mound for the last time that my life had changed forever. As I gave the ball up to the manager I realized that I had spent my entire life striving to be the best baseball players I could be, and now I had no true goal to strive for. Sure I wanted to be a good husband, father, and son. I wanted to have a successful career after baseball. I wanted to provide well for my family and enjoy a comfortable life. The problem was, I had no idea how I was going to do it. I had not made any serious preparations for a career after baseball. I left college without earning my degree and hadn't returned to school in the eleven years I played professional baseball. Eleven tough years that I considered a success. I never made a lot of money in baseball but I achieved my childhood goal of pitching at the big league level and got to pitch in games all around the world. I got to live my dream and to me that was a success.

I remember getting back to the hotel that night and wondering what the hell I was going to do now. I had decided before I went to winter ball that if I didn't get an offer to pitch with a MLB organization for the following spring that I was ready to retire from baseball to go home and be with my wife and kids full-time. I was ready to be a full-time husband and father. At the time, starting the season in the Mexican League for the fourth season in a row was not a route I was ready to take again.

Even though I was prepared to step away from baseball, I was not ready to be a full-time non-professional baseball player. That was all that I wanted to be growing up and that was all that I was. Baseball was the only way I knew how to bring in consistent income. My various part-time jobs during the off-season: tile setter/helper, insurance inspector, and recruiter were not careers at the time that I was seriously interested in pursuing.

I knew I didn't want to do any of these things full-time but I didn't even know how to properly prepare a resume or interview for a job. My resume was weak compared to most other job candidates that were interviewing for the same positions. The only real job offers I got were from companies that operated boiler-room type phone centers or marketing services. Jobs where turnover was high and making good commissions was virtually impossible. These were not the type of jobs or careers I wanted to pursue.

That's the reason I decided to write about this. I've finally discovered what I want to do in my post-baseball career. I want to help other players and athletes avoid the mistakes that I have made along the way. I want to let players know that just because you start preparing for a life after baseball you are not accepting defeat in you athletic career. The facts are simple, professional athletes' careers have shelf lives. Only the top-tier players go on to sustain a career that brings lifelong financial security. Most guys never make it to the big leagues or if they do, their career is over in less than five years. That means most of us athletes are going to have to “make it” in something else also. The earlier your start preparing for this reality the better off you are going to be.

I look forward to sharing more of thoughts and ideas with those who are want to achieve success in the next level of their lives and careers. Remember, you'll probably be “pro” in something else a lot longer than your were a professional athlete.

You can read more of my thoughts and ideas on successful athlete transitioning on my blog at

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