Ajilon Professional - Career advice

Switching fields.

A look at a few post-game occupations of professional football players and some advice for anyone looking to make a career change.

As we look past the big game that was held in Dallas, the team at Ajilon Professional Staffing can’t help but think what the future holds for some of the players. With such a physically demanding job, the career of a professional football player is relatively short — only four years, on average — and most are retired by their early-to-mid thirties. So, with more than half their lives still ahead of them, what do players do after hanging up their jerseys and leaving the field for the last time? Ajilon looked into the post-playing careers of eight retired football players to find out.

William “The Refrigerator” Perry
Nicknamed for his big frame, Perry was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1985. After ten years on the field, Perry eventually moved on to various endeavors, including making his own line of barbecue sauce, becoming a recording artist and acting in several TV shows, movies and commercials. Today, Perry co-owns a subcontracting company and spends most of his time as a brick layer.

Dave Brown
Brown was drafted by the New York Giants in 1992 and eventually joined the Arizona Cardinals in 1997. After retiring in 2001, he dabbled in broadcasting and insurance sales but found that neither career was competitive enough for his liking. Eventually, Brown turned his attention towards investment banking and he was named a partner at a firm in New York City earlier this year.

Joe Nash
Nash, a defensive tackle, enjoyed one of the longest professional football careers in history. A member of the Seattle Seahawks for 15 seasons, Nash played in a record breaking 218 games until retiring in 1996. Once retired, Nash returned to his hometown of Boston and became a mortgage banker.

Tiki Barber
Drafted in 1997, Barber was a running back for the New York Giants for nine years. In 2006, despite being regarded as one of the best at his position, Barber retired from the sport citing the physical wear and tear his body had endured. Soon after, he began his career in broadcasting as a contributing correspondent for NBC.

John Michels
Michels was drafted in 1996 by the Green Bay Packers and helped his team make a triumphant championship run the following year. Unfortunately, Michels sustained several injuries and was forced to retire at the age of 27. Michels went on to graduate from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in 2008 and began a career in diagnostic radiology.

Troy Barnett
Barnett played sparingly in a three-year career split between the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins. With a passion for computers, Barnett interned at the MIS department of Reebok during the offseason. In 1998, two years after retiring, Barnett obtained a full-time job with Reebok as a business system senior analyst.

Jacob Green
Green was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 1980 and spent 12 successful seasons with the team before retiring. Green eventually became the director of operations for Jaycee’s Children Center, a residential treatment facility located in Houston dedicated to helping young girls. He also hosts an annual golf tournament to raise money for the facility.

Gary Anderson
Known best for his “almost perfect” season in 1998 with the Minnesota Vikings, Anderson started his professional career as a kicker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His career also included stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans. Anderson retired after the 2004 season and became a motivational speaker. He also owns and operates a fly fishing charter business.

A game-plan for a successful career change.

Career change is a reality that impacts many in the workforce just as it did these professional athletes. The reasons for change can differ. Perhaps you want to do something more interesting or challenging. Maybe you are looking for more money and responsibility. Or you have a passion for a different field of work altogether. Whatever the reason, there are many factors you need to consider. Some tips for ensuring a successful career change are:

  • Don’t rush into it. Don’t change your career just because you’re not happy with your current job. Carefully think it through. Is it your career you don’t like, or is it your particular position or employer?
  • Consider your career interests — not necessarily your personal ones. Just because you enjoy something as a hobby doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it as career.
  • Rework your resume. Leverage and emphasize skills you have that can be transferred to the new direction you’re heading.
  • Consider taking college courses or seminars to expand your skill set.
  • Be flexible. Embarking on a new career may mean you will have to compromise your salary, title, location, and more.
  • Use your resources. Connect with someone that knows the field you are interested in. Join related industry associations and speak to a staffing professional that can give you insights into possible opportunities.

For more information on how you can make a successful career change, or to discuss our job openings, please contact your local Ajilon representative today.

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