Is Dara Torres Available for Hire After Beijing? Athletes Do It Better in the Workplace…

Jessica Lee Candidate Pool, Jessica Lee, Recruiting, Sourcing

I have Olympic fever. There’s just something really magical about watching athletes at their peak pitted against each other in a quest to be crowned as the best in their sport. The sweat, the occasional tears, the look of determination in their eyes… it’s inspiring. But after an athlete has passed their prime, where do they go? For the select, charismatic few, you can become a commentator or analyst a la Charles Barkley or John McEnroe. Or, if you’re Dara Torres, you can make it to the Olympics for the fifth time at the age of 41.

But for everyone else, is there some post-pro graveyard that I don’t know about, where all of these Dana_torresathletes retire to? Because I’d love to tap into that network and hand out a few business cards. After all, they say athletes do it better, and I wonder if that too includes the transition from the playing field to the board room.

When stacked up next to a non-athlete, it’s almost a sure thing that the athlete is probably superior, in that they are a great team player, good at and accustomed to receiving feedback, and highly determined, dedicated, and focused.

Now, I’m not talking about you who played pee-wee football as a young lad and now are a couch-potato football fan. Your beer belly may cause me more harm than good, especially when I think about healthcare costs and how your metabo self may impact them. I’m talking about real athletes.

Think about the advantages athletes bring to your workplace:

Athletes have to play well with others and embrace the concept of the team in order to win. Simply being Kobe won’t get you championship rings.  Effective and winning teams have players who recognize each other’s strengths and play off of them in the pursuit of a common strategy. Sound any different from the best teams in the workplace?

-For serious athletes who have balanced years of academics and sport, time management is ingrained in them – nice skill to have, eh? Beyond that, think about the dedication and determination needed to reach levels of excellence both on the field and in the classroom… there’s simply an internal drive and focus that serious athletes must have to reach and stay at the top of their game.

-No athlete can be successful without coaches or trainers. What that means is that athletes are used to being good listeners and using the constructive feedback they receive to make adjustments to their performance. And how many coaches would accept any lip back? Right, so that means there’s going to be an element of humility to the athlete as well.

What do you think? Is there something to this? And is anyone using sites like The Corporate Playbook? Others are pondering this, too. Or perhaps, holding career fairs within collegiate athletic departments is a route to pursue, especially if you need a college feeder program.

A few possible snafus though – overcoming the “dumb jock” perception because who wants to hire a college athlete who was more focused on the playing field rather than their studies? Or what about hiring managers who were never athletes and the possible resentment they may have for athletes they have known in their lives… because those memories of being chosen last? That sting can stay with ya for a while. Not that I know anything about that…