Coffee is for closers. Sleep when you’re dead. The idioms about getting the job done at all cost done go on. That said, a hard worker can easily become a stressed worker. A stressed worker can easily become a bitter worker. Can a bitter worker get the job done? Sure, but an athletics career is a lifestyle, and I doubt many want to live a bitter lifestyle on purpose. As young professionals we may be advised to earn our coffee, but I have found it very necessary to pull the plug and prioritize life over work and vice-versa early and often. I don’t have an explicit answer on what people need to do to achieve work life balance, but I don’t think many see the line of separation in the first place.
That said, imagine being a child and finding out that you are moving across the country because one of your parents got a new job. Should you be aware of everything going on around you? I would definitely say so. Should you look into the situation for the ability to learn from it? Indeed. Should you be prepared to ebb and flow with the reality of the action? Absolutely. The one thing missing here is control. At the entry level in our career, we lack control of what happens to our departments in some senses. During my time attending Georgia State, we were in two conferences, had two Athletic Directors, and I personally had two different Sr. Associate AD’s that I worked under. In these situations, I didn’t bemoan or glorify the circumstances, rather I just lived and adapted.
Change is like the weather, you predict and prepare within your range of ability. As we grow in experience and resources we will have different ways of preparing, but as a kid when a really bad storm was coming, preparing didn’t mean battening down the hatches, it meant hiding under a bed or jumping in the tub. When it comes to work-life balance we should treat our jobs like the weather and view ourselves for the stages that we are within. At an entry level I cannot necessarily affect big decisions, but I can ensure that my space is secured. In keeping a perspective on scope of concern we are able to separate ourselves from thinking about the constant changes in the climate around us.
I spend my days constantly researching the scope of the industry, things that are happening at my department, planning for both of my jobs, attempting to tackle the work of graduate school, and I consider this my professional life. My professional life is like the weather of my world as a young professional and I’d consider the personal life my home. When I balance my time, I actively unplug from the elements. Sometimes it gets so hot that turning on the air conditioning doesn’t shield us from the heat, but I don’t leave the house. If we don’t find a way to keep the weather outside, then it is like taking the roof off of a house and just letting the environment affect every part of our world.
Erick Taylor is an aspiring college sports professional and MPSA candidate attending Texas A&M University. Originally from the Greater Atlanta area, Erick received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University, where he also served as a development intern for the Panther athletic department. A young, relatively inexperienced prospect in this industry, Erick is in search of the tools and skills required for success. By sharing his journey, he hopes to help others achieve their professional goals as well.