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Considerations Before Heading Into The Private Sector

Feb 13, 2020

A select few of us will retire from the same employer that gave us our first opportunity in the field of Strength and Conditioning. Some of those job changes might be involuntary and some of those job changes might be voluntary. Every change always depends on the situation, and every job has its good days and bad. Nothing is ever perfect. The only constant is change.

Consideration I

Don’t forget about YOU

Unfortunately, people will forget about the toil you put in during your time in the team setting. I can honestly say I worked days that were up to 16 hours because of games, pregame duties, and postgame duties. This is not coming from a place of negativity. I loved my team setting roles, especially being with BU Hockey, this was and still is the best job I ever had because of the structure and people I got to be apart of on a consistent basis. Your work as a strength coach can get lost in the shuffle with the wrong support staff. I was fortunate to be apart of a staff who appreciated me. The team setting is popular, it’s prestigious.

If or when you leave, and if you enter the private sector you will make more money, and you will have more freedom, but the music stops. The camaraderie feeling that you once had isn’t the same, your nights become a bit quiet, and your mornings are a bit slower. Life is good, but the edge isn’t as sharp. People forget about you because they forget about you. I have relatives now who barely ask me about my job because I am not working with an elite team, and nowadays if something isn’t on social media then it didn’t happen. I still train several professional athletes, I am a better coach now than when I was in the team setting, and financially I can order a coke at dinner instead of a tap water. People will forget about you because you lose a piece of your identity. Don’t let you forget about you. Continue to read more, work harder, and find ways to innovate. Reinvent yourself, the private sector gives you that opportunity.

Consideration II

Be careful with early demands – trust and rewards are earned

I mentioned the word prestigious before. Just because you are integrating into the private sector coming from a prestigious team or university does not mean you have it all figured out when it comes to training. What are you committing to? Are you just training athletes or is there an adult population in the mix? Can you modify well when it comes to exercises? Be ready to also work a different schedule, you are not with a team anymore, so your summer vacation is over unless you work with Football. I used to train our BU Hockey Team early in the morning and then fill my day with personal training. Not everyone has that luxury and neither does the private setting. Summer time is a money maker. It’s all hands-on deck from June 1st though August 30th.

Finally, your merit depends on your performance. Everything is tied to financials. If people like you, they will keep coming back and money will continue to flow, if they don’t you will eventually be looking for another job or you wont last long. 90% of this job is personality. Be a nice person. Earn trust, earn your livelihood. Like Proximo says in Gladiator “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.”

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Consideration III

Set health boundaries early on

This one is simple. Be bold. Be precise in your speech. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Most importantly, work hard and be nice to people.

Consideration IV

Choose your work battles wisely

In the team setting there is usually a smaller staff present than the private sector. The private sector contains more than your typical strength and conditioning staff. More people, more problems. Don’t get caught up in any gossip or drama. Stay put, focus on retaining and building your clientele or the company’s clientele. Think twice, act once.

Consideration V

The grass is greener where you water it. Be present.

Frosty Westering wrote a book called “Make the big time where you are at.” I always thought that being associated with a Team was my calling. Maybe it still is. I always wanted a few National Championships. I missed one as a player in College, and I witnessed a heart-breaking loss on the football field as a GA against Virginia Tech. I've seen a group of 27 young men play the season of their lives only to come up short in the National Championship game in April of 2015. I loved my athletes. I cared about them more than I cared about a lot of things. Some say “passion.” Passion is a diluted word, so it isn’t motivation. They are “watered down.” The grass is not greener in the team setting or in the private. The grass is greener where you water it.

I work at a facility now that has 106 Adult Clients, 72 High School Athletes, and 25 plus Youth Athletes. I train a High School Hockey Team with multiple Division 1 commitments and working with their Head Coach is a pleasure everyday because he is a fantastic man who is extremely good at what he does. I get to train my wife and sister-in-law. I get to see my son every day. My weekends are free. The list can go on. The grass is very green where I am but there is always that other side of me where I want to be in the bowels of Agganis Arena again working the boys out on 925 Commonwealth at 6:30 a.m. Maybe that day will come again, or maybe I am just fine where I am. I have made the “big time” where I am at. That is a day to day process, it requires reading, writing, and progressing as a professional every which way I possibly can to be the best in the present moment.

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