Sidelines: Retirement


This is the last time I will ever write Sidelines. Retirement is a scary prospect, but fortunately the International Olympic Committee is here to help.
The IOC’s Athlete Career Program “supports you while you prepare for and go through your career transition,” and is based on the three pillars of “education, employment and life skills.”

Of course, I’m not an athlete, but I’ve spent several years writing about athletes, which is mostly the same thing, right?

The first pillar is education. I think I’ve got that one under control, or at least I hope so since I’m supposed to be graduating in two weeks. We’ll skip that one.
The second pillar is employment. Now here’s something I can get behind. The IOC document suggests searching the internet for a “career and interest test” for ideas about career paths.

The first result took me to a CareerWise Career Cluster Interest Survey, which suggested I should go into teaching, hospitality or human services.
Architecture and Natural Resources, clusters which include such careers as “scientist,” or “engineer,” were at the very bottom of my list.
Shoot. Turns out I might need to go back to that education thing.
Maybe I’ll find something more encouraging in pillar three: life skills.
The first section is about talking to the media. I am the media. I already spend enough time talking to myself.

The next section here is about speaking to other people and telling stories. Telling stories is like 90 percent of what I do, so I’ve got that covered too.
Finally we get into problem-solving. The IOC suggests the “5 Whys” strategy, where you begin at the end result and go backward asking why five times to get to the root problem. Let’s try it!

Why am I reading this retirement advice for Olympic Athletes? Because I feel lost and scared about the transition.

Why do I feel lost and scared about the transition? Because I have no idea what to do after December 16.

Why do you have no idea what to do after December sixteenth? Because I love the job I have now.

Why do I love my job? Because of all you wonderful readers.

Why are the readers wonderful? Because in this big beautiful world full of all kinds of fascinating things to do they take time out of their day to read my nonsense.

So thank you to the IOC and everyone else. It’s been a great four years.