Friday, October 13, 2006

Passion vs. Profession – change is in the wind

I had my 10-year high school reunion about a week ago and it was a wonderful time. I didn’t “rekindle” any old flames as Erin’s friend asked me (but did I really have any to rekindle?) but I did see some old friends who I have missed in the last few years. I hope some of them I am able to see again in the near future.

The most important part of the night to me though was a conversation I had with Adam Eaton who graduated with me and has now gone on to be a Major League Pitcher. Our conversation was mostly just fun chitchat. We laughed and made fun of what we have been doing the last 10 years – him and his stupid injuries, me and my life of “book learnin’” – and talked about what is to come with us. His plan is to spend the off season at his cabin in Eastern Washington doing some fly fishing with a still very close friend, Chris and I think just enjoying the non rigorous life of the off season baseball player. He is a free agent this winter so he will have some wheeling and dealing to do.

The conversation with Adam probably had far more significance to me than it did to him. It actually has changed a very important part of my future thinking. It made me look at my job and ask myself if what I am doing is really what I want to be doing for the “rest of my life”. Don’t get me wrong – I really like my job. It is a good income, I have great coworkers (most of them), the location cannot be beat and I am using my education in a big way. I really like it. But I have come to the conclusion in the past week that I am NOT passionate about it.

This thinking started actually about three weeks ago when my pastor gave a sermon about divorce. It made me ask myself if what I am doing is something that God will shake his finger at me about when I get to heaven. My practice turns more and more into a divorce practice everyday as I get to the point where I have to take the clients that walk in the door in order to build my practice. It is a somewhat rewarding part of my job to be there for people who are going through a difficult time in their life because someone does need to be there for those people. Most of them will be getting a divorce no matter whether I am their attorney or not but the reality is that the Bible says God HATES divorce. So what the heck am I doing being a conduit for it?

God didn’t give me a passion for something he hates and I have clearly figured that out in the past few weeks. God did give me a passion for professional sports – namely baseball. I live and breathe it – I read about it, I watch it, I listen to it, I dream about it. So what am I doing filing responses to requests to lift a mechanics lien? Why am I spending my days doing something I drag myself out of bed for every morning? For a paycheck? Really? That’s what my professional life is about? Doing what I have to do to get paid? There is something noble about that I suppose, but the reality is can’t I do what I love and get paid for it as well?

So of course with the way I work I have started to do research to figure out what steps I need to plan and take in the next few years to get myself where I want to be. I have had to think about all of the travel and the busyness that would be involved. I have asked myself to what level I want this to take my career. Everything I have read says that sports management is all about who you know. So am at a bit of a crossroads. I have two options in my mind:

1) Go into team management which is something I have long considered or,
2) Become an agent.

I have done research into team management and I firmly believe the next step is to get some additional education. Namely I will need a Masters in Sports Management or a joint degree - MSM with an MBA. There is a program in Minneapolis which is appealing and actually one in Seattle where I could stay in my current job and attend school in the evenings and/or weekends.

If I go the other route it becomes a game of getting in front of the right people and making the right connections. This is much less of a commitment obviously than enrolling in school. I suppose a letter to Adam asking for more information about his agent and a little help to see if I could meet him and see what he would have to say might be in order. This is a little scary – calling in a favor from someone who doesn’t owe me one, at all.

So anyway, change is coming. I can feel it. I am being pushed to it on all sides. I figure if it is God blessed the right doors will open and the right pathways will become apparent but it is a matter of persistence and patience. I hope to someday soon be living my professional life with the passion I live my personal life because why not? As Pastor Dudely spoke about last week – our work can and should be a place to witness. Why can’t living my professional life with passion be my witness?

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