My resume outside of sport wouldn’t prepare me much for the real world (In-N-Out burger was my last corporate job back in high school).  And after seven+ years of running professionally, there are a lot of specific business skills I’ve missed out on.  If I were to try to get a job right now, (thanks to Nike, I don’t,) I’d probably have to start out sticking nutrition labels on energy bars or something.

Oh wait, that’s exactly what I spent my afternoon doing for Picky Bars.

Pull off a label, stick it on a bar, turn it over, stick another label on.  Line it up just right.  Make it look good.  The outside should reflect whats on the inside.  The first impression is in my hands.

I joke a bit.  I am sticking labels on bars, after creating and bagging them, but since they are my bars, its much more than just a manual task.  I’ve always enjoyed repetitive tasks that take minimal skill: knit and purl, clean under the fingernails, etc.  Basically I’m happy if I can hold a conversation while working with my hands for at least an hour a day. But when I’m done with that, I get to work with Jesse designing our logo, and with Steph on streamlining the production process.  We get to talk about strategies for development, and meeting customer demand.  I get to train new employees so that as the season gets going, I can do less stickering and more stretching.

But the most valuable skills I’ve acquired have been those I’ve been forced to learn against my will.  Excel spreadsheets and gmail filters (I know, I was pathetic) and analytics and all sorts of other crap.  We don’t have the luxury of staying in our job-skill comfort zones because its all up to us.

I have to laugh thinking about how my pro-running simultaneously stunts me and prepares me for the “real world.”  On the one hand, the more years an athlete competes professionally, the more hazy their education becomes and the more awkward the job interview process will be.  But on the other hand, we’ve been in this unique position to experience sports business from the inside, being exposed to literally hundreds of different roles and having the opportunity to see how it all connects.  Depending on how tuned in you are, this can be a huge asset.

I don’t know what place I will find in the working world when my running career settles down in 3-6 more years, but at least our little business will put something on my resume above In-N-Out Burger.

I’m curious, would you hire an ex-pro athlete if you were making the decision for your company?  If not, what would be your reservations specifically?  If so, what would be the appeal?  Do share, peeps.