Tom Brady, the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, announced yesterday that he was retiring, “for good.”
Oh, sure, there were a thousand headlines about it and unlike last year at this time, it appears Tom actually won’t be playing in the National Football League any more.
But he’s not retiring. Is he going to sit around all day playing with his kids, rocking on the porch, fishing, or having parties at one of his five houses?
No. We already know he has a 10-year, $375 million job as an on-air analyst on Fox Sports. That sounds like a job to me.
He founded and helps run his health and fitness franchise, TB12.
And he’s an entrepreneur in multiple crypto businesses, at least some of which are still functioning.
That doesn’t sound like retirement to me.
You may not be Tom Brady, but surely you can learn from his experiences
At some point, your body or your mind won’t allow you to keep doing what you’re doing. Just like Tom. He may have been the NFL’s oldest active player when he hung up his cleats, but even he had to stop putting his body on the line every game.
If you’re well into your career, you may be feeling pretty good right now. Maybe you’re a copywriter with your eye on creative director, or an entrepreneur hoping to run a huge company some day, or a full-stack coder who can make software do almost anything.
Stop for a minute, though. Because you aren’t going to be able to do what you’re doing forever. If Tom Brady can’t go on forever, you certainly can’t.
If you got laid off tomorrow, would you be stuck looking at the same kind of job you were doing — the same job another hundred thousand people just got let go from? If technology replaced your job, or companies started sending jobs like yours overseas, what would you do?
What other skills do you have?
If you’re an individual contributor, have you tried running projects? What could you learn?
If you’re a writer, have you tried analyzing markets? What capabilities does that require, and how could you get them?
If you’re a carpenter, have you designed living spaces? Have you mastered the tools you need to do that, the way you mastered saws and nail guns?
It’s fine to go deep. But go a little broad. Try out some new things. Challenge yourself. Fail and learn.
Tom Brady didn’t retire at age 46, he just switched jobs. You’re not as rich as Tom — you’re not going to sit back and relax and do nothing at 36, or 46, or 56. And if you enjoy what you switch to, maybe even not at 66 or 76.
So what are going to do when you can no longer do what you’re doing?