I am not sure I have read a more thoughtful piece on the post-professional sports life than this one by LaMar Campbell.
I suspect the experience is similiar for anyone who has had alot of success early in their life, whatever the career is. They followed a passion so intensely for so long, were so focused around it, and then something happened.
Whether that something is that their field changed, their skills softened, or they lost the passion for what they were doing, the result is the same: A Loss of Meaning, of Belonging.
Is it that they were idolizing their occupation? Not necessarily. I think some people have a drive, an ambition, that others don’t. Just because they get alot of satisfaction from what they are pursuing doesn’t mean it’s coming at the expense of providing for their family or for their future.
It just means that when it’s over, and they then look around, it can be hard to figure out what will provide that same purpose, that same meaning.
What now? What is my passion now that that career is over with, whether I wanted it to be over with or not?
I don’t have any answers here, I just know that for myself my own goals and meaning with respect to work have shifted through the years, and not always easily.
Not having financial concerns definitely makes for a smoother transition.
I definitely advocate not making any big decisions without first have a solid plan on how, financially, it will happen.
It is hard enough to shift into a new industry, a new life phase, why make it worse by not having your financial house in order via a financial plan?
(Full Disclosure: I am a Fee-Only Financial Planner. Here’s my website.)