As many of us know yesterday could have easily been referred to as "Black Wednesday" for ESPN and the whole sports media world. Keeping a close eye on Twitter the last couple days has taken up a lot of time for me! Of course there have been college recruiting stories, MLB updates, and the coverage of the NFL Draft, but seeing all of the names ESPN let go was definitely the big story. I'm not a sports journalist, I don't claim to be, and don't really want to be, so other than knowing Dallas Braden won't be popping up on Sunday Night Baseball anymore *sigh*, the only tie I have to these lay offs are as a sports fan and someone going into (a different part) of the sports world. I saw a lot of sports reporters stating that they went into sports journalism because they loved reporting, journalism, and sports. Not because they thought it was an easy path, great pay, or job security. Hmm let my thoughts begin..
By some coincidence a friend shared an article on Facebook about the 10 best and 10 worst Master's degrees of today. Guess what was #2.. on the 10 worst list.. Sports Management. It was a little surprising, but I kind of expected it to be on the list somewhere to be honest. When I kept reading I saw the three key points.
1. Early-career pay: $43,900
2. Mid-career pay: $67,200
3. Projected job growth: 7%
Okay, so not exactly things that should make everyone run to get their sport management degree, both Bachelor's and Master's.. but that's where the post title comes in, For the Love of the Career.. or for the Money? - And with these quick numbers let my thoughts continue.
So if I'm not going into sports journalism, why does my first point matter? The combination of these two things made me realize a few things.
1. Even with the sports industry thriving and bringing in lots of money, people working for one of the largest sports related companies in the world are being laid off.
2. Knowing this, those let go were, publicly, gracious to the company and their time spent with them (via tweets), and those not affected by the lay offs were stating that they are in sports journalism because it's their passion.
3. I've known the salaries can be low for sports industry professionals, but I feel the same way as these sports journalists who are going to continue because it's their passion and are thankful for what they have learned from their experiences.
4. I need to control my shopping habit because $43,000 a year won't support that lifestyle ;P
I've decided to follow my passion, knowing that the starting salaries might not be as high as other industries, that it's going to take a lot of work to get to the top, and that even though the sports industry is bringing in crazy amounts of money it is a competitive industry and jobs aren't guaranteed (similar to the ESPN situation). I love the sports world and even after seeing such a devastating blow to ESPN's employees and average salaries I, like all of the journalists mentioned earlier, will continue with my education and career in the sports industry because it's what I love.
No matter if you choose the money, the passion, or the job security I wish you all the best! And who knows, maybe one day we'll all realize we can achieve all three of these things!All jokes aside, the question that we all need to ask ourselves is this. What is most important to us, money or following your passion? Now those lucky ones who are passionate about engineering get the best of both worlds, but that's not how it works for everyone unfortunately.. If you've visited my Learn More page, then you might have seen my reference to the "Find something you love to do and you'll never work a day in your life" quote. Now don't get me wrong, money is nice and I have been called high maintenance a time or two in my life.. but when I think about my career I would much rather enjoy it than be miserable just to bring home a big check. So if you're reading this and you're thinking about going into the sports industry, ask yourself the question of what is important to you? While you're at it, make sure you consider the long, unconventional hours and how busy you're schedule might be. To me, those things are exciting and do not outweigh the environment and atmosphere of working in athletics I enjoy so much! - No matter what industry you're about to enter, or are in, the question of what is important to you applies though!
P.S. If y'all are still thinking I'm crazy for taking the time and money to earn a Master's degree remember that I'm gaining experience through my athletic graduate assistantship and that if I continue in collegiate athletics a master's degree and GA experience are the best ways to get your foot in the door. I have my reasons, I'm not completely crazy ;)