Until recently, many of us have been unfamiliar with the term furlough. For those still unfamiliar, this is a temporary, unpaid layoff that companies use due to financial hardship, with the caveat that you will still have access to health and 401k benefits for a specified time.
For anyone, like myself, that has been furloughed and/or is currently unemployed it can be a scary time. You've probably asked yourself one of these questions: Did I do something wrong? Will they bring me back before the furlough period ends? What will sports opportunities look like moving forward? What can I do to make money now? Do I want to work in sports moving forward? Will employers look down on a gap in my resume?
If you have found yourself in this situation recently or if this has been a topic of conversation during your Zoom Happy Hours or Microsoft Teams get-togethers, here are some things to consider.
Working in sports can be a grind and going through a furlough is an emotional roller-coaster. Take it from me, I worked for the XFL 2.0 startup byway of Elevate Sports Ventures. From the day I was hired, it was a 6-month sprint to opening day, building everything from the ground up, it was exhausting but some of the most fun I've had in sports. Once we realized what was going on with XFL, we saw the writing on the wall with Elevate. Take some time for yourself. Feel the feels, process what happened, support your team, and give yourself a chance to rehabilitate. Ever want to break a bad habit or try something new? Now is the time to give it a shot and fulfill all those promises you made when you said: "if I had more time".
"Come up with a game plan and hold yourself accountable to it."
Be honest and ask yourself a series of questions, when thinking about your next move; What do you want out of your next opportunity in sports? Where can you get better? Who can you network with that right now does the job you want? Is your next opportunity out there today? Can you afford to wait if it isn't? Be thinking about what you can do right now that is productive, so you ensure you come out of this stronger and better both personally and professionally. This is the perfect time to have a conversation with yourself, sharpen your skills, and network for that next opportunity.
Come up with a game plan and hold yourself accountable to it. Early on, I've found that I work best when I have a clean workstation, write things down, and utilize my calendar (just like if I had a job right now). Every morning I come ready with a list of personal and professional things I want to get done. From networking to webinars and down to grocery shopping and working out, everything gets added to my calendar and my to-do list. Some days are better than others, but this has been one way I have stayed on task and avoided hitting the snooze button in the morning.
Whether you have been furloughed or are worried about getting furloughed, know that you are not alone and things WILL get better. What are you doing to take steps forward? What are you doing to dig the well? How are you ensuring you are ready for the next opportunity?
If I can ever be a resource for you and your career, don't hesitate to reach out and connect. Thanks for reading – wherever life takes you, be a lifelong learner.
Ed Kaczynski is the former Director of Ticket Sales and Experience with the XFL St. Louis BattleHawks byway of Elevate Sports Ventures. In addition to the XFL, his nearly 10-year career has spanned sales, management, and consulting in Major League Soccer, Vivid Seats, and GLG Consulting. Over the years, Ed’s love of the sports entertainment industry has morphed into enthusiasm for relationships, community, and innovation. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago with both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, Ed now resides in St. Louis. You can connect with Ed by visiting his LinkedIn profile here.