Hire Ethics was created to support underrepresented college students. The majority of these students were completing their education but lacked the skills to obtain employment. Hire Ethics became that bridge between education and employment. After a few years in business, they realized that other populations were also lacking these same career management skills, particularly athletes. In 2016, a new division of Hire Ethics will be launched, “Hire Ethics Pro” dedicated to career, education & employment services for elite & professional athletes. Gregg Simmons is the Executive Director of Hire Ethics and agreed to talk to PPD Mag.
Dr. Mark: Is it difficult to prepare athletes for a career outside of athletics?
Mr. Simmons: I don’t believe it is difficult. I believe it becomes difficult when information is not available, when the discussion happens toward the end of their athletic career, and when there is a lack of support from their immediate circle.
Dr. Mark: Why is the transition to the career world difficult for athletes?
Mr. Simmons: Transition / change is difficult for most people, it becomes increasingly difficult for athletes because no one wants to talk about or plan for the inevitable, retiring or leaving their sport.
Dr. Mark: Can you tell us your thoughts on campus speakers who are former athletes?
Mr. Simmons: Athletes, like most people, like hearing from their own, so athletes are most receptive to listen to what former athletes have to say. The benefits occur when the message or the story is so unique or special that the athlete gain empathy or not a sense of “I can do that too.” The bigger issue is when a former athlete provides a good message but fails to provide or articulate a way for current athletes to be successful too (If that is the message from a former athlete). There should be next steps or “how to” incorporated within any presentation to benefit or help the athlete.
Dr. Mark: Why is personal development important to the athlete?
Mr. Simmons: The main reason is in the title of the question “Personal.” It has to be personal and athletes have to own it and be actively involved with their growth & development. The same effort and time they put into being the best athletes has to go into their personal development. Transition is inevitable, so preparing, training and getting ready for life after sports is important.
Dr. Mark: Do you believe people currently working with athletes have been properly trained to help athletes in the area of personal growth?
Mr. Simmons: I believe the majority of these people have not been trained properly. It’s widely believed that being a former athlete is the main criteria to work with or speak to other athletes, this should not be the case. A perfect example is when sport teams hire an All-World athlete as a head coach mainly due to their athletic success and they turn out to be an awful coach. Being a former athlete or an athletic administrator is a great hire if they have been properly trained.
Dr. Mark: How does the family effect the personal development of the athlete?
Mr. Simmons: Family and individuals in their immediate circle influence, shapes and effects the athlete’s decisions, reality, direction and growth. When an elite athlete transitions from sport so does everyone else in their family and immediate circle.