Workforce & Workplace
What Tim Tebow Can Teach Us About Second Careers
Steve Cox
Steve Cox
VP, Public Relations
Sodexo North America

Yesterday the New York Mets announced that they signed Tim Tebow to a minor league baseball contract. It marks a second career for Tebow and it’s just another surprising turn in his unusual sporting history. His story of success, struggles and resilience is one we can learn from in our own careers.

Tebow was a superstar football player in college, winning a Heisman trophy, and two national championships. He was expected to be a superstar in the NFL, too. But, once he got there, he struggled. Tebow spent brief stints with four different NFL teams, but never had much success—or much playing time—with any of them.

After such a bright start, Tebow’s fizzle would have sent many people home to lick their wounds. But instead of giving up on his sports dreams, Tebow only adjusted his a little. For Tebow that meant a new career in baseball, which he said he had loved since he was a kid.

While Tebow’s second career may or may not be a huge success, his willingness to bounce back can teach us an important lesson – setbacks at work don’t have to mean failure if we’re open to learning something new.

Many of us choose a career path when we’re young and pursue it doggedly for years—even when circumstances change, or we don’t find the success we want, or we’re not as happy as we hoped we’d be. If, like Tebow, you chose your path in college, there’s a lot than can change throughout your career. As you get older your interests or your industry might evolve quite a bit.

A whopping 50 percent of workers want to change careers, according to the Huffington Post. This problem becomes more pronounced as people get older. A recent study shows that 80 percent of people over the age of 45 consider changing careers, but only 6 percent actually do.

Why are so many of us so hesitant to actually do it? One reason is that it would open us up to risk. Take Tebow, for example. The media has been snidely skeptical about his career change. After all, the last high-profile, other-sport athlete to try his hand at baseball, NBA great Michael Jordan, spent an unremarkable season with a minor league team before returning to basketball.

But Tebow is ignoring all of that in favor of taking a chance on a new dream. He might fail. He might succeed. But he’s not giving up. Instead, he’s pursuing a new passion and seeing where it leads.


Have you started a second career? Why did you do it and what did you learn? Share your experience in the comments.


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2 comments on “What Tim Tebow Can Teach Us About Second Careers

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    I think most of us (at least I) go thru different points in our lives where the opportunity present itself, to choose a different career path. I had several of those points (by choice and ….. default) When I was a kid, the only thing I wanted to do was to “build a car.” I had no idea what that meant but I knew that was I wanted to do. I moved to the States when I was almost 16, graduated from high school, and of course went to college majoring in mechanical engineering…what else… After my third year, I had a great internship opportunity at Toyota research center in Ann Arbor, MI. That was THE internship I wanted. Skipping to the end of the internship, I decided to not to pursue career in automotive industry. But I learned at I was really good with people. I was the president of ASME at my school, got a corporate sponsorship for $1500 (wow….), so I decided to go into sales or marketing. I did not want to waste 5 years of school, so I figured I would get a job with a big company so I can move around and get into those areas. I was promised a sales engineer position with a major machine part manufacturer but the offer letter was for a manufacturing rotation program. Not what I was looking for.

    First job out of college, Kimberly-Clark, it was a great company to work for. But I just did not know any better. Graduated with Summa Cum Laude and having served the president of ASME, and this and that, I thought I was the $%^&. I was actually, but not in a good sense. When I left my first job, it was my first decision point to change my career: going from a corporate engineer to a field construction superintendent. The construction was booming, still in early 2000’s so I decided to give it a try. I started as an assistant superintendent in muti-family residential. Then I moved onto commercial general contractor. It was a small company so I had to do everything. It was a great opportunity for me. I learned so much during those two years.

    Fast forward to present time, I am working as the Regional Director of Facilities for a Fortune 50 company. I went thru several positions to get to where I am. Every position I took, I used it as a learning opportunity (project managers in healthcare and banking, deputy director with permitting office at a large city) Most people don’t understand my career path but I think I really took my strength to bring more to the table and to learn more. Some people have the puzzled look on their face during the interviews. But at the end of the day, I got the job and I got the job done. That is what I try to share with others.

  • Avatar
    Brandon Campbell says:

    We can learn a lot from Tim Tebow: sportsmanship, character, determination, focus, etc. Just because he isn’t the best NFL Quarterback doesn’t mean he can’t succeed elsewhere. Wish him the best of luck in his new career.


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