All genres of entertainment feature incredibly talented individuals, who’ve spent countless hours training and rehearsing to get the job that launches their career. Their initiative and drive to continually make the impossible look effortless is one of the reasons why we watch these people on television or the big stage to begin with, but when the magic begins to wane, and their armor of consistent success rusts and cracks, a moment arrives when they must get out of their comfort zone and see what lies beyond the velvet rope. Almost every entertainer or professional athlete will face job transitions as they work through their individual careers, and at some point, many will face a career shift outside entertainment altogether.
The average participation age range for major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), falls in the mid to late 20’s, per data from The Elias Sports Bureau. However, due to advances in medicine, nutrition, and how athletes take care of their bodies, the ability to participate at high levels at older ages seems to be increasing in all sports. Regardless of their age, the participation clock in athletics ticks faster than most other professions, and sooner rather than later, the game will finally end for everyone.
The same is true for the performing arts world. While the industry provides different age ranges, on average most people in the industry fall in the mid-to-late 30’s for actors and into the 40’s and 50’s for writers, directors, and other off-camera staff. Still, as in sports, the lights go down on many in the space much faster than hoped.
Unsurprisingly, entertainment ranks among the most competitive career paths on the planet, and the number of willing applications vastly outweighs the extremely limited number of jobs. For athletes, the turnover rate runs high due to injuries, younger or more talented prospects, and diminishing skills over time. And similarly, performers experience inconsistency of successful projects, endless competition for jobs causing oversaturation, and high failure rates that can lead to moving into more traditionally stable professions. The realities surrounding age, working lifespan, and competition in these careers paint a clear picture that athletes and performers need to expect, prepare for, and embrace change.
Entertainment careers grow from hours of hard work and a limitless passion for staying ahead of the industry. This same mentality that drives someone toward success in entertainment will also help them be successful as they transition out of it. Specifically, a successful career transition comes from the ability to apply good habits toward whatever path or challenge lies ahead of you. The work ethic, attitude, and energy that helped create a person’s first dream career will help them usher in and realize the next one. Career transitions should be regarded more as transformations or evolutions, providing a unique way for entertainers to reapply the intense effort that made them successful in the first place.