My Career Change: Jedidiah Collins’ Transition To Life After Football

When a professional athlete’s playing days are over, many do not realize that said athlete’s career in another field is often just the beginning. As part of VIKTRE’s dedication to not only drive interaction between athletes and their fans, but also provide other athletes with inspiration on their own career transition, our Career team made it a priority to show how successful many athletes have been since their playing days ended in a feature called “My Career Change.”

In this installment of “My Career Change,” we interviewed former NFL fullback Jedidiah Collins.

Collins realized during his playing career that football was not going to last forever and knew he needed to figure out what his next step would be. After seeing the writing on the wall with many players’ careers ending early, he decided to do some career planning. As you will read in the interview, he found a career mentor (who ended up being a colleague) and decided to pursue a career in financial management. He’s experienced feeling lost during a career change and offers up advice for athletes thinking about what is next.

What sport did you play?

Football

What teams did you play for?

Washington State University

Ended with a baker’s dozen NFL teams, but primarily the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions

What industry did you change careers to?

Financial Planning

How did you get into your new career?

During my time in the NFL the reports came out that most professional athletes are not realizing the dream we grew up chasing. A series of hurdles, both self-inflicted and systematic, prevent them from leaving the game with something to show for it. Through a conversation with a fellow Washington State University football alum and partner at Brighton Jones (current employer), I realized how uneducated and unprepared I was for these decisions. Brett challenged me to “take as much from the game as you can, because it will take the same from you.” I began studying for the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) exam during the off-season and passed it shortly after I walked away from the game.

It is not necessarily the athletes fault for being unprepared to make life-altering decisions at 25, but it is their (the athlete’s) responsibility to seek out honest and objective advice.

What was the biggest challenge you faced making your transition?

Two challenges:

  1. Humility – No longer will you be applauded for your efforts or achievement at work. In fact, you will be entering a new field with the least amount of experience, starting at the bottom of the totem pole.
  2. Routine – I missed the purpose in the daily grind. Knowing each day what I was doing and what it was driving to, gave a sense of purpose. Without the routine, I began to feel lost.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far in your new career?

My passions along with the lessons from the game have led me into financial literacy. Empowering youth, young professionals and professional athletes to understand how to make money work for them. Over the past year I have presented to high school and college students, as well as professional athletes, a curriculum to personal finance.

There are key lessons to be learned to go from rookie survival to veteran success and we also discuss some of these principals as well.

What advice do you have for athletes making their career change?

There is a moment in every athlete’s game – getting the ball at the top of the key, hearing the whistle blow before you take off, or seeing the ball flying in your direction – in this moment the athlete feels a sense of confidence. You believe you can do it. An emotion born out of focused work, resilience and discipline.

Enter your next career with these three attributes and you will experience this emotion and find these moments again.

How can other athletes learn more about your business or your career change?

@JedCollins45, LinkedIn or email Jedidiah.Collins@BrightonJones.com.

 

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