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Develop Post-Superintendent Career Options Early On

Jim McLoughlin


It has been fully recognized for some time that the better NFL head coaches possess the organizational skills and leadership qualities to become effective CEOs of Fortune 500 companies -- assuming an appropriate business education has been acquired along the way. No one doubts this.


Along this same line of thinking, I suggest that many of the respected veteran superintendents at the country's better golf course facilities possess similar skills and leadership qualities and, accordingly, qualify for this same recognition.


Accordingly, it is presumed that established golf course superintendents possess the innate skill sets to succeed handsomely within many elements of the small business community -- inside or outside golf -- during their retirement years.


Guidelines For A Second Career

Not every superintendent wants to develop a second career, but some do. In today's world where superintendents are respected less as they grow older -- a second career can be a necessary "safety net" if positioned ready to go early on - as well as a rewarding enterprise at the same time.
Examples of secondary careers: consulting in and outside golf, starting a landscaping business, or a private/commercial property maintenance company are three of the more popular second careers developed by superintendents. About one in four superintendents develop second careers outside golf.

Developing a second career opportunity requires a disciplined due diligence approach. For example:


  1. Superintendents will stand a far better chance of developing and enjoying a second career as an entrepreneur than as an employee at a new job.


  1. Start to research post retirement career opportunities sooner than necessary; then, if a sound second career opportunity presents itself and your present job is not exciting you - consider retiring earlier than anticipated from your superintendent's career.


  1. The key to establishing your own company is being able to match your experience and skill sets to specific needs within society.


Many think a bad economy minimizes second career opportunities. This is not the case because bad economies create more survival needs within society than during good economic times - a rich second career environment.


I rate the opportunity for qualified career successful superintendents to succeed at second career opportunities in a bad economy at 100% provided they commit on a timely basis and prepare properly.


  1. Today's computer age allows new companies to self-design their business image; i.e., a company logo, stationary, envelopes, business cards and web sites, etc. at virtually no expense. However, outside funding can make a difference in certain situations.


  1. There is an obvious challenge to starting a new business while still working as a superintendent. One way around this is to partner with a family member, friend, or outsider with the free time to commit to the start-up project while the superintendent maintains his first career for the time being.


Two partners will often do a better job developing a new business than a solo principal simply because most times two complementary thinking minds will function better than one.


A word of caution, however, because experience shows that quite often it is more difficult to maintain a business relationship with a partner than a traditional marriage. The most frequent fault of business partners is being dishonest.


Final comment: Prepare to set up your post-career enterprise well before it is needed. Done effectively, it will become the "icing" on your career cake and enjoyed accordingly.


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