This weekend 253 lives changed as the 32 NFL teams selected their 2017 draft picks.
For three days, hundreds of athletes waited waited nervously, hoping that they would get that phone call that would determine their future.
They had already put in all of the work that they could. They played fiercely in college (most of them), they attracted the eye of the scouts and they performed well in the combine. Now, they wait.
Wait to hear their name called on the stage in Philadelphia.
As school winds down and graduation day looms over the heads of many students (including myself), one can’t help but think of graduating and applying to jobs as a draft.
For years, we students have been training for the moment that we graduate and can use our skills in the real world. We sharpen our skills in classes, we put them to the test through internships, and then we send out our applications to the recruiters who hold our futures in their hands.
And then we wait.
And hope that we get picked.
But once that coveted job offer comes in, the work is only just beginning.
Next, comes the task of separating yourself from the pack, proving that you were worth the chance that the recruiters took on you.
253 young men may have gotten drafted over the weekend, but will they all make the coveted 53-man roster come September? Only time will tell.
Many corporate companies have programs that recruit recent graduates. I myself was a lucky recruit of such a program out of undergrad. My company hired over 500 recent graduates that they trained and invested in to become the future of the company.
Or so I thought.
The reality is that companies that hire like this are often looking only for the top talent. They figure the more the hire, the more chances they have to find what they really want. They hire in bulk and gradually trim the fat until they are reduced to only their Grade-A meat.
This is the reality that these young football players now face. They must prove themselves worthy of their rookie contracts, lest they do not make the final roster, or get relegated to the practice squad.
But if they do succeed and prove their worth in their rookie years, then they have the option for a massive payday further down the road.
Just like in the real world these athletes must start from the bottom and work their up.
Athletes do not simply get drafted into the starting lineup. They have to prove that they are ready for it though extensive training camps.
Young graduates do not simply get recruited to upper level positions. They have to prove that they are ready for it by first succeeding in their entry-level positions.
The draft is a day on which many dreams come true for athletes who have worked towards this moment for most of their lives.
Graduation day is that same day for the rest of us not blessed with super speed, strength, or height (thanks mom and dad). It is the day that we get into the real world and have to begin to prove to our employers that we are worth their investment.
Getting to draft day takes hard work and determination, but the real work starts the day after.