I hope this letter finds all the right people. If you are performing right now, you are living it to the fullest. Remember this is a great business to be in, but keep your realities in check. We have all heard the term “Lifer.” That is the show skater who has taken this as a career.  It is a big decision, and yet a risky one. You have decide to take the other fork in the road. You’ve decided to continue your skating education and make some money.

The facts are you have to look beyond your show skating career, as the possibilities to advance in management or production are limited after you decide to hang ‘em up.

The goals to keep in mind are: set yourself up financially so you have something to fall back on, and keep connections open if you are going to someday teach.  This is the natural progression for most skaters once they have decided not to get their PhD.

If you are under contract, this is a job that can work for you. Your show income — with which, if you have good credit, you can purchase that house or apartment you have always wanted. That contract shows you are employed, which is important when investing in real estate. If you are on tour, you can rent that place out ’till you are ready to settle a bit and it’s paying itself off.

Think where you would eventually want to be, and keep those connections so you can work at that rink when you are on break or stay in your own house!

Keep it real, and look ahead a bit, and you won’t find yourself in a hard situation when that producer says, “hey, we think you’re a bit too old for this” or the limited opportunities to further your career are not presenting themselves.

I like to call it post-traumatic performers’ syndrome. It takes years adjust to a more normal life, and these things give you a bit of security.

Good luck and keep skating!

Posted by: Richard Swenning  Last modified on: 6/26/2006

School or Skating? Make the Best of Your Career Choice