|Tell me, young chemist, do you have a plan B?|
He was blunt about their chances – “the odds of anyone in this room making it to WrestleMania are slim,” noting that there are about 1,500 players in the NFL while only 200-250 (a number that seems high to me) on the WWE roster. “Numerically,” he said, “you have a better chance making it on any NFL team than on the WWE roster.” But, he said, “notice I didn’t say there was no chance. The question you have to answer is ‘How do I maximize my slim chance?’”
...And he repeatedly encouraged aspirants to “have a Plan B. You need an education or a skill – an electrician or a plumber. Having a Plan B is essential. You need to ask yourself ‘What do I do to maintain a good quality of life in a changing economy?’” He noted how many times he had had his heart broken when the time had come for a wrestler to leave the business. He said “now that they can’t do it anymore they have a feeling of hopelessness. They say to me ‘This is all I know.’ I swear to God I have heard that a thousand times.”I
As much as I might hate to admit it, "What do I do to maintain a good quality of life in a changing economy?" is a question that both aspiring and current chemists should really ponder for themselves. While I would like to think that "being excellent at your job as a chemist" is enough, it doesn't always seem to be.
Best wishes to all of us.
*I should note that professional wrestling's career ladder (especially the minor league circuit) is famously much more brutal and prone to abuse than the worst of chemistry.
UPDATE: Well, this is embarrassing. I meant to say, "I think that it's harder to get into [pro sports] than it is to become an industrial chemist." From a numerical perspective, anyway, there are more jobs in chemistry (I hope) than there are slots for rookies in the NFL or WWE. Sorry, sorry.