work in sports

During his speech a few weeks ago, President Trump suggested that NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem. This led to countless debates about the actions of players who kneel or sit during the national anthem.

It also highlights how divided the country is. In fact, according to a poll by CNN, 49 percent of the 1,037 respondents think professional sports leagues should require their players to stand during the anthem, whereas 47 percent disagree.

This issue is important for everyone because you should stay true to your values when you’re looking for work in sports, or any industry, for that matter. Your work environment and culture need to align with your values. Otherwise, you will feel uncomfortable and unsatisfied in your career.

This feeling of displacement isn’t uncommon, though. As the October 2017 Officevibe poll found, 33 percent of employees don’t believe their company’s core values align with their personal values.

You want your employer to be on the same team as you, so when you’re looking to work in sports, establish your values and find the right culture. Let’s take a look at how to identify your values and find your team:

Defining Your Values

No matter where you work in sports, you need to feel like you’re on a team that aligns with who you are.

Your values are what you believe is important in the way you live and work. They determine your priorities and act as measures to live a life that is meaningful.

If you follow a career path that doesn’t align with your personal values, you’re likely to experience a lot of dissatisfaction in life. The best way to define your values is to start by looking back.

Recall times when you were the happiest, most proud, and most fulfilled. Then ask why what you were doing and what factors contributed to feelings of fulfillment.

Then, identify up to 10 terms that describe these instances. For example, if you felt the most fulfilled after training for a half marathon, wellness and determination may be a few of your core values.

Finding Your Team

Once you have identified your values, start researching potential employers you align with. Begin your research on their company website with their values and mission statement.

If it resonates, add the company to your JobsInSports Ideal Employer List to organize your search. Then, read about their culture through employee testimonials on Glassdoor and LinkedIn.

Look for how the employer responds to controversial issues, like the NFL situation. Sometimes, when a controversy arises, organizations release official statements to show where they stand on an issue. Try to find evidence of how they support their employees at times when their values are challenged.

NFL Teams Taking A Stance for Team Values

The way teams respond says a lot about them as a culture and an employer. Even if you’re not looking to work for the NFL, you should know about some of these noteworthy reactions. You can use them as an example to determine how actions — both reactive and proactive — by team leaders show support for individual values:

Pittsburgh Steelers

In Week 3, the entire team, except for one player, stayed in the tunnel during the national anthem. As their coach said, they tried to convey unity and remove themselves from the circumstance.

However, it became the most talked about ‘protest’ that week. Then, the next week they all took a knee before the anthem, then stood up during it.

Seattle Seahawks

Following President Trump’s statement, the president of the Seahawks, Peter McLoughlin, issued his own statement supporting his players’ freedom of speech. The team also created a fund with the goal of building a more compassionate and inclusive society, calling it the Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund.

This shows the organization is actively getting involved in the original issue, which was not kneeling during the anthem — it’s about addressing racial injustices.

Dallas Cowboys

The whole team knelt together, including owner Jerry Jones, on Week 3 shortly before the anthem started. Then, they stood arm-in-arm as the anthem was performed.

As Jones explained, this was meant to show their team is unified in raising awareness about inequality while also respecting the flag and the national anthem.

When you’re looking for work in sports, you want to find an employer that stands, or kneels, along with you.

What core values do you look for in an employer?