Turning passions into paychecks

Oscar Chicas

For those of you, and there are many, who are not only touting undecided majors but uncertain career paths, the answer for your many questions may be simply found in what you love.Sports? Movies? Animals? Fish? These are hobbies really, but what you might be encouraged to know is that your future career could, and perhaps even should have something to do with what you love.The Villanovan sat down with Dr. Ray Heitzmann of the Department of Education and Human Services to talk about turning passions into paying jobs.Heitzmann also works as a career education specialist where part of his life is dedicated to encouraging educators at secondary levels and above to include career education into their curriculums. Another part of that life has produced several books by Heitzmann concerning two of his hobbies or passions and how to carve out a career from them.For many of us sports are a deep passion but we aren’t nearly talented enough in our favorite sport to make it professionally. However, that shouldn’t discourage us from having a career revolve around our passion for sports.”Careers in sports I like to divide into two categories: science based and humanities based,” said Heitzmann.Science based careers include, but are not limited to: athletic training, massage therapy, sports psychology and sports medicine. Humanities based careers include sports journalists, broadcasters,and even historians.The key is keeping your focus. If you truly love something, in this case sports, having a goal in mind will help pull you through those long days of classes. Heitzmann noted also that there exist technical schools that can give you the skill set needed for a particular career such as broadcasting – for before, during and after production of a television show or newspaper based on sports.”What I’ve also found, at least in the sports field,” said Heitzmann, “Is that the people in it love their job immensely. It’s not a 40-hour week for them. It’s much more than that and they are happy.”Heitzmann cited Ray Kelly as an example. Kelly is a third year law student here at Villanova. He interned this summer for a minor-league baseball team in Atlantic City. For Kelly, who worked in the business office for the team, game day meant going home no earlier than 11 p.m.A job like Kelly’s might seem stressful, and really it is, but no more than any other job. The difference is, if you love sports, you really won’t mind working such long days.Heitzmann noted, “Coaches, for example, can get on a high while they’re working, and so even after they have left the game for a while they are tempted and often submit to the urge to return to their jobs.”In another seemingly esoteric field such as marine and maritime careers, in other words nature or fish, for those of us who can’t stomach a general biology class but love the fishes nonetheless, still have many opportunities to work around them.Accounting major? Work in the business department for a university research office. Communications major? Work in the publicity department. They might be hard jobs to get, but your passion for fish might be the edge you have over other candidates who aren’t so enthusiastic about working with a group of sea-smelling marine biologists.”The phrase is career exploration. You need to look deeper into a field, and see how you might be able to work with it, though not necessarily in it. How can you find out what your passions are? Volunteering, or internships.”Getting out into the real world and getting a taste of it at minimal risk is always important, and here at Villanova we have Career Services, as well as countless possible mentors such as Dr. Heitzmann who can help turn our passions into paychecks.For more from Dr. Ray Heitzmann, you may look for one of his many books, including “Opportunities in Sports and Fitness Careers,” “Careers for Sports Nuts and other Athletic Types” and “Opportunities in Marine and Maritime Careers.” All three are available from Mcgraw-Hill Publishing, and you can call 1-800-262-4729 to order copies, as well as any local bookstore.