With the NFL draft behind us, it may be tempting for recent college grads to pine for what could have been in a career as a pro athlete: the salary is amazing, for one thing, and you get to live out a life-long dream as a star of American culture. But with the competitive nature of such a job, there’s a lot at work behind the scenes that we probably don’t understand. Now, for some in Silicon Valley, the job hunt is starting to look a little more like the path of a pro athlete.
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It’s no joke: Bloomberg recently reported that programming’s top talent are using agents to get work — complete with head shots and custom URLs. And it makes sense. As one coder speaking to Bloomberg put it: “I don’t want to talk to a business manager, I want to talk to the technology team.”
Coders aren’t sales people, and it’s understandable that they may want someone else doing the work of negotiating for them. But does it go further than that?
Not to get too deep into the sports metaphor, but it’s valuable to take a lesson from the people who ostensibly know about working with agents the most: the story of Russell Okung may have been enough for some of these Silicon Valley types to get signing.
Okung now famously chose to represent himself in contract negotiations this year with the Denver Broncos after playing with the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks. As SB Nation divulges, negotiations haven’t gone so well on his new contract: while the attractive offer looks appealing to the common eye ($53 million over five years), its language skews everything in favor of the team. None of the money is guaranteed — as is common practice for these contracts — until his second year, before which time the team can elect to drop him for nearly any reason.
An agent probably would have caught that.
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Is this a sign that coding has become too inflated? Are these folks smart or frivolous? Do you still have an unmet dream of joining the NFL? Tell us your stories and opinions in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!