Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rant #1,235: Opt Out

Yesterday, basketball star Lebron James announced that he was opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat, and would enter free agency.

This happened just a few days after the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony decided to do the same thing.

What this means is that, essentially, these players are open to either the highest bidder for their services, or the bidder that they like the best.

It is pretty much up to them where they play next season, and they could actually play with their old teams if they choose, because the Heat and Knicks, respectively, would be able to pay them more than any other team that they signed with.

That is where it gets complicated, and that is where I am going to veer slightly off of going into the specifics of why that is true.

I was just wondering if this were true in the real world, how many of us would opt out of our own current work experiences?

Most of us don't have contracts, so we couldn't opt out of something that we don't have, but what would happen if after a few years, we were allowed to shop around our own services to the highest bidder?

Would we get a good deal, or any deal at all?

Let's face it. Professional athletes have skills that are marketable commodities. They do things on their playing fields that we can only dream about.

Can the same be said for what we do?

Yes, we all work hard. We are all good at what we do.

Heck, I have been at my place of business for over 18 years, so I must be doing something right, right?

But what if after, let's say, reaching my 20th year there, I can say, "Shalom!" and move onto the highest bidder?

Personally, I write specialized stuff that most publishers could not care less about. I write about military exchanges and commissaries, venues, and subjects, that few civilians even know exist.

After those 20 years, if I could opt out of my "relationship" with my current firm, and go on the open market, would there be interest? Would I get a better deal than I had?

I doubt it. It simply does not work that way in the real world.

We do have a competitor, but that competitor really isn't one. They just exist in the same market, but we really have the lion's share of this grain of sand of a market that we really don't compete with anyone.

I could do other writing. In my career, I have written about many subjects, including real estate, security and entertainment. I could do it again.

But it just isn't the way it is in the sports world. Nobody would be banging down my door, nobody would be wining and dining me to join their organization.

So I, and most everybody else, just has to grin and bear it where they are.

There are no opt-out clauses in the real world.

When was the last time I even had a raise?

I can't even remember ... .

But I won't be going anywhere to test the waters, because the waters are cold, even frigid at the moment.

So I wish James and Anthony well, because they will do well wherever they go.

But me, I am staying put where I am.

No opt outs for me!


  1. You're in a very specialized field. For someone like me, the view is a bit different. I work in insurance, where there are lots of competitors. Right now the job market is a bit tight, with several companies recently having layoffs, but in better times. . .well, the best way to get a larger increase in pay is to apply for a job at another company. Certainly not the deal these athletes will get, but . . .

  2. Like you said, I cannot do that in my field, but I can offer my services to others as a writer, which, when it comes down to it, is what I am. But let's face it. I am 57 years old. Who is going to hire me at this point in my life? That really is the bigger question than "opting out" of where I have been for nearly two decades.



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