On Being a Professional – Derek Jeter

Team Captain of the New York Yankees. There are a lot of high-profile jobs in this world, and all come with a healthy degree of stress, but there are very few that are 100% in the public eye and in the media capital of the world. Derek Jeter filled one such role for 11 years, taking on the job at the ripe old age of 29. Of all that he accomplished throughout the course of his career, the most impressive thing just might be his reputation as the consummate professional.

Derek Jeter worked for the same company his entire career.  He was drafted out of high school by the Yankees, came up through their minor league system, and played 20 years in the Bronx.  Along the way he was part of 5 World Series Championships, won multiple MVP’s and is the all-time Yankee leader in hits, games played, and several other categories.  More astonishing is what he has not done.  He has not been arrested, involved in sordid stories and controversy, contract disputes, discipline problems or locker room dramas.  He even changed positions to allow Alex Rodriquez to play for the Yankees!  He is universally praised by teammates, management, competitors and coaches for his work ethic, committment and leadership.  Interesting, all that he has done, all that he has been, and all that he has not been are the very things that constitute “professional”.

As part of the All Star game tonight, there is a new commercial by Nike entitled RE2PECT.  It is an amazing piece of advertising, as well as a genuine chapeau to one of the greats of the game.  Leave it to Nike to capture such a moment:

Interesting that the commercial is part of the Jordan brand with Nike, and that both MJ himself and Tiger Woods make an appearance. While obviously both are Nike athletes, both too were also once the best at their profession and widely respected. However, time has shown some of the warts that come with MJ and Tiger. Let’s just hope the Derek Jeter we have seen the last 20 years remains the Derek Jeter we see well into the future.

Being a professional is both a state of mind and a state of being.  Derek Jeter has done a remarkable job at being one of the best both on an off the field.  His level of achievement has been a result of hard work; he puts in the hours.  It has been a part of who Derek Jeter was, where he came from and the person he was and is at the core.  It has also been a result of how he carries himself and the pride he takes in being a Yankee.  Derek Jeter has always acted like a professional.


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