What Magic Johnson’s New Job With the Lakers Can Remind Us About Our Careers

Earvin “Magic” Johnson was just named President of Basketball Operations for the L.A. Lakers. This is just a few months after reuniting with the Lakers as an adviser, and twenty-six years after a sudden retirement from the Lakers that many at the time thought would be the end of his career (and professional life in general). Magic Johnson’s professional life story is a reminder of one important lesson: your career can have a renaissance of its own if you are persistent.

As we speak there are 21 year-old college seniors who feel like their careers are over because they didn’t choose the right major. There is someone in graduate school whose professor lost their funding, so their research has hit an abrupt end. There are 30-somethings working dead-end 9-to-5 jobs who feel too stuck to make a change. There are 40-somethings who worked many years dedicated to the same company only to find that one decision, job cut or conflict, left them without the career they thought they would have. Now, let’s be clear — Mr. Johnson had wealth on his side. It may be easier to “bounce back” when you have the finances to support you. But stigma is real. The world can be incredibly unkind and unforgiving, and most importantly we can be unkind and unforgiving to ourselves.

If you’re in a position in your career right now, where you feel like you were once soaring, but you’ve suddenly fallen, Johnson’s career is a reminder that things can turn around. It might take time, hard work, grace, mercy and kindness from others. It might take persistence to meet and overcome challenges. But it starts with the slightest bit of hope that what seems like the end is not necessarily the end.

Your career may have had a door close, but it is possible that the one that opens in its stead will exceed your expectations.

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