The 10-Year Plan

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time."

— Leonard Bernstein, composer & conductor

Every once in a while, when I'm sitting in my 105-year-old house, contemplating the next round of improvements to the landscape or the maple-tree-filled gutters or the much-needed, can-of-worms plumbing job, I imagine what it would be like to have a blank slate. In my case, I suppose that would mean a brand-new, never-been-lived-in house with an empty yard—all of it just sitting and waiting for sparkly new ideas to turn it from a house into my home.

But I try not to waste too much time in could-be and what-if, and so I fairly quickly tamp down the blank-slate fantasy world and get back to the nitty-gritty of planning my next mode of attack on this 1/3-acre property, with all of its strangely invasive plants and its cranky old house with a constant demand for attention.

At the moment, it really is a 10-year plan, which mainly involves identifying the next biggest priority and then saving my pennies until I can pull the trigger, either hiring the help (I'm no roofer) or purchasing the supplies I need (I do love to handle the landscaping on my own, as much as possible) to get the job done. Most recently, it was renting an 18-foot dumpster and purging all the garbage that had somehow accumulated in the garage, basement and elsewhere. There were three toilets! Two sinks! It was like a weird above-ground archeological dig.

The day they came and hauled it all away, I had this overwhelmingly peaceful sense of being finished. I had accomplished something. I celebrated. Briefly. Then it was back to the nitty-gritty.

The reality? That whole project took less than a week, and that's just one week out of 560 in the 10-year plan. And of course, at the end of this 10 years, I'll likely already be in the midst of yet another 10-year plan. The house is 105 years old, after all.

Most of us, in our careers, are likewise sitting in the midst of a 10-year plan (or some version thereof), rather than arriving at a blank slate. Surely there are newly created positions for brand-new park districts and rec centers and the like, but for the most part, someone else was working at it before, and when you arrive, you simply pick up the work where they left off, choosing the next priority based on your own, and your community's, priorities.

In fact, our annual Salary Survey, which you'll find on page 14, shows that most of you have been in your current jobs for nearly 11 years, and you've been working in the recreation, sports and fitness industry for a little more than 21 years. You have plenty of experience creating and executing plans to engage your communities in what you've got on offer, whether that's fitness indoors or out, sports programming for teams and spectators alike, beautiful trails for hiking and biking, or an aquatic park that's got all the bells and whistles.

And, whether you've got renovations in the works or you're planning to build something brand-spanking-new, you'll probably get that wonderfully endorphin-boosting sense of accomplishment once it's done.

Relish it! Grab hold of that feeling and hang on as long as you can! Because tomorrow, it's back to the messy midst of the 10-year plan.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]