Coming out of Retirement

The ramp-up to the summer Olympics in London next year is beginning.  One of the biggest stories in Beijing (after Michael Phelps) was Dara Torres, a swimmer who came out of retirement at age 40 to win a silver medal in the 50 freestyle in her fifth Olympics.  And she wants to be back in London!  2012 might also be the return of Janet Evans, a distance swimmer who set long-standing records back in 1988 and 1992 and one of my personal heroes.  Both of these women had kids in the interim and had busy lives outside the pool, certainly they did not maintain an olympic-level training regimen.  You might even say they left the field for a while.  Not unlike any other person who takes time off from their career to raise kids.

I wonder which is more difficult, returning to world-class athletic competition or returning to an engineering/high-tech industry job after a hiatus.  Certainly many more women return to the workplace after a break than return to athletic competition, but there are a lot more of us normal folks to start with.  Athletes get faster and faster over time, but so does the pace of business.  Which do you think is harder?

In the end, it’s all about whipping those muscles back into shape.  At least us knowledge workers only have to worry about one muscle.