At this very moment, the United States population is estimated to be nearly 330 million people.
Imagine that over the course of the next 13 years, each and every U.S. citizen gave you one dollar as payment for doing something that you truly love to do.
That’s essentially what just happened for Major League Baseball (MLB) star Bryce Harper. The Philadelphia Phillies signed the slugger to the most lucrative contract in history – a 13-year deal worth $330,000,000.
Here’s the Math
Forbes reports that Harper’s contract breaks down as follows:
- 2019: $10 million ($20 million signing bonus paid in two installments)
- 2020: $26 million
- 2021: $26 million
- 2022: $26 million
- 2023: $26 million
- 2024: $26 million
- 2025: $26 million
- 2026: $26 million
- 2027: $26 million
- 2028: $26 million
- 2029: $22 million
- 2030: $22 million
- 2031: $22 million
It’s interesting to calculate how much he will get paid per game. I ran the numbers. If Harper plays every regular season game (162 per year) over the next 13 years, he will earn $156,695 per game. Of course, the Phillies are counting on him playing a lot of post season games. Some estimate that the team will need to win multiple World Series Championships to make the economics of the deal work for the franchise.
It’s also interesting to ponder the reality that we live in a world where a baseball player is paid slightly less for playing one three-hour game than the average U.S. household earns in one year. (U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average U.S. household income was $61,372 in 2017.). The gap between Harper’s game day pay and mean household income is even more dramatic when one considers that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)‘s lists the U.S. as fourth on the worldwide list of average annual wages.
Here’s What We Can (Really) Learn
Most of us will never see a Harper-like payday, but focusing on his income is not where you or I will likely benefit from the story. I invite you to place your focus not on how much Harper is getting paid, but on the reality that he’s getting paid to do something that he loves to do. In many ways, getting paid to do what you truly love is the ultimate deal.
When Harper was growing up and playing baseball with his brother and friends, I imagine that he dreamed of playing in the major leagues (I know that I had those dreams). He likely envisioned putting on a pro uniform, stepping into the batter’s box, and hitting a ball over the wall to the cheers and admiration of fans.
When Bryce and his older brother Bryan played together in high school (he left early to play college baseball) and college (he left early to join the MLB), the idea of Bryce playing full-time baseball became a growing reality. The NYTimes ran an article in 2010 titled At 17, Baseball’s Next Sure Thing: Bryce Harper. That’s after he was featured on the cover of Sport Illustrated as a sophomore in high school.
Bryce Harper’s commitment to performing well are apparent in his work ethic, exercise routine, and strict diet. His love for the sport is found in his words and actions on and off the field. “I always wanted to be a major-league baseball player,” Harper has said. “I love baseball, and the way I play is like it’s my last day ever playing it.”
What About You?
I hope that you are getting paid to do what you truly love to do. It’s a big world offering more choices to more people everyday. As choices expand, more of us have the opportunity to do work that exists and engages us.
Here are a few questions to get you started down that path.
- If you were to get paid to do what you truly love to do, what would that be?
- What are you doing today to put yourself in a position to get paid to do what it is that you most enjoy doing?
- Who could you talk to, spend time with, or learn from in order to move a step closer to doing work that you truly love?
If you have figured it out for yourself or are working to do so, please share your story to help and encourage others. Your encouragement might be exactly what someone else needs today.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.