I love what I do, but it has an expiry date…
A common question I get, “that’s cool you play Cricket… but what are you going to do for a job after you finish”, Oh… mmm??
How am I going to try and find work just as fulfilling and enjoyable for the next 30+ years?
At 27, most of my friends are well on their way to establishing career paths that will set them up for the next 30-40 years. If you were to see my CV, there is a gaping hole under the work experience section.
I have been fortunate enough to be a Professional Cricketer from the age of 19 – currently playing for Wellington Firebirds and the Netherlands National team – but what if it all ended tomorrow?! My ambition to transition successfully out of Cricket, into my next career just started to get exciting.
How do Professional Athletes get quality work experience before they reach the end of their career? I think we have many transferrable skills that can add value to all sorts of work environments, including the ability to perform under pressure, a dedicated work ethic, results driven and likely a reputable profile. But who is going to hire someone that can’t match the same commitment as other permanent employees? For chunks of the year they can’t physically be in the office or client facing. This might seem like a bad investment for an organisation?
An employer who is willing to invest time and money into training and manage workloads when we are absent, in order to be supportive of sporting aspirations must be truly flexible. High trust work environments with this level of flexibility are rare in my experience.
Over the last couple of years, I have become interested in high performance teams, what makes one team more successful than others, and then in turn, business and team culture. I have been trying to work out a way to use my experiences of being a Professional Cricketer to build a career in this space.
My goal for the winter was to find experience that was productive to my career after cricket.
When the season finished my days consisted of updating my CV, searching LinkedIn, coffee meetings, interviews and telling my story to anyone I felt might be influential. Through this effort an opportunity was created to meet Samantha Gadd.
After a really enjoyable meeting with Sam, I was immediately anxious around why an employer would invest in someone with an unpredictable future.
But Humankind has an eye on the future of work and are on a mission to help people love what they do and do what they love. ‘Flexibility’ of where, how, and when you get the work done is managed through one of their values – Trust. I have been lucky enough to be offered a full-time role as a Junior Client Partner until September and going part time over the summer.
Flexible working is more common for working parents, enabling parents to be present for their children… but for me I need flexibility to remain fully committed to my professional cricketing career and goal to play for the Blackcaps.
I have already experienced true trust and flexibility – on my second day I needed to attend a funeral after a Cricket teammate’s father sadly passed away. I wanted to support him, but I was nervous that Humankind might think that I was taking the opportunity they gave me for granted. I was away for a couple of hours and when I got back to the office, what I found was that my new team cared more about how I was feeling, rather than how much time I had taken off. Straight away, I knew I was in a great environment.
Throughout my professional sports career I have acquired valuable knowledge and experiences of high performing and dysfunctional teams. I hope to use this experience to contribute and invest in what we do at Humankind.
I am very grateful to be a part of the Humankind team and the opportunity to learn, grow and gain experience and look forward to using the skills I learn here, out on the cricket pitch too!