September 4, 2019
I have always been interested in money, the markets and what makes them work. When I was undertaking work experience in the financial sector, I felt the skills I had gained from my rugby career transferred over nicely to the role of wealth manager. I also felt this was something that I would be good at.
As I approached my thirties, I thought I had better start thinking about what I want to do after sport. I had been lucky enough to be playing professional rugby for 12 years at that point and I had seen teammates get career-ending injuries or not have their contracts renewed. That makes you start to think about the next stage in your life, especially when you have a young family to provide for.
Three letter acronyms were the biggest challenge I faced when moving to this sector from rugby – financial services is full of them! I started keeping a note of them and every time I heard a new one, I jotted it down and would then ask one of my colleagues what it stood for. They didn’t always know either.
In sport, you need to be resilient. You are constantly being told you are not doing the right thing and that you could do it better, and everything you do is analysed in the tiniest detail and pulled apart. You also need to have the capability to adapt to different situations and be confident in your own ability, as how is a coach going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? I think I have used a few of these qualities in my new career, as I have definitely had to adapt to a new situation.
My day and working week are very different now. The main thing people ask me is how I go from being outside all day to being in an office environment. I don’t miss rugby as much as I thought I would, though I do miss being active. I have had to make a conscious effort to get out and exercise, and I have set myself a few challenges to make sure I do this. With rugby, you took it for granted that you were outside exercising all the time.
When I captained Newcastle Falcons, I always wanted us to work together and play to our strengths. I look to take a similar approach with my clients. We are a team and working together to achieve their objectives, using all of the tools at Barclays disposal.
In rugby you always went to your peers for advice, normally the more senior player within the team. It is no different at Barclays. We have a very strong team here and have a wide range of experience and knowledge. We are always bouncing ideas off each other and supporting one another.
My advice to professional sports people who might be planning a post-playing career is to do it sooner rather than later. Use your club’s network of businesses and sponsors to try and gain work experience in different areas that interest you. Use your downtime and days off to try some of these. This will hopefully give you a clearer picture and some relevant experience when the day comes to choose a new career.
No advice is bad advice. Always listen to feedback and take it onboard, even if you do not agree with it. At some point it might come in handy in the future. If you’re going down the financial route, make sure to invest in a pair of black shoes!
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