From Big Corporate to the Rugby World Cup

“I found myself working long hours and never really switching off in the evenings or at weekends.”

From Big Corporate to the Rugby World Cup

For a long-standing sports lover, Dan Gordon's new role working for the Rugby World Cup is a dream come true. He had to argue hard though with his new employers that his previous experience was relevant. This is how he did it.

What work were you doing previously?

Contact Centre workforce planning at BT: forecasting call volumes and workload to ensure appropriate resources were available to answer the calls.

What are you doing now?

Leading tournament time Workforce Planning and the Workforce Operations programme providing workforce support services during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Why did you change?

Whilst I was an experienced and well respected contact centre planning manager and using a lot of my skills, I was not working in a field that gave me great job satisfaction. This was certainly not something that I'd dreamed of doing when I was young. I decided to look for a role in an industry that was more exciting and aligned to my interests.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

On my 35th birthday – I decided I couldn't face 30 or more years of the same!

Are you happy with the change?

Yes!

What do you miss and what don't you miss?

There was greater long term security and career opportunities within BT and I worked with some great people. I don't miss dealing with the same issues on a regular basis in a world with no real end goal.

There was an ever growing impact on my personal life as I found myself working longer hours and never really switching off in the evenings and at weekends.

How did you go about making the shift?

I started seeking out organisations with a sporting slant and quickly spotted a role at LOCOG - the London 2012 organisers. The role looked to require similar skills to those I already had.

How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?

There was a reduction in my salary and an increased cost of my daily commute, but that was outweighed by the prospect of working somewhere that was more enjoyable. My wife and I worked through our finances to find a way to make it work for us.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

Convincing those who had worked at past major events that someone could come from the 'outside' and make a success of the role.

What help did you get? 

My colleagues were very supportive and always willing to answer any questions I had. They could see that my skills were going to bring something new to the team.

What have you learnt in the process?

That I am able to adapt to various industries and turn my hand to other roles - I worked in an operational role at the Aquatics Centre throughout 2012. My journey has not finished as I would like to move into a stadium or event management role in the future.

What do you wish you'd done differently?

Nothing, other than wishing I'd realised this was an option many years ago.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

Go for it - you won't regret moving away from your old 'normal' day job.

What lessons could you take from Dan's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below. 

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at hello@careershifters.org.