Last year one of our team, Luke Patel, took a six month sabbatical to play cricket in Australia. Check out his Blog to see how he has got on and for some optimism away from Covid-19.
It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that, with some trepidation, I sat down with my line manager to discuss taking a 6 month sabbatical to play cricket in Australia. Having recently returned home I thought I would share some thoughts on my experience out there and why I decided to take a career break.
I started with NECS Consultancy back in October 2018 as a Business Analyst in the Yorkshire team. Just to bring up the fact that I wanted a career break was difficult in itself. I really enjoy working for NECS and I didn’t want to lose my job, yet at the same time it was something I had planned on doing for the last 4 years. I can’t thank Debbie, Katie and Ally enough for how they responded. They were incredibly supportive of my decision and that really helped to put my mind at ease.
From there I signed for a club out in Australia. The club paid for my flights and visa, got me a car and a place to live and lined me up with a job. This wasn’t my first trip out to Australia, it was actually my third. I played First class cricket in my early twenties, and this gave me the opportunity to travel over to Australia as a club overseas player. The club I played for this time was called Katandra, which is in central Victoria. Katandra play in the Shepparton competition. I scored a 100 on my club debut which was a great start and the team’s performance remained consistent throughout the season. I also got picked for a franchise T20 competition which was something different and very enjoyable. We sadly ran into a slump of form towards the end of the year and we were knocked out in the quarter-final; I did however register another 80 in the penultimate game! Of course the world was then consumed by COVID-19. However luckily, after several delayed and rescheduled flights, I was able to return home safely, with fantastic friendships and memories to look back on and cherish.
I know that taking a career break in your twenties to go and play cricket on the other side of the world is probably not the most common thing in the NHS, however it was something I wanted to do before I was too old to do it and I am really glad I got the opportunity. As well as getting the opportunity to visit Australia to play the sport I love, the experience has also enhanced the capabilities and experience I can bring to my role in the Consultancy team. Most significantly my ability to respond to new challenges, adapt to different cultures and build relationships with new people has greatly improved. It has also confirmed that I am in the right career and team back home. NECS is a fantastic place to work and I am grateful that I work for an organisation which supports the ambitions of its staff and champions a good work life balance.
The whole trip went by so quickly, but with everything that is currently happening in the world it really gave me some perspective. The current situation has shown we can’t take life for granted and looking back I made the right choice to go and do something I love whilst I could. And whilst I was disappointed we didn’t win the silverware, I realised that after all it’s only a game and everything else with the trip was perfect. For that alone I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful experience and met such lovely people; I would certainly encourage other people to do something similar if they have the opportunity to do so.