Tim Howard is one of many Kookaburras and Hockeyroos athletes reaping the benefit of having a vocation outside of hockey.
As Australia this week celebrates National Careers Week, which is an initiative of the Career Industry Council of Australia aimed at celebrating career development, it is an apt time to shine the spotlight on one of Australia’s star national hockey players and what they are doing in their professional career off the pitch.
Career development is about much more than jobs – it is about how to live your life. Howard is a classic case in point. Away from the hockey pitch, the Kookaburras defender holds down a role working in the Commercial Banking Team at CommBank in Perth.
After graduating at Griffith University, an opportunity arose when Howard was introduced to CommBank’s GM of Commercial Banking in Perth by Kookaburras teammate Andrew Charter. A couple of meetings followed as Howard signalled his interest and keenness to get involved. The rest they say, ‘is history’.
Howard works 16 hours a week at CommBank, which allows him to combine his hockey commitments with his other career pursuit. The 26 year old said it has made a positive impact to all facets of his life. Furthermore, the flexibility Howard is afforded by CommBank to take time off to go away on tour and compete in tournaments is also something he is grateful for.
We caught up with Tim and his Team Manager at CommBank, Vanessa Branley to chat about his career off the hockey pitch.
Thanks for taking some time out to chat about your other profession Tim. Tell us about your role with CommBank?
TH: “I wasn’t 100 percent sure on what I wanted to do after university but it was a way into the work force. The team I work in is the Commercial Banking Team. We do anything from equipment finance, asset finance, investment accounts and their transactional banking.”
Hi Vanessa. Thanks for your time. What are some of the benefits of having an elite athlete on staff?
VB: “Tim brings with him valuable insights around performance mindset, resilience & team cohesiveness which are critical skills for success in all aspects of life. The team also doesn’t mind boasting about working with an Olympian. We are very proud to have him as a colleague.”
What would you say to other companies thinking about hiring athletes?
VB: “Tim’s commitment & determination is inspiring, if you’re in a position to provide flexible working arrangements the benefits of having an athlete within your team really will pay off.”
Are there any similarities between the hockey environment and being an employee of one of Australia’s major banking institutions?
TH: “I work in a team of 20 at CommBank which is good because it gives me another network of people in Perth that I know. There are certainly some values and things you do day to day that relate to banking and working in teams and working with other people, such as how to deliver outcomes for clients, so it’s certainly relatable.
It has been cool to be in a different field with a different lens. There are certainly a lot of parallels between sport and banking in terms of high performing teams, culture, how to interact with other people, having a common goal…so I enjoy that side of it.”
Are there any specific tasks or parts of the role you really get a lot out of?
TH: “I enjoy the analysis component of it. Analysing any of our clients’ financial statements and interpreting them is probably what I get the most out of. I also like that my job is client facing so talking to different people every day and developing those soft skills for the future once I finish hockey.”
What does a typical week look like in balancing hockey, work and other areas of life?
TH: “I normally work Monday to Wednesday. On Mondays and Wednesdays I generally get to work at 9.30 after training and then leave at 4.30pm to get to gym. They’re big days.
On Tuesdays I can work longer in the afternoon. Then I have Thursdays off from hockey and work so it’s nice to have a day off and then Friday after training we usually go and play golf, so it’s a good balance of work, hockey and stuff outside of both.”
Is Tim the first picked in company sports days?
VB: Tim is our reigning mini-golf champion – no one else even came close to his score – so yes it’s fair to say that he is picked first.
Do you or any of the staff members offer Tim feedback and advise after games?
VB: Definitely some members of the team rally around and provide their two cents worth – Tim receives it in good gest as we are not the experts.
How would you say having a job benefits your hockey?
TH: “What’s important is having a good balance. When I first moved over to Perth I was studying, doing 2-3 subjects a semester which gives you 20-30 hours to study or attend lectures. Once I finished studying I missed having something else to think about.
In addition, by having other people around you in a different group setting and getting to know them, it means you’re not just sitting around at home. Before I started my job, after training you would just go home and think about hockey, so it’s nice to have that mental balance. It’s refreshing to leave training, go to work and then the next morning be really keen and motivated to go to training again.”
The financial component must also be a welcome benefit?
TH: “It’s definitely nice to have that income, but I think it’s also the fact that I’m not going to be a hockey player forever, so having a career outside of hockey is good in terms of setting up your career and your life for post hockey.
Is there anything else you would like to add Vanessa?
VB: Tim is a great guy and very important member of our team. He has built a strong reputation for the quality of his work and commitment to our customer, which stands him in high esteem regardless of his performance on the hockey field.
What would you say to someone considering taking up a dual career?
TH: “I definitely think you can do both (be an elite athlete and have a professional career). What’s important is I wanted to make sure hockey was sorted, that I was comfortable in Perth and settled, then you add those little things that can make life easier.
I definitely encourage people to do anything else…whether it’s study, a few workshops, volunteering…particularly in high performance sport. One career ending injury and that could mean career over and you don’t know if/when that could be. Having a dual career makes you more balanced and well-rounded as a person as well.”
Hockey Australia is proud to employ a full-time Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement Manager who assists athletes to explore career interests and development outside of hockey.