Embracing the Fear of a Career Transition

by Shane Supple, Principal Consultant for Executive Connections in Marketing Recruitment 

In 2018 I was forced to make a massive change, a career change completely different to what I had done for most of my life. I had been lucky enough to live the dream playing professional football in the UK, at home in Ireland, represent my Country and play for my local GAA Club and my County. Unfortunately, my body was telling me it could not be put through the abuse anymore and that it was time to call it a day. As soon as I could walk, I had a ball at my feet and now at 31 years of age the ball was being taken away, I had to step away from the game I love and into the unknown to find a new career.

Luckily for me I had always embraced change, it scared me, but I knew it was an important part of learning and developing as a person.  I also played in the most ruthless position (goalkeeper) on the pitch which helped in learning how to deal with fear. I had learned a lot from the game that would be transferrable to whatever I decided to do next, but at the time I did not realise just how much my experience in professional sport would stand to me in my new career. I had gone back to college and upskilled in areas I felt I would be interested in, that would help me find a new passion and focus.


Most people make a career transition to a different industry or sector where they can continue to use the skills they developed through college or their previous roles, but how do I transfer the reading of a pass or the judging of a cross into recruitment??? I knew I would have to leave my ego at the door and throw myself into situations that were very uncomfortable, it was the only way to learn. I discovered very quickly that people just want to know you care, you don’t need to be an expert, just be genuine, honest and follow through on what you say you will do. This was something I was good at and it helped me develop some strong relationships and partnerships in my new career.

Fast forward two years in the recruitment world where I have been working in the areas of Marketing, Sales & Digital Recruitment and there are certainly similarities to playing in goal! Every day/game is different, there are ups and downs, challenges & setbacks, wins and losses. 2021 is an example of that, when our industry was affected massively by the pandemic, we embraced the challenge and weathered the storm so that we would come out the other side stronger, which we have.  Challenging yourself everyday keeps you sharp, as much as you would like things to come easy it does not work like that, especially in recruitment, and I wouldn’t want it to, because I’d never know how good I could be. The satisfaction I get from saving a penalty or keeping a clean sheet in Dalymount on a Friday night and seeing the happiness in the eyes of the fans has been replaced by the joy of easing a pain point for my clients or helping someone find that dream job.

The buzz of playing is irreplaceable…. but I’m lucky enough to work with Executive Connections who value integrity, effort and understand that we all have different needs and wants and that there is a balance to be struck in the pursuit of excellence! If you are looking at a career move or change, I’d be delighted to help in any way I can, whether that be opening doors to new opportunities or just to talk through options or my experiences, feel free to reach out!

Change is scary…. we fear change because we cannot anticipate the outcome – Shane Supple