What the f**k do I do now?

Anya Shrubsole MBE was Player of the Match during England’s 50-over Cricket World Cup victory in 2017, and has 173 caps for England. She plays for Southern Vipers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and for Southern Brave in The Hundred, both based at the Ageas Bowl. She has recently started working with LAPS as Sports Partnerships Officer. You can read Anya’s biography on LAPS here, and connect with her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

This is a question I have asked myself more times than I would like to admit. And a question I didn’t have many answers to.

What do you do when you’re 31 years old, you don’t have a CV and have never had a job interview? When your adult life, and therefore most of your work experience, has been spent standing in a field and occasionally propelling a cricket ball from one end of the pitch to the other?

Retirement number 1 from international cricket was a relatively straight forward one. After 15 years I knew I didn’t want to do it any more and I had another opportunity ready and waiting for me. Retirement number 2 has proved much more difficult. I know I don’t want to do what I’m currently doing, but ask me what I do want to do and the answer was a resounding “I don’t know.”

So, what the f**k do I do now?

Step 1

Cry (a reasonable amount); randomly search jobs before ultimately deciding I don’t have any skills or qualifications for any jobs; question whether actually, I’m better off just staying doing what I’m doing because that would be simpler; complete a week at work where upon I realise, once again, that it’s not what I want to do; cry (a reasonable amount) and repeat cycle umpteen times.

Step 2

Start to look around at organisations that might help me work out what it is that you might want to do and sign up to LAPS – they really are excellent at what they do and I would recommend any elite athlete to sign up (I may be at little biased as I’m now a LAPS employee, but my point still stands).

Step 3

I am very fortunate to have a close family friend who is exceptionally good at helping people understand and work out what it is that you want to do. I had a couple of meetings with him where he asked plenty of questions, many of them very uncomfortable and difficult to answer, but all of them very thought provoking. I often left with more questions than answers and I always left with homework to do. They were my first pieces of homework since I left school 13 years ago but they helped me answer some questions that I needed to answer in order to work out what the hell it was that I was going to do. One piece of homework involved asking people who knew me well to list my top 3 attributes – not easy for someone who hates compliments but helpful in understanding what I’m good at.

Step 4

Through the homework, I started to get an understanding of what it was that was important to me for my future career. One piece of homework was to list my top 5 personal needs when considering work and this is the list I came up with (in no particular order):

  • Mentally challenged
  • Work life balance
  • Ability to progress
  • Being part of a team
  • Salary / potential salary

This has become the thing I always come back to when considering my options. I may not tick them all off completely but it really helped me realise what was most important to me. It’s something I would really recommend doing when considering a new career.

Step 5

Talk to as many people as I can. I am fortunate through cricket to have a lot of contacts who I could call upon. I spoke to range of different people about what they did and what other things may be out there and I am immensely grateful for everybody’s time and input as it really helped me understand what it is that I may or may not want to do. Try to get a real cross section of people, indifferent roles no different industries. In my experience people will always be happy to have a conversation.

Step 6

I think I have finally landed on something that ticks off a lot of the things on my list (see step 4) and have started investigating what it is that I would need to do in order to go down this path. I will keep it to myself for now in case it doesn’t materialise but watch this space…

So that’s my personal step by step process of how I answered the question, what the f**k do I do now. Who knows, maybe there will be many more steps required. Maybe one day I will have a CV and have done a job interview, but that is not today.