Finding flexibility: balancing sport with employment
Throughout my sporting career, I’ve had to face the challenge of feeling like I don’t belong in certain environments. Whether it’s wearing a uniform in local footy that is too big because it was made for the men’s team; not having access to an adequate changeroom, or reading horrible comments on social media about female athletes, I have encountered most of them.
For a long time, these environments have reinforced the idea that women and girls don’t have a place in sport. Unfortunately, there are many other sectors where women have faced similar struggles. Industries such as finance and IT; construction; manufacturing and logistics have long been seen as ‘a man’s world’.
For female athletes excelling in sport here in Australia, the opportunities to be paid to play full-time are currently limited. While doors are opening and things are starting to change, majority of the time women aren’t paid enough or provided with sponsorships that allow them to rely on sport as their single source of income.
This means they’re required to work casual or part-time jobs. And not just any job – it needs to be a job that offers flexibility to uphold their training commitments.
This isn’t an easy balance. A typical day might involve working a 6–8 hour shift in the morning before heading to training to complete their physio, gym and on-field sessions, followed by a late-night dinner and waking up to do it again the next day.
Although this routine can be physically and mentally exhausting; if a female athlete finds an employer that can accommodate their training commitments, it can go a long way in helping to plug the income gap.
Perhaps even more advantageous is that it also helps to set the athlete up for a meaningful and successful career that they can continue when they retire from competing. I don’t believe the data exists yet, but I would be interested to see how the impacts of retirement from sport compare for female athletes that have worked or studied part-time whilst competing versus those that have not.
Through my work in the sports sector, I’m trying to increase the visibility of women in sport and address the gender inequities that exist. I’m so excited to be expanding this mission and look at how women are challenging stereotypes – and excelling - in the workplace. I’m starting by partnering with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), one of the world’s leading beverage companies; visiting their sites to understand what it’s like as a woman to work in a warehouse or logistics environment. You can keep up with the journey via my Instagram.
I recently visited two sites in Sydney – Northmead and Eastern Creek. I took a look behind-the-scenes and met the incredible employees who work to get Aussies their favourite beverages. Chatting to different team members, I asked them what they loved most about working at CCEP. The key theme that emerged was the team environment and how much they loved their job because of the people they worked with.
This resonated with me as that’s one of the biggest reasons that I chose to play team sport – I get so much joy and fulfilment from going to ‘work’ each day with my teammates. I also love working toward the same shared goal, but also having fun at the same time.
From my conversations, I understand another reason working at CCEP’s distribution centres is appealing to employees is the flexibility that’s on offer through shift work. While many people prefer to work a 9 to 5 job; being able to work different shifts gives people the opportunity to fit work in around their passions, hobbies and side-hustles.
If you’re looking for a role that is flexible, rewarding, values teamwork, and has opportunities for career progression, CCEP have sites across Australia.
You can learn more about CCEP more by checking out their website here. Otherwise, if you’re keen to learn more about what a job in logistics at CCEP could look like, drop me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll introduce you to the right people!