Working as a football statistician for Sky Sports would be considered many people’s idea of a dream job.
And for a number of years it was mine. I had a hobby for a career, I regarded watching every game as research and I met some of my footballing heroes (they were all delights).
So why after nine seasons as a statto did I leave my dream job in pursuit of a new career?
The problem with dreams is that they have a habit of coming to an abrupt end, or in my case over the course of about 18 months.
I won’t bore you with an emotional timeline, all you need to know is that in the beginning life as a statsman lived up to all my expectations. The offices, studios and outside broadcasts provided a privileged platform for me to learn all about the television industry.
But over time the highs of finishing a season in May were gradually being replaced by the lows of starting a new one in August.
The job was becoming routine and repetitive. I was caught in a cycle, drifting through days on autopilot. With little opportunity for personal growth, things became far too comfortable.
I wanted a job that inspired, tapped into a part of me that had something valuable to give back. A living that provided a sense of pride and personal fulfilment.
That all sounds a little naive and idyllic but I knew something had to change. I had no dependents, no mortgage, there was nothing holding me back but I was fearful about making a huge mistake.
I’m not normally one for life quotes, you know the motivational sayings posted on Facebook and Instagram, but one really caught my attention.
If I was going to break out of my own comfort zone I needed more of a reason for doing so than just gut instinct.
I gathered the thoughts of friends and family, weighed up the many pros and cons and came to the conclusion it was time to bite the bullet.
So as my ninth season came to a close (just one short of my testimonial), I plucked up the courage to hand in my resignation letter.
I had always imagined leaving a job to be quite liberating but instead I left Sky with a heavy heart. My first ‘proper’ job didn’t give me the long-term career I dreamed of but it did provide an amazing insight into television production and I learnt many important values.
My search for a new career has proved more difficult than I thought it would. All of the planning cannot prepare you for the reality.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show I am one of 1.56 million people out of work in the UK. So for the time being I’ve gone from football stats to employment stats.