Why l Quit my Career in Groundsmanship
This blog is all about making the biggest decision of my Groundsmanship career. The decision is a difficult one and one that has come after lots of hours thinking and many stressful moments.
The big decision is leaving the grounds industry
After over 13 years in the industry it has finally swallowed me up, a battle that has had its ups and downs. The truth is this industry isn’t just a job but a way of life.
I started out in 2008 and honestly just thought it’s cutting grass, can’t be much to it. Then you learn about nutrition, soil science, plant biology and so much more.
The more you understand and put into practise the grass seems to benefit from it.
Then you go through the process of doing college courses, soon I had a Level 3 diploma in sports turf management that friends thought I had made up.
With the education and experience comes that little bit more pressure when you get to grips with the first team cricket square, everything you do it’s because you are doing it. Constantly observing the grass to see what you need to do to make it look like Lords.
A Passion hard to leave at work
During the 13 years I have gotten married and have had 3 beautiful boys and you try the balance of your passion with your flesh and blood. You can get the grass to the best standard you can and look at that ryegrass when the sun shines on the glossy leaf and there is no better feeling, knowing that you have put your heart and soul into this. However, I struggled for the industry to not take over my life and the balance between work and home got harder to define.
The years pass and you look at your photos on your mobile phone and it’s all grass and none of the kids. Your wife is talking to you in an evening after dinner and I’ve switched off thinking about the cost of grass seed to achieve 25 grams per square metre.
Your sports pitches are your baby. You have just freshly striped up the football pitches and you see someone walk up a dark stripe and you think “you selfish bast**d”. The golfer has been out in the evening and been teeing off from the cricket square, my mind, “this is a personal attack on me “.
I’ve been sworn at and spat at along the way. The reality is it’s just grass but I’ve spent long days and nights getting it to look good, hand-picked weeds, hand filled aeration holes, hand watering the square, seeded and top dressed the goalmouths etc.
Enough is enough for me, very little support from work not necessarily done on purpose but down to a lack of understanding the industry. The low salary never reflects how many hours you put in and how often you go above and beyond to get these surfaces looking unbelievable. The balance between work and family life has always taken a hit and not one I ever realised was affected until I took a step back during COVID-19.
Pressures and perfectionist by trade
The pressures we put on ourselves are expediently extreme and we sacrifice a lot to achieve the standards we try to achieve. We all aim to get out football pitches like Old Trafford or our cricket square like Lords but at what cost to our lives, our physical and mental health.
There are many people in this industry who are unbelievably talented and because they aren’t at these big top clubs, they are often overlooked. At the end of the day, we are all trying to achieve the same thing but with different budgets, equipment and staffing levels.
So, for now I’m stepping away to focus on myself and my family. Life is very short and need to enjoy all that we do. Look after yourselves and goodbye for now.
Why l Quit my Career in Groundsmanship by
Why am l sharing this, I have seen this far too many times? Yes, good people change career it happens, just such a lose when you guys like Scott decide he’s fed up with the abuse and lack of understanding as what the job as a groundsman entails.
Scott is a highly passionate and motivated guy and let’s hope one day even if only at a local ground is back in an industry he clearly loves.
You’re a massive loose to the industry Scott, keep in touch with us all at TurfCareBlog
If you wanted to know more about Scott or Nene Park Trust check out this blog-https://turfcareblog.com/nene-park-trust-scott-bryan/
That’s sad, he needed to delegate, train up the juniors, then sit on the touch line and watch…..enjoy your break. S E
I sympathise, after a heated discussion in early 2014 I did not leave the industry but did hand in my resignation. After working out my notice, all six months of it, I walked away.
It was not untill then that I realised how the job had taken over my life over the previous twelve years. My other half was cross, what are we going to do without that salary, quite a good one at that, but suddenly that proverbial weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had my life back, I was home for tea every night, I was back in control of my life.
Time has moved on and I am back, but part time and under my terms. Utopia.
The club had been unlucky with my replacement, though it had been a poor appointment. I was back for a couple of hours a week advising, but that advice was falling on deaf ears. He went and I helped out. Three appointments made but all three on reflection then decided to withdraw, despite excellent salaries being offered.
I have gone back for a couple of years on two thirds full time and two thirds of the excellent salaries that had been offered, the aim being to train up a brand new team. Good staff are extremely difficult to find but I think I have two good boys on board and it is a joy to go to work again.
Employers generally really don’t appreciate good staff in this industry. I wince when I read some of the vacancies advertised, the expected skills, flexible hours, clean pavilions, help behind the bar and sometimes for no more than a tad over 20k. Crazy
Great information Gordon and great you have now found more balance. Luckily l don’t have kids if l did not sure how it would work with my summer hours .
An honest blog which in a lot of quarters reflects the lack of respect, support and value applied to Groundsmen. At the same time there’s a huge number that appreciate the good work.
Nice balance chris
I’ve quit three times in 20 something years, but gone back again.
Thanks for the comments guys
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