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Former Worcestershire man returns to roots in retirement.
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Former Worcestershire fast bowler Chris Russell is now a full-time employee of the Royal Mail, working as a postman on the Isle of Wight.
The 32-year-old left the game back in 2016 and has since moved back to the island where he was born and raised. He had a lengthy career as a full-time professional cricketer, completing seven seasons with Worcestershire, representing the county 40 times across all formats.
The PCA spoke to Russell as part of the Association’s ongoing Futures Week. The purpose of the week is to help inform young members of the benefits of planning for life after cricket. The former fast bowler spoke of his fondness for his new role. Russell said: “I absolutely love it, it is stress-free and it gets me out and about. The thing people say they miss the most about playing is the camaraderie, but we have that in the office every day.”
After leaving Worcestershire, Russell went abroad to play club cricket in South Africa. However, upon returning to the UK he found it difficult to adjust to a new lifestyle. He explained: “I had no idea what I was going to do. I probably got a little lost within myself, I was going out too much and I didn’t really have any idea of where I wanted to go. I needed to support my family but I was working purely to earn money.”
For a while, Russell worked in hospitality, but the birth of his first child made these hours unsociable. The former Worcestershire man searched for something that would enable him to work at more convenient times whilst providing the financial support his family required.
Russell explained how delighted he was when he saw the job he is now doing being advertised back in 2020. He said: “I saw an advertisement come up to work for Royal Mail. It was a temporary role until Christmas. I used that initial period as a job interview. My thinking was if a permanent role came up, then I would stand a good chance of getting it, and that is exactly what happened.”
The former fast bowler explained that he has now done the job for over a year and he loves it.
He is contracted to work 35 hours a week but can volunteer to work overtime, his team covers a third of the Isle of Wight’s mail. He said: “I normally go into the office early and help with the sorting. I then go out and do my duty round which lasts for around seven hours. Then for two days a week, in addition to my duty round I will do a collection. This is classed as overtime and I go and collect different businesses mail and post it for them.
“I really enjoy what I do. You see different people and no two days are ever the same. If you would have said to me five years ago that you are going to become a postman I would have laughed it off, but I love it.
“On some duties you go out with a partner and you have that kind of banter which makes it similar to being in a dressing room.”
Russell was full of praise for his PCA Personal Development Manager (PDM), Lynsey Williams. He explained how grateful he was for the support throughout his transition away from professional sport. He said: “Lynsey was amazing, she still is amazing, we still catch up and it’s great. Even if it is for a general chat to help get stuff off your chest. It has been five years since I left and I could easily have been forgotten about – but I haven’t been.”
Russell was keen to urge to current and former professionals taking part in Futures Week to be proactive when planning their futures. He admitted it was something he feels he should have done more of. He said: “You always have to have one eye on the future. Cricket is not going to last forever and you have to look forward. I didn’t. I wished I had prepared a little bit more and had more of an idea of what I wanted to do after cricket. Try and work closely with the PCA, they are there to help and guide you along the way.”
Futures Week shines a light on the area of personal development and career transition among PCA members. The two-day Futures Conference forms the centrepiece of the initiative and both are part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP). Click here to find out more.