How A Supermarket Conversation Changed My Career

Posted By: Andy Barker

Sat in a Morrison’s cafe a short conversation changed my career.

I’d just started working at the Leeds Rhinos, a job I took straight from University.

For me this was already massive.

Leeds Rhinos were my boyhood team and I had just left University.

I had skipped the usual academy and part-time roles to join full-time with the first team.

Things were great but…

A conversation I had that day in that supermarket cafe changed things.

I was taking with my then mentor David O’Sullivan, then the head physio at the Rhinos.

I was his number 2 at the time and I learnt so much from him.

But it wasn’t an assessment or treatment technique or test that I remember him best for during those early days, but some career guidance he gave me just after I had started at the club.

He asked me what my career goals were.

I wasn’t entirely honest with him because in all honesty I wanted his job, and to one day become the head physio at the Leeds Rhinos…

The job I had set my sights on from day one of physio school.

He knew that I am sure but he was great and going back to that conversation I did tell him that one day I wanted to be a head physio in Super League.

He was frank with me and said it was a tough gig and that I had a lot of work to do…

But this was achievable if I wanted it and I was willing to put the work in.

The conversation was then directed to the things I needed to work on…

The things that I needed to get better at if one day I wanted to become that head physio.

Fast forward around 6 months we were sat in a jacuzzi the day before the Challenge Cup Final in a hotel north of London.

He told me that he had landed a new job at his own boyhood team Munster Rugby and as a result would be leaving the club at the end of the season, just a few months later.

I knew this might be coming as he had interviewed for this job a month or so earlier but it was still a shock and if I am honest I was disappointed as I would be losing a great mentor, someone that I was able to work closely with and learn from…

But happy for him at the same time as this was a big job.

He went on to explain that he was going to recommend to the senior management team and head coach that I should be the next head physio.

This was a massive vote of confidence for me.

The physio that looked up to so much at that time was giving me his full backing.

At this point I was just 12 months out of University and still learning, and I knew what a big step up the head physio job would be.

At the time the Leeds Rhinos were the best team in the country, littered with internationals, bringing massive expectations that the team would continue to be successful.

They also had a great medical department and had for years and so I had massive shoes to fill.

But I did feel like I was ready to give it a shot and Dave having the confidence in me played a massive part in that.

What followed over the next few months was Dave purposely helping me bridge the gap and giving me exposure to what the head physio role was really like.

I started joining him in head coach handover meetings…

He gave me more responsibility with the senior players…

And he shared his experience and insight into some of the challenges he had faced a year or so earlier when he had made the same transition from assistant to head physio.

I have no doubt that this help was a big factor in helping me secure that promotion.

There were some questions marks whether or not I could hack it.

And rightly so, I had never held a head physio role before and was barely out of University.

But this is what a mentor can do.

They can help you fast-track your skills and knowledge to get where you want to be in the fastest time possible.

They can help you identify what skills you need to invest your time and effort in, that will make the biggest difference and help you get the patient results that are far and beyond your level of experience.

They can help you understand how the industry works so you can leverage your best skills and attributes to climb the promotion ladder faster than anyone thought possible.

They have walked your path and achieved success, so who better to help and support you?

I am privileged that new grads now trust me to help me on their own journey.

Just like Lauren, a member of my New Grad Physio Community, who has just secured her own dream job…

Want to learn what you need to do to get to where you want to be, in the fastest time possible?

Then click here to find out more.

Andy Barker

The New Grad Physio Mentor

PS. Lauren is a great example of a new grad physio that has made a goal and has gone after it.

She deserves this role because she has worked hard and it has been a pleasure to help her on her way!