When Emma Raducanu lifted the US Open trophy above her head it was a triumph in so many ways.
First, there was the sporting aspect. She became the only qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam and the first British woman to lift a major singles title in 44 years… and all without dropping a set. Her incredible tennis was a joy to watch, bringing both excitement and pleasure to the game.
Just as importantly we saw her triumph over her critics. Emma was first thrust into the limelight at Wimbledon – labelled the next great British hope. That is a lot for anyone to carry on their shoulders, let alone an 18-year-old then ranked at 338th in the world.
Suddenly the media were following her every move and there was a need and expectation on her to perform.
It all became too much and she pulled out in the fourth round, after suffering breathing difficulties, telling how the “whole experience caught up with me”.
She was lambasted in some quarters, most memorably by John McEnroe and Piers Morgan, with nasty comments spread and amplified on social media.
For many, this would have been the end. But Emma grew and came back magnificently – overcoming her detractors and all the odds.
But what does this have to do with employment?
The key is that although Emma’s success may have appeared to come overnight to us watching on TV, it didn’t. It was developed through hard slog over a number of years.
The same can be said for finding your perfect job. Nobody wakes up one day in their dream role – it takes time and effort. There will be failures, bumps in the road and those moments when we just want to walk away entirely.
Even without Piers Morgan tweeting about us to millions, there will have many periods in our careers we just felt it was going wrong – especially with the recent challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Perseverance is key and that is something I am delighted to see in so many in our Jewish community.
Take Mandy*. When we first met, she was very despondent. She had once enjoyed a career in the NHS, but had not worked for five years. Her confidence was at rock bottom.
She knew that finding a good job would take some readjustment and was prepared to put in the work. She attended courses to build her confidence, qualified as a careers coach and began to volunteer in a few roles to gain initial experience. She’s now excelling in a very demanding role as a careers coach for a private outplacement company.
Then there is Simon. Raised in a religious community, he was struggling to find work due to having no formal educational qualifications. It’s hard to start all over again as a mature student, but Simon did just that. He has just qualified with a first-class degree in software engineering and now has so many wonderful opportunities open to him.
Sam’s story starts back in 2014. He came for guidance and decided he wanted to be an accountant – a career that takes a lot of time and hard work to get off the ground. Qualifying, mainly through self-study, he went on to work for a prestigious professional services firm and then opened his own practice. Now, seven years later, through his own focus and determination, he is in a position where he is hiring other people from the community to join his business.
Finally, there’s Nicola. Like many she wanted to change careers – in her case going from sales into fundraising. Knowing this wouldn’t be an overnight transformation, she spent a whole year training, networking and taking on voluntary roles, until she finally landed her dream job fundraising for a major communal charity.
These stories are just the start of what we see every day. They may not make the front page, but they all have one thing in common with each other and with the incredible achievements of Emma Raducanu.
It’s all about people who kept at it, were not afraid to learn new skills and, most importantly, never gave up no matter how tough things became.
- Names changed to protect identities