A Boxing Recruiter’s Journey

By Las Rodrigo – Head of Recruitment, Links International Macau

As many of you may or may not know, I have undertaken the challenge of taking part in the annual Hedge Fund Fight Nite, which is happening at the end of this week.

I was invited last year to watch the event by my company bosses and, despite being an avid armchair fan, after enjoying an evening of fine wine, fantastic food and great company, I quickly signed up the following day.

This was September last year and the event was supposed to take place a year later. The training didn’t start until January, so, all in all, I thought: great decision, I will deal with it then!

January came and ‘my journey’ started.

Again, I must stress that I hadn’t really thought this through. During January I was moving to Macau to look after our business over there, so, on top of the training and the move, which was to prove challenging enough, I had the added pleasure of taking a ferry journey back and forth to Hong Kong.

When the actual training started, learning footwork, basic jabs, crosses, hooks, double jabs… the first month was actually great. I was getting over to HK twice, or sometimes three times during the week and every Saturday morning I was on the 8am ferry to HK to ensure I was keeping up to speed and maintaining the progress. I also joined a new gym in Macau so I could train between HK training sessions.

The first month of combining travelling with my work duties was manageable. Tough but manageable.

The eliminations started after the first month. There were around 40 boxers to begin with, and every two to three weeks a few of us were told we wouldn’t be making it through, whether it was because we hadn’t trained enough or we weren’t progressing to the required standard.

Being a recruiter, as I’m sure my fellow recruiters will agree, we are all very competitive. We put up with enough bad news in the office, so I knew that resilience was the key to getting through to fight night – keep training, keep pushing through, do your best.

At the end of month two, I had made it through – I was very happy. However, things were hotting up at work, I had commitments to my fellow team members and I started to feel guilty leaving early to get the ferry across for training. My team needed me at times where a phone call wasn’t enough.

At the end of month three, there were more eliminations. I made it through, but now my motivation levels were starting to drop. What exactly had I signed up to do? I was getting injuries. I took a heavy shot to my ribs which needed an x-ray. I was out for two weeks and told to rest. I actually didn’t want to do this anymore. Yet, all I could think about was boxing, training, running and now I was injured. Work pressure was building. Targets needed to be hit and client development and meetings were increasing. I couldn’t cancel these important meetings and networking events because I had ‘boxing’ to attend.

At the end of month four came the final cut. Somehow I had made it through to the actual event. I was part of the final 16! I was both relieved that I had made it but also a little apprehensive. Now the training was to be more intensive. There was an actual schedule of boxing from Monday to Saturday. Everyone else was based in HK, but I couldn’t possibly go to all, or even most of the training sessions.

What was I to do?

Like anyone else would do when faced with challenges, I adapted. I fitted in what I could do; I planned my meetings with clients in Hong Kong; and I did my utmost to put in work behind the scenes.

I had learned the basics in the first three months, so I just focused on conditioning and made it to the sparring sessions as and when I could. Most importantly, I had to give 110% at work for the team, as I couldn’t let the guys down.

I’m now sat here with only a few days until fight night having learned a few things on my journey that actually have nothing really to do with my marginally better boxing ability:

  1. Don’t give up. Explore every avenue to get your solution.
  2. What you put in, you genuinely get out. Make your time at work productive. If you start to feel unproductive, just go home and come back mentally fresh. If you can’t go home, then go for a long walk to clear your head.
  3. Be there for your colleagues. Listen to them and don’t take them for granted
  4. Plan your day and time respectively. You don’t get it back.
  5. Lead from the front. If you are a leader show that in everything you do.

Win, lose or draw, come fight night, it has been an amazing experience and taught me many things along the way. Everyone has their struggles and it’s a sad time in that ‘The Greatest of All Time’ Muhammad Ali has recently passed away. He really did endure a struggle in many ways, but always rose above them and adapted. He was known for many quotes, but one I can personally relate to now is this:

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

I wish you all the best of luck for the second half of the year – keep fighting those struggles! And if you are looking to take your career to the next level and face bigger and better challenges, please do not hesitate to get in touch.