Benjamin Wey: Rugby Star Jarryd Hayne Shines in NFL — By Using Transferable Skills

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Benjamin Wey thinks Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne's historical effort with the NFL's 49ers is a perfect example of cashing in on transferable skills. ( photo)
Benjamin Wey thinks Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne’s historical effort with the NFL’s 49ers is a perfect example of cashing in on transferable skills. ( photo)

The National Football League’s pre-season is under way, and on the East Coast, that means even more about Deflategate, injuries for the New York Giants and a quarterback crisis for the New York Jets because a former teammate broke the starter’s jaw over $600.

On the other side of the country, the San Francisco 49ers are making some history with an Australian rugby player named Jarryd Hayne. It looks like this wonder from Down Under is going to make the cut and play in the NFL.

Sports website SB Nation reported, “Hayne is 6’2, 220 pounds and runs a 4.52 40. That would’ve made him the fifth-fastest running back in this year’s NFL Draft combine, and only one of the players faster than him weighs as much. But Hayne not only possesses that rare combination of speed and size, he also has an obvious innate capability to make opponents miss. That’s an NFL player.”

Read more: Tom Brady: Cheater, Cheater Deflategate Leader?

He won’t be the first player with a rugby background to make the switch. “Australian star Hayden Smith caught one pass as a tight end for the Jets from 2012-13 before returning to his original sport,” Sporting News wrote. “Patriots safety Nate Ebner and Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi made U.S. national teams as high-schoolers; Ebner walked on at Ohio State without having played high school football.” Hayne, though, is the highest-profile rugby player to play at this high a level in the NFL.

Interestingly, he isn’t doing it for the money. He took a $2 million pay cut. He signed a three-year contract in March for a $100,000 guarantee; that’s quite a come down for a two-time Australian Rugby League player of the year and the 2009 Rugby League International Federation’s International Player of the Year.

What he is doing is proving that rugby players and NFL players have a common set of professional skills. Both games are very physical, the ball-handling is largely the same, speed and quickness are important even for the big men and so on.

Of course, I, Benjamin Wey, know most of us couldn’t play either game near any sort of professional level. The point is that your profession has provided you with skills and experience that overlap with those required to be successful in another. This will become more and more important as job security becomes less and less certain. Some industries are going to simply die out. People making buggy whips as the year 1900 approached were doomed by the arrival of the automobile.

Read more: Benjamin Wey on Frank Gifford and the Great Career Change Challenge

And even if the economy isn’t going to force you into a different field, people get bored. Doing the same job or even a different job in the same business year in and year out can make you lose your edge. TV and movies are full of stories about mid-life crises; job dissatisfaction is a major plot point for a reason.

“In the world of social media, everyone becomes a publisher and a reporter. What’s really important in life?” said Benjamin Wey, an accomplished journalist and financier.

Financier Benjamin Wey
Financier Benjamin Wey 

What I, Benjamin Wey, think distinguishes the guy who makes a success of his job change and the guy who makes a mess of it is largely a function of finding out what it is you can do elsewhere. Take a look at the average board of directors. There’s one or two guys who really know the industry, but there’s also a finance expert, someone with personnel experience, some legal expertise. They have their seats not because they know the company’s business but because they know things and have the experience the company will need to be properly run.

When I, Benjamin Wey, started my career in finance, I already had been a successful college-student entrepreneur importing silk ties to the U.S. from China. I didn’t parley that into a big fashion career, but took the things I learned about money and its uses and turned that into my full-time job.

Hayne will have an interesting fall (spring I guess in Australia), and he may well become a household name in the U.S. in football. But he’s already taught us a lesson about moving from job to job because you have skill that work in more than one place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BENJAMIN WEY is an accomplished investigative journalist and Wall Street financier. Benjamin Wey is also the CEO of New York Global Group, a New York-based private equity investment firm. Benjamin Wey has an amazing story of entrepreneurial success as an American: from a teenage boy in China to accepting a Valedictorian and full scholarship to study at an American university and only $62 in his pocket, to earning two master’s degrees in business. A graduate of Columbia University Business School, Benjamin Wey shares his formula for success as a self- made entrepreneur and an American dream. Benjamin Wey is also a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine and other media outlets.

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