frank lampard


A job too good to turn down?

Most of you know my about my love of football and particularly Derby County. Sadly, Derby boss Frank Lampard has been offered and accepted the role of Chelsea’s manager. Derby fans will be sad but Lampard is a manager who revitalised the club and now has the chance to move to the job of his dreams.

Lampard spent 13 years as a Chelsea player, the management role there is a big step up for a relatively unproven manager and so a gamble for Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, as well as Lampard, who returns to Stamford Bridge on a wave of goodwill.

The prospect got me thinking about Frank’s decision, he knows his new employer has a hire and fire mentality, as did previous employers come to that, it’s the nature of professional sport.

Challenge and the learning curve

We know the average tenure of a football manager is short – the average Premier League manager will coach in the top flight for less than two and a half years. The challenge for a new Chelsea manager is that he gets to test himself against the best in the world. Such a move isn’t about the money as I assume Frank is financially secure but he surely knows it will be a steep learning curve to move after one season at Derby to a club like Chelsea.

So, in the real world, what would be the advice to someone faced with a similar decision? If you are offered a dream role, big money, a step change in career terms with an employer with a hire and fire attitude. What would you do?

I think, in essence, the decision is about whether it is a risk worth taking. You need to think about what you enjoy doing and perhaps more importantly about how much more you are likely to learn in a new role. Weigh up all the arguments around your commitments, aspirations and the lure of a new environment. Of course, it’s flattering to receive the offer, especially if there’s a big salary attached but you have to consider your long-term career goals.

Enabling growth

We spend most of our time at work and, if we’re lucky, it’s also our passion; for football fans the very idea of the Chelsea job, or even the Derby job, is a honeypot. However, it makes sense to objectively evaluate any job offer, even if your immediate reaction is to reach for the smartphone and happily accept.

Growth and development happen when you move outside your comfort zone. A life lived without risk is one where you won’t achieve much. We learn most from our mistakes, so to try and fail can earn you respect and be a stepping stone to success. It didn’t harm Gary Neville’s career, when he took a football management role, failed and went back to television punditry; the experience makes his insights more valuable. And, if you try and succeed it could open new avenues.

On balance, if you decide to take the offered role because it is too good a chance to pass up, then aim to view it as a developmental opportunity, as a challenge that lies ahead and an opportunity to progress in your career journey. An offer may not be perfect, and you may have to compromise on certain elements of the role but your ultimate goal is to progress and improve on your current position. Ask yourself will it challenge you, expose you to new experiences, and enable you to grow?

Derby fans can say “thanks for the memories, albeit only one season, and good luck in the new job, you’ll need it”. In the real world, football managers are just like the rest of us and, it turns out, so are their career choices and decisions.


Photo credit:

Michael Moran

Michael is CEO and Founder of 10Eighty. He is passionate about helping people maximise their potential and believes everyone should have job satisfaction and a successful career. He helps organisations design jobs and career paths that maximise employee engagement. As an avid reader/commentator on the world of work and sport, he regularly draws parallels between the two. You could describe Michael as a budding author with “The Guide to Everlasting Employability” already under his belt, and technophile who’s created 2 career management apps to help people manage their careers.


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