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Full power for bike and job: How to combine career and passion – An interview with Jade Treffeisen
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Full power for bike and job: How to combine career and passion – An interview with Jade Treffeisen

Kinga Bartczak
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Many employees dream of reconciling their own interests and their job – especially in Gen Z. Jade Treffeisen has succeeded in doing so. The competitive athlete is now in her third year of gravel bike racing at the highest level. She has already achieved some notable successes: for example, she rode to fourth place at the 2022 Gravel World Championships, finished tenth at the 2023 Unbound Gravel in the USA and also achieved several podium and top 10 finishes in the UCI Gravel World Series. And this despite the fact that the 32-year-old also works as an SAP consultant at digital engineering specialist Nagarro. In this interview, Jade explains how she manages to combine the two – and what role her employer Nagarro plays in this.

1 Jade, you are a “gravel professional” and work as an SAP consultant at the same time. How did you come to the decision to run both in parallel?

Basically, it wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened that way. Although I come from a family with a strong affinity for cycling – my father and brother in particular have been passionate cyclists for a long time – riding was my favorite sport in my childhood and youth. That only changed when I stopped riding because of my studies and the associated move. As I was still looking for a sporting balance, I finally discovered cycling for myself. Gravel riding in particular, still a discipline in its infancy at the time, caught my attention, probably also because of the pronounced off-road aspect. When I started to pursue the sport more intensively, I had already been working at Nagarro for a year. As I was very satisfied with the work there, I wanted to combine the two. At that time, it was hard to foresee how gravel racing would develop – or how successful I would be at it. In this respect, the question of a possible “career” only arose after my successful participation in the 2022 World Championships, when I gained a valuable new sponsor in Canyon. I then gradually professionalized the training and the successes became more and more consistent.

2. professional sport is usually very time-consuming due to the intensive training and competitions. How do you manage to combine your work for Nagarro and cycling? And: What does your usual daily routine look like?

Photo: Moritz Sauer (Instagram: @moemoemoritz)

In fact, it’s only possible to combine the two because my boss and the whole team actively support me in sport. For example, at the beginning of the year I talk to my boss about my professional planning and we coordinate this with my annual sports planning. Among other things, we take into account when the races take place, how much time it takes to travel to and explore the race track, etc. This provides transparency about the times when I will not be on site. During these periods, I either work remotely or take vacation. It is also helpful that Nagarro allows us up to 30 days of workation per year. In everyday life, however, I try to integrate training into my working week. In order to better realize this, I recently reduced my working hours to sixty percent. Since then, I’ve usually worked half days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and have Thursdays off completely. This gives me more time for training on these days and for the equally important recovery phases. I hope that this will lead to further successes in competitions in the future. I currently train for around 15 to 20 hours a week.

3. it would probably not be possible in every company to combine professional sport and a “traditional” career. What role did that originally play in your choice of employer?

Initially, it did not play a role in the choice of employer. After all, the competitions only started to gain momentum when I was already working at Nagarro. However, it played a major role in being able to continue to combine the two. Without the option of working from home, flexible working hours or workstations, it would otherwise hardly be possible. The pronounced team spirit in the company is also helpful. In an emergency, colleagues can also step in. I am extremely grateful to them for that.

4 Sport and work are two fundamentally different worlds at first glance. Nevertheless, synergies can arise between the two. Do you have experience or methods from one of the areas that help you in the other?

Sport has taught me to persistently pursue my goals. Even if I can’t reach them immediately. I keep realizing that if I want to achieve a goal, I have to be prepared to invest time in it. Nagarro certainly benefits from this too, because I don’t do things any differently in my job. Conversely, my job helps me with my cycling: On the one hand, I have the certainty that I am not solely dependent on my cycling success. That gives me additional security. On the other hand, physical and mental exercise complement each other. Without either of them, I would definitely be missing something!

5. part of the job as a consultant is to be on site at the customer’s premises at least occasionally and to work to given deadlines. At the same time, you take part in international tournaments. How do you manage to avoid time overlaps under these conditions? And: What does your training look like while you are on site with the customer?

Thanks to the rough planning at the beginning of the year, we know in advance on which dates I cannot or do not have to be on site. We can therefore plan customer visits at an early stage so that there are usually no overlaps. Many of my other activities, on the other hand, I can carry out regardless of location, so this problem doesn’t arise there. And as far as training is concerned, it doesn’t always work as usual during customer visits. In this case, my coach and I plan accordingly. Then I alternatively complete a running program or take a targeted rest week.

6 Running two activities at a high level in parallel sounds like a lot of work. Does that sometimes cause you stress? If so, how do you deal with it?

Sometimes I think to myself: my day only has 24 hours. How am I supposed to manage all this? But to be honest, it’s usually more of a positive stress, because in principle I enjoy both working at Nagarro and cycling. In the meantime, I have also learned to hand over tasks – or to prioritize them differently. Nevertheless, it remains primarily a question of mindset:

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I just like to feel a certain amount of pressure.

7 It is often important for Gen Z in particular to find a better balance between work and other interests. You obviously manage to do this excellently. Do you have any practical tips that employees can use as a guide? And: What can employers learn from Nagarro?

As a matter of principle, I would advise anyone who pursues another time-intensive activity in addition to work – be it a sport, voluntary work or private care – to communicate this openly within the team and to their line manager. My personal experience shows me that many people are very understanding and helpful if they know why you need support. So transparency is key. The busier the day, the more important planning becomes. This should also include free time and relaxation phases for yourself. And as far as employers are concerned, they can help employees by supporting them with offers such as remote work or flexible working time models. I am aware that this is not equally possible in all fields of activity. But many do. A first step would therefore be to make it possible in such cases. Nagarro is a good example of how it works.

Jade, thank you for this interview and we wish you continued success!

About the author

Jade Treffeisen-Profilfoto
Jade Treffeisen

Jade Treffeisen arbeitet seit April 2022 als SAP Consultant im Bereich Finanzen und Controlling bei Nagarro.

Ihr Masterstudium schloss sie an der Universität Freiburg im Bereich Betriebswirtschaftslehre/ Public and Non Profit Management ab. Zuvor absolvierte sie ihr Bachelorstudium an der Universität Konstanz.

Mit dem Radfahren begann sie verstärkt erst während des Masterstudiums, zunächst auf der Straße, bis sie dann 2022 auf das Gravel Bike wechselte und an ersten Wettkämpfen teilnahm.

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