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Benjamin Geisser, former handball player, at Proitera


«Sometimes life provides just the right things.»

06 / 2024

The 2023/24 handball season has just come to an end. However, for the first time, Benjamin Geisser no longer played on the pitch. He had to retire last season due to injury. He was a professional handball player for over 10 years, including at Kadetten Schaffhausen and most recently at his home club TSV St.Otmar Handball St.Gallen. 🤾🏼‍♂️

Not long before his final season, he already knew what direction his post-sports career would take. He studied social sciences at the OST – Ostschweizer Fachhochschule and is now settling into his new role as a social worker at the company social counselling service Proitera.

How was the first «season without a season»?

«I couldn’t quite let it go this year either. Thanks to a guest appearance, I was able to travel to the Club World Cup with San Francisco and play against the best in the world. I couldn’t turn down this challenge. I love joining new teams, getting to know new cultures and making new friends. I also really enjoyed being able to play with no pressure, no expectations, just pure enjoyment of the game.

It was only after I finished my active career at TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen that I realised that there was always a certain pressure to perform and that I felt a kind of liberation in not having to deliver consistently and being under observation. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have been able to play handball for longer. In the end, however, my hip wouldn’t allow it. So these two weeks with San Francisco really were my last. I’m very grateful for the time I was able to experience as a handball player, but I’m also looking forward to the moments to come.»



How did you find your current passion?

«I first came into contact with social work during my community service. It didn’t feel like work, or that’s what work should feel like. I knew then that I wanted to do that later on.

But first I devoted all my energy to handball. I already knew as a child that I wanted to be a professional one day. I set my goals high. I wanted to play handball as professionally as possible. I wanted to find out where the journey could take me.

Later, I decided to do a vocational baccalaureate so that I could study later. Even then, I had a clear goal in mind. I wanted to go into social work – I love working with people and being part of a process; being able to support them in a short phase of their lives. This is where I draw a parallel with sport. I joined a team, became part of a club that had been around for a long time and was able to help shape a small part of its history. That fascinated me there too. It’s the same with my new job.»

His communicative nature and solution-orientated approach not only benefit him in team sports. An established figure at TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen, Benjamin Geisser has to prove himself once again in a completely new environment at the age of 33.

«A bit of luck and good timing certainly also played a part in the job search. Would I call it «meant to be»? – Maybe;). But sometimes life just has the right things in store. Like this one social work position at Proitera that I came across through Athletes Network.

Although I lacked professional experience in corporate social counselling, I was convinced that I would be able to take on the tasks at Proitera with commitment and independence. My life experience certainly helped me in this respect.»

Proitera was also convinced of this. In the beginning, communication with Beni was very close, says his boss Doris Ziani: «It was important to me that the introduction was thorough and that there was a daily dialogue. The first meetings were very closely supervised, we discussed them before and after, because you never really know what to expect in the counselling sessions. You learn the basics during your studies and the real challenge begins with the transfer into practice, which Beni masters very well.»

«Doris is always my first point of contact. She has taught me not to want to plan everything during discussions. When you’re inexperienced, you want security – a plan gives you that security. However, at the end of the day, it’s not about me and my security, but about responding to the individual people and concerns. They are different every time, no two stories are the same. But that’s exactly what makes this job so exciting.»

The enthusiasm that Beni exudes when he talks about his work can only suggest that working after his handball career doesn’t feel like «work» to him either.