Kirstan Ferris, Business Analyst, Hymans Robertson LLP (7 year break)
In 2000, I graduated with a degree in Technology & Business Studies, Specialising in Manufacturing Engineering & Management Science from the University of Strathclyde.
Thereafter, I pursued an 11-year career working in Business Improvement/Project Engineering roles in the Engineering and Manufacturing Sectors, including the Aerospace and Automotive industries in the UK, Germany and America.
In 2012, after the birth of my second child and faced with significant childcare challenges, I decided to take a career break to become a full-time mum and soon after, my third was born. My intention was always to return to work when my youngest turned three, however this ‘short’ career break turned into seven years. During this time, I immersed myself in training and setting up my own Dog Grooming Business. My business was very successful, however I often felt lonely, missing my ‘old career’ and the ‘old Kirstan’.
In 2019, with my children all now in school, I decided that the time was right for me to return to my ‘professional’ career. However, I wanted to experience working in a different sector, a move away from the Engineering and Manufacturing environments I was accustomed too. I initially found it to be quite a daunting experience in terms of how do I go about starting to find a new career and will my career break be viewed as a lack of commitment or ambition?
It was through a chance conversation with a friend, that I found out about Women Returners and the role within Hymans Robertson. Although I didn’t have experience in the Financial Services Sector, what I did have was a valuable transferrable skill set and wealth of experience leading change and improvement projects across different industries.
Through Women Returners I was successful in securing a temporary 5-month contract within the Change Team as a Business Analyst. My temporary contract was extended and in June 2020 and I secured a permanent contract of employment.
My career break was never an issue to my employer. The issue was my own self-doubt and lack of confidence about re-entering the professional workplace and how to explain my career break. Through the coaching received from Woman Returners it has helped me to be proud of my career break, to see it as a positive and not doubt my ability to do a great job. In fact, when I tell people my story and share details about my past career, my break, my dog grooming venture and my return to work, the level of genuine interest makes me proud on reflection.
Returning to work when I did was absolutely the right decision, for both myself and my family. I am happy to be back in a professional role and the impact to my family and home life has been minimal. Indeed, my family are delighted to see me excited, talking about and enjoying my work. For myself, it feels so good to be back, working in an environment where I am stimulated on a daily basis by the diverse nature of the work, the people I get to engage with and knowledge and new skills I am acquiring.
My advice to anyone considering going back to work is to go for it! Professional skills are important but don’t undervalue the experience and life skills you may have picked up during your career break. See your career break as positive and re-enter the workplace knowing that that the time is right for you.