After finishing my MSc in Operational Research at the London School of Economics (LSE) I joined a large Telecoms company graduate scheme. I moved my way up the organisation and stayed for 11 years as a Business Improvement Consultant. At my peak I was on the talent pool, had been sponsored to do a mini MBA at the Institute D’Empressa in Madrid, Spain and really believed I was adding value to the organisation. However, during my last 4 years there my career felt like it was spiralling downwards: I had 2 young children and felt that I was not being given the same opportunities that I had before (perhaps because I was working part time or not able to travel for long periods). I really lost confidence in myself and when I was pregnant with my third child I decided to leave the organisation and take a short break to reassess what I would like to do.
When my youngest son was 9 months I decided I needed help to get some focus on what to do next. I was recommended to see Katerina Gould and I went to speak to her. It was the best decision I made.
Initially I was thinking of having a career change – I considered teaching and a few other family friendly careers. During our sessions, Katerina helped me prioritise what I enjoyed and increased my confidence in my skill set. She made me realise and remember the roles I did enjoy at the Telecoms company and why I enjoyed them. We looked at where I would like to be in 5 – 10 years’ time and how I could achieve that. In the end I decided to stick with my strengths of simulation modelling and business improvement.
With an updated CV and renewed confidence in my abilities, within one month of looking for a job I had found an opportunity at Peabody Housing association – they were particularly interested in my skill set and created a role that utilised it. I had to take a full time job (as I couldn’t find any part time opportunities) but because of the flexible working hours this has been easier to manage with a young family than working part time would have been. My confidence has really been boosted – I enjoy coming into work (previously I was predominantly a home worker) and my family life has also improved as I am not letting out my frustration with work at the family!
Via this new role I have reconnected with my lecturer at LSE and have been asked to give a few lectures there on the application of simulation in the workplace. To think I was going to throw away a strong skill set that I had because I was made to feel so devalued at an organisation is shocking!
The main piece of advice I can give is that you don’t need to be miserable at work – take the time to rediscover yourself and value yourself so that you enjoy your working time. As a working mother every minute of your day is precious (time with and without your kids is equally important) – make sure both of those times are enjoyable for you as life is too short to feel miserable about them!