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Mid-career story

2 minute read

Read a story from an anonymous colleague as they share their experiences and perspectives.

The experience I want to talk about started when I had a baby. My child was premature and consequently had a lot of medical and neurodevelopmental needs. I decided that I needed to take a career break to support my child with hospital stays and medical appointments.

During this time, I gained a lot of experience and interest in neurodiversity and accessibility and wanted to ensure my work reflected people’s needs. I was working part time until I felt ready to go back to a 9 to 5. After my career break, I found it quite competitive to get into the type of work I wanted. I had to revert to my original type of work while building experience and my portfolio.

My career break was a barrier for me as I work in a competitive industry and sometimes struggled to get interviews for the roles I wanted. This really knocked my confidence and imposter syndrome set in. You start to think that you’re not as good as you could be. But then you get that role you’ve been after and fall into it smoothly. You realise that it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was. You realise that some of the barriers we face are internalised.

For example, I worried that I wouldn’t find work as I need to have flexible working to continue supporting a child with medical needs. If you have an understanding with your employer, where adjustments can be made and there is room for flexibility, you can manage working with caring responsibilities.

I find flexible working at NPL fairly easy, and I’ve never had an issue – for example if I need to attend appointments, my manager is understanding. Sometimes I worry that people in the team don’t know my personal situation and will misunderstand or judge my working patterns.

Different teams across the business work differently in terms of hybrid working – with the flexibility needed I usually work from home and come to the office every couple of weeks and on days where we’re required on site. Recently there has been an ask for me to be on site more often. It was very sudden. I started to question my performance or if there had been complaints about my work. There hadn’t been any but having an open conversation is the best way to maintain work life balance.

My main advice in a professional capacity would be to make sure you’re informed. Read the policies, educate yourself. Be honest about your situation. Good communication is key.

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The information contained on the above text is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional or medical advice. All content, including text, images and information, is for general information purposes only and NPL does not warrant nor represent that it is intended or is suitable for a specific purpose.