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My career 

I knew of NPL because I did NPL Academy when I was at school, so I knew it would be of interest. I’ve been working here for 6 years now. I take part in a lot of Outreach activity participating in events like Big Bang Birmingham and New Scientists Live.  

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Thankfully I have a great relationship with my manager and we managed to work through it.

 

My challenges 

Just before the pandemic I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. It was quite poorly managed pre-covid and then I was one of the first people back on-site. After two years of lockdown, I found this very stressful which led to me becoming quite unwell. 

There was a moment when I thought “I can’t do this anymore".

 

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My advice  

The thing that’s helped me the most is just being very candid and transparent. It’s hard and it can be embarrassing, but letting people know how you’re feeling is far more important because then people can give you some slack or help you juggle responsibilities.  

There is no rhyme or reasons to my disability. People can be embarrassed to discuss that with people, particularly if it’s an invisible disability.

 

Read Abi's story

My career

I decided that I needed to take a career break to support a child with additional needs. During this time, I gained a lot of interest in accessibility and ensuring my work reflected people’s needs.

After my career break, I found it a lot harder to get into the type of work I wanted to focus on than expected.

 

My challenges

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.

My advice

Read the policies, educate yourself. Be as honest about your situation as possible. Good communication is key.

If you have a good understanding with your employer, where adjustments can be made and there is room for flexibility, you can manage working with caring responsibilities.

 

Read the full story

My career

In my current role, I partner with department heads across the various directorates in the organisation to develop the financial plan and long-term strategy of the organisation. I work with them to estimate the financial impact of agreed strategic plans, identify potential business constraints and forecast the impact of business decisions on future years performance.

Challenges

One barrier into the industry I would highlight is certification – it can create a ceiling for some people in the industry. The need for a certain certification before you can advance can be challenging for those who struggle with exams.

I sat down and considered all my strengths and what I would like to do on a day-to-day basis.

 

My advice

I have learned throughout my career that somethings take time, so I encourage people to be patient with themselves.

My manager at a previous company said to me “trust the process and trust the people around you.” I would echo that advice.

 

Read Seun's story

My career

After college, I went straight into an apprenticeship. I knew I’d be completely out of my depth in university. That apprenticeship was working in a brand team, and so I started to learn the marketing ropes. Now I am in charge of NPL’s social media accounts and marketing emails.

My challenges

Aside from my mental health, and this all plays into it, I have to deal with facial paralysis – a condition not well known to the world and yet, in most cases, it’s so obvious to other people. It adds a whole world of worries to face-to-face interaction.

Mental Health First Aiders was a concept that I could only have dreamed of in my first job!

 

My advice

You’re not a burden. That rational voice is there, but sometimes it just needs someone else’s help to speak up. If you’re dealing with any kind of visible difference, there are organisations out there that can help.

Read Deanna's story

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