Before I took my career break, I had a varied and active job in fixed income on the sell-side where I travelled extensively, worked long hours and was excited by what I did. However, when I had my third child in 2012, I realised that I needed a change of pace. I left my company and dedicated my time to my family for three and a half years. During this break, I raised my children and loved every minute of it – I gave birth to my fourth child and prepared my three older ones for school.
I always planned to return to work and when I finally made the decision to come back, I knew that I needed something different from my past career. It was very clear to me that I wanted to continue working in financial services, and apply my existing skills and knowledge to a new area – the buy-side. I looked for roles in Sales or as a Product Specialist, which I felt would suit my experience and expertise. I approached head-hunters in the first instance, but was told that although I had an interesting profile and relevant experience, I was a “wildcard” with a non-traditional background (due to my career break) that they could not easily place. I then spoke to a friend of mine, who left the sell-side to open a headhunting business, and she pointed me to Women Returners, where I found the Product Specialist role at Man GLG. I knew the company, due to my previous job, and was immediately excited by the opportunity!
I considered myself very lucky when joining Man GLG. I started on a three-month programme, which was then extended, and then I was made a permanent employee. The team that I joined was also new at that time, so despite being thrown into an unfamiliar environment, I felt like I jumped on a boat that was being built. I was able to work with my team to define my hours and ensure flexibility on both sides (home and work). Senior management were also very understanding of this – they ensured that I was fully equipped with the training, materials and support to embrace my new role. For me, it was very important that when I returned to work, I would be happy and motivated – finding a work/life balance has definitely helped achieve this.
Alongside this the Women Returners’ coaching programme was also very helpful when I first started my role. It reminded me about the importance of maintaining a focus and not stretching myself too thin between my personal and professional worlds; to set up realistic short and medium term goals, and celebrate the daily achievements along the way.
I feel very happy about returning to work and joining Man GLG. It offers me everything that I wanted in terms of a full-time role, including working with an inspiring and engaged team, and having a balance with home life – so coming into work puts a smile on my face every morning. Admittedly, it is always a challenge to start something new, but I am fortunate to be in an open and inspiring professional environment that provides me with the support I need.
My one piece of advice to someone in a similar situation is to think about what you want and stick to it. Before you go on the journey to return to work, ensure that you have a good support system at home, and ideally at work as well, so that you have the peace of mind to be productive and successful in both environments.
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