I have often sat and thought throughout my working career, am I with the right company? Am I doing what I enjoy?
When you first start your career, most of us are still finding our feet and testing the water. We don’t always know what we want to do or be. That is unless you have always wanted to become a ballet dancer, firefighter, singer or astronaut. Something you knew you wanted to be from the age of 5.
What’s my story?
Many moons ago (a lady never disclosures her age) I did a number of jobs that I really enjoyed. I got paid well and spent every penny on me! No responsibilities, it was all about me, me, me. Then at the ripe old age of 24, I found my calling. I started work as an Administrator for a Timeshare company based in Mallorca (oh – did I not mention I lived in Spain from the age of 19 – OMG I had a ball!!!!)
I worked with a group of 4 girls, managing Timeshare contracts (“So you’re the one that made me sign up for a timeshare” I hear you cry) sorry but no! I was in the back office just typing them up. Anyway, I made some fantastic friends. And I worked for an amazing lady in contracts who saw my potential and let me move to their Head Office. Mainly to develop my IT skills. I ended up working for that company for over 8 years.
But what stood out to me was how we were all treated, how they developed anyone that wanted to be developed, and how they believed in a person’s ability. They had faith in the people they employed. I eventually moved to their European Head Office working as an Assistant IT Coordinator for 8 European locations and loved every minute of it. Dealing with IT issues in abundance (my standard response was ‘have you turned it off and turned it back on again?”) Training new employees how to navigate around a variety of databases and using Access to develop code. But my biggest joy was working with a team who were developing and teaching me all about this NEW technology thingy majiggy that was changing the way we operated in the world.
I was loving life, 24/7 for 8 years until my personal priorities changed at 32 years of age (I’d had enough of all that partying). And decided to come back to England, grow up, get married, get a mortgage, and be a responsible person. Well I tried anyway!
After being away for so long, I had to start again at the bottom. Learning new skills and gradually working my way up that ladder again. I was fortunate that again, I worked for some great companies, and for some wonderful bosses who I can still call friends today. However, I always felt there was something missing. I stayed working in these jobs because I loved my boss or simply because I needed to pay the mortgage. But deep down I realised I was going through the motions. I was just doing a job, I was not important enough for anyone to invest any real time and effort in further developing me. That is until I crossed paths with Utility People.
I had been involved in research for 7 years, was bored, and decided on impulse to resign. Yes without a job to go to!!! My new husband (we had only been married for 3 months) was a little shocked. I on the other hand felt relieved. I needed a change of direction, I just didn’t know what that direction would be.
I had never heard of Utility People. Why would I? I was in a completely different industry?
However my husband (yes, he stayed with me) out of the blue mentioned he had been speaking with Angela Peart. He happened to mention that he had a fabulous wife at home twiddling her thumbs and looking for a new job. To my surprise Angela asked me to come in and meet with her and Linda Mason. They had been thinking about adding Executive Search to their service offering and they thought I might be a match. Oh the wonderful world of connectivity and networking!! I had only left my job 2 weeks earlier and already I had an interview (see husband – I told you so…).
A new start…
I met with Angela and Linda, presentation in hand and went through how I thought we could launch an Executive Search service into the Energy and Utilities industry. Utility People were already ahead of the game in contingency recruitment. They had a fabulous reputation, an existing client base and a large CRM of energy professionals. I remember leaving that interview feeling alive. Feeling I had met two people who not only wanted to develop their business but could also see the potential in me. I just hoped I had done enough and they were going to offer me the job, and guess what? I GOT THE JOB AND STARTED 2 WEEKS LATER. See husband, I so told you so!!
The launch of Executive Search…
Angela was to be the driving force behind the launch of ES. And she was a whirlwind full of ideas, where to market, who to speak with, what exhibition to attend and which ones to exhibit at. But most of all, she taught me the importance of networking, understanding the industry, connecting with people and developing lasting relationships. I had eventually found a company that not only believed in me but more importantly I had found two women who wanted me to succeed. To take me on their fantastic journey with them. And they have coached, developed and mentored me throughout my journey with Utility People.
Because Angela is so well-connected, we actually got our first Executive Search assignment within 3 weeks of me starting. So it was my turn to show Angela what I could do! The fundamental process of ES, my research skills, approaching candidates, selecting the right ones and presentation of a short-list. We knew we could do it. And once we had successfully placed our first candidate, our reputation just continued to grow. So, we became a very successful division of UP, we like to call ourselves the A team!
A few bumps along the way…
Throughout our journey there have been a few bumps! At the height of our success in 2015 I was diagnosed with cancer. It’s that word that everyone dreads and I was no different. It’s not just your immortality that is questioned but also your existence. The normal everyday things you do and love. I loved my job, ES was my baby, I loved working for UP and I didn’t want to stop. But I knew I had to.
A supportive environment…
Angela and Linda were as supportive as ever (although I must give credit to my husband at this point – he was my rock throughout). They told me not to worry, deal with the treatment, and when I was ready to come back to work. To ease myself back into the job and not rush things. I remember calling the office after my treatment, only 4 months after diagnosis, and speaking with Angela, asking her how things were going? She told me to go away, she was holding the fort for me, and to properly get myself better.
Not only did they support me emotionally throughout this awful time, they also helped financially. Not once did they mention salary. Not once did they say we can’t wait for you to come back. We need to take on someone else, and not once did they say, you will get though this, they said… WE will get through this!
My second bump came in 2018, a complication which was a result of my treatment in 2015. And again my rock (husband) and my support blocks (A&L) were by my side. All supporting me on yet another traumatic personal journey.
Managing my work:life balance…
My commitment to UP started from day one of joining, they showed me I could be anything I wanted to be, they were patient when I doubted myself and pushed me out of my comfort zone when I needed it. I have thrived in my job and want to be the best I can be, but also the best I can be for UP. I work my butt off, but I know that when I need some personal time, I don’t need to ask, I get a look from Angela that says, seriously why are you asking me that.. haha!
Angela believes in developing people, and empowers and mentors all those around her. Angela and Linda are the brand of Utility People and there is a good reason for that. They care about the people they work with, they have integrity, passion, dedication and trust which would not surprise you to learn are our core values as a business.
So maybe you should all consider where you are in your working journey. Identify your drivers, understand what’s important to you – have you found the job that you were born to do? But most of all, make sure you find a company that values and EMPOWERS you – just like I have!