How did you get started in your career and what drew you to the organisations you have worked for?
I left school early and went straight into work. I worked for the government as they allowed me a flexible working plan as I was playing semi-professional football at the time. I have moved through many roles throughout the years and have transferred through four organisations before arriving with Accenture in 2003. I have always enjoyed IT and the cut and thrust of operations. Arriving in Accenture really felt like I had landed in a company that really understood me and what I wanted.
How do you manage your disability at work?
Honestly, often with great difficulty. Despite being medicated for my bipolar, there are still significant peaks and troughs that I work through. Whilst the highs are useful in dealing with key activities and pressure scenarios, the inevitable lows that tend to follow those situations can be tough to deal with in terms of keeping a steady balance of being an employee with a busy workload. I have however been helped to find a series of coping mechanisms and strategies to work through and level off those balances to be successful.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
The main criteria has been flexibility. I can work remotely, be flexible around hospital appointments and able to provide the balance between work and home life, being a Dad and being the Delivery Lead.
This is all backed up by a terrific rewards package which opens up the ability to contact dedicated health lines, health care providers and a whole range of tools to assist with accessibility and learning.
Accenture’s award winning Mental Health Allies programme has been a great contributor in spreading the word and breaking the stigma around mental health. The Mental Health Allies are volunteer representatives from the business who have stepped forward to act as a ‘go to’ person for people seeking support or information for someone else on mental health.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
Please, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to people, confide in a friend and seek help if you think something isn’t right. You will not be judged and people will want to help out.
What has been the most challenging part of your job and how have you overcome it?
The most challenging element of the role is the often critical deadlines and associated anti-social hours that can go hand in hand with when systems fail, which itself is obviously unplanned. I have previously mentioned flexibility but ahead of that has been honesty, telling my story and my team, my client and my line manager all understand our own boundaries of each other – we work very well as a team and share the load and are able to be flexible around our own life activities.
What does the average weekend look like for you?
Generally, Saturdays are with the children and their various pursuits and hobbies (number 2 son plays ice hockey) but on Saturday afternoons I still follow my beloved A.F.C Bournemouth whenever possible, or at least via social media or television. Sunday is often a very relaxing day (if not doing things around the house) although most Sundays we tend to tuck into a lunch out before returning home for a nice film and more time together.