My Barclays journey started with an internship while I was at university, followed by an offer to join their graduate scheme. But during my final year, I got very ill and was hospitalised for several periods, causing me to miss some of my exams or having to sit some of them in the hospital, while still not having my illness under control. Throughout all that, HR at Barclays and my internship line manager kept in touch and were incredibly supportive and reassuring. Even though I was able to postpone my start date if I wanted to, I pushed through my resits and joined as planned – I was raring to go!
After successfully completing the graduate scheme, I started my current role where I focus on developing our real estate lending offering, particularly for commercial and residential investment property. It involves all sorts of interesting things, from defining our risk appetite and policy to how we can improve customer experience. It’s really varied too: one day I’ll be analysing data to assess our portfolio’s performance, and the next I’m presenting about the benefits of one of our products. The icing on the cake? Being surrounded by a team who always have my back, no matter what.
I have ulcerative colitis, I’ve always been open about my condition. It’s an invisible illness, so if I don’t tell people about it, they just wouldn’t be aware of my situation and why it can sometimes impact me at work. With stress being a potential factor in getting ill, I’m aware of my limits and if I ever feel something’s getting on top of me, I make sure to manage expectations on deadlines or reprioritise my workload. It’s not always easy being open to others, but at Barclays, my colleagues and managers have been so accommodating and understanding. There’s no feeling of judgement whatsoever.
Across the bank, there’s a genuine sense of inclusivity. People are aware of the needs of those around them, and dynamic working is widely adopted. It means I’m able to attend clinic appointments without too much disruption and can easily work from home when I need to. My advice for anyone who’s in a similar position to me? Be honest with yourself and open up to others – there are lots of amazing people out there who’ll encourage your ambition and support you in realising your goals.