Were you open about your disability during the application process? What support was provided to you?
I was not diagnosed at this point, so unfortunately I did not realise that support was open to me. If I had known what disability I had, I would definitely have said when I joined but I would like to think that my disability was irrelevant in the actual application process.
What led you to this role? Why did you choose to join this organisation?
I was really drawn to the variety of the tasks that I would be doing, from putting together award submissions and working on our social media to recruiting placement students for next year. I knew that this would allow me to touch lots of different areas of the business, and give a real contrast to my theoretical course at university. I also really looked forward to the opportunity and responsibility of attending events on behalf of Enterprise and talking to people there – I love seeing new places and meeting new people! From Enterprise’s blogs and social media, as well as my interaction with the team itself, I felt very confident that I would be working for a fun company that values and rewards hard work, so Enterprise was an easy choice for me.
How do you manage your disability at work?
I really need clarity and things to be in order or else I will get overwhelmed. I cannot hold lots of ideas in my head and have to work in a structured way or it’ll just get too much. I work best using my To Do list, which I write in order of importance and with a time estimate. I also feel much better if my desk is neat and ordered. They say a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind, and this is so true to me – a cluttered desk leads to sensory overload and stress. I plan my work with spreadsheets and create plans with deadlines; I struggle with vagueness and don’t react too well with stress – I need a plan of action!
What is your organisation’s approach to disability; how has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
Enterprise does a lot to promote internal advocacy and I know that it is something they are really building on – I was able to talk about my diagnosis at work freely. I needed some time off when my OCD was really bad and I was worried about coming back, but I was quickly reassured that everyone just wanted me to feel better. From that point on I have felt a lot more confident.
Tell us about a personal strength or a valuable plus which you have developed, as a result of your disability. How has it helped you in your career?
Knowing how I work best has been an absolutely huge bonus to me. I now know that I can do whatever tasks I am set, but I may have to approach it in a different way. This gives me a lot more confidence as previously I just didn’t understand why I was struggling with certain things compared to other people which knocked my confidence.
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who wants to pursue a career in the field you work in?
Identify your strengths and play to them, then put in processes to deal with your weaknesses. It is okay to not tackle things the same way as other people do, but you need to ensure that you do what works for you. I know a checklist and process will give me a huge amount of reassurance, so identify what you struggle with then work out how you will alleviate this stress.
Will did his internship with Enterprise from September 2017 to July 2018.