Susan was a chartered accountant with a high-flying career until she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
After attempts to continue, her career faltered but she still needed and wanted to work.
She had some ideas of her own and Into Work helped her identify what jobs she might go for.
This was a big learning curve but when ‘the job’ came up, she was ready – and got it.
The full story
Susan’s expertise was in finance. As a qualified Chartered Accountant, and specialist in corporate tax, she worked for a number of large financial institutions for over 20 years. This was a career she loved and carried a lot of responsibility – goals, deadlines etc and people to manage.
10 years ago she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. The treatment left her with symptoms, such as poor memory, problems retaining new information, prioritising and multi-tasking. She also experiences migraines, fatigue and nausea. Susan tried to return to work but, over time, it became apparent to both her and her employer that her symptoms limited the work she could do. She started changing jobs more often. She even tried self-employment. Finally, in her last job she didn’t pass probation and the associated stress only exacerbated her symptoms. Vicious cycle.
Susan heard about Into Work via word of mouth. When she came to us she had taken the large step of accepting her position and wanted to discuss a new career using more of her many personal attributes – maybe doing something for a charity. She wanted to give something back, because so many people had helped her. She definitely wanted to work, and knew that part-time hours would suit her best. On top of her own challenges she also had caring responsibilities herself. She was willing to drop her salary in order to do a job that she could succeed in, now that she had a disability.
Together with her Employment Adviser she looked at her skills in-depth. They looked at job descriptions to identify her likes and dislikes and considered various options. Her Employment Adviser sent her an email after every meeting with what had been discussed and any action points she needed to follow up on. Susan liked playing her part in the process.
In the end, the right sort of job came along quicker than expected. This was a part-time role with a charity as a Finance Co-ordinator. This was a much lower level than she was used to but something she could cope with. So, luckily, she didn’t have to endure any rejected applications.
Susan and her Employment Adviser spent a lot of time getting this application just right. Susan had to learn to move away from corporate jargon, putting more of an emphasis on her softer skills to show she identified with the charity’s values. As well as interview practice, her Employment Adviser asked the employer for details of the interview format and questions as a reasonable adjustment due to her poor memory. This allowed her to better prepare and be on an equal footing with other candidates.
After a successful interview, she was offered the job where she is thriving. The employer is delighted with her contribution.