The career questions to ask now
Want the best out of your work? Ask for help. The outcome can be transformative, say these three inspirational women
Be inspired by these three go-getters from Sky
CAN I WORK FLEXIBLY? GEORGINA FAULKNER, 40, HEAD OF SKY MULTI SPORT
“Aged 30, I fell pregnant with my first child and started to wonder how I’d manage with a baby and a full-on job as a Sky Sports producer. I knew I didn’t want to give up my job, but equally I wanted to take my son to nursery. I needed flexibility.
I spoke to my manager, who helped me put together a request for a three-day week. In order to continue producing my own shows, I agreed that my three days would be varied – sometimes I’d do a 9am-5pm day in the office planning an event, and others might entail working from 2pm-10pm to produce a show. I sacrificed having an orderly schedule and embraced the juggling act. In a ‘normal’ week, I’d pick up and drop off my children two days a week but, if I’d worked a day at the weekend, I would have three days off in the week. Sports production doesn’t adhere to traditional office hours, so the flexibility had to work both ways.
It was chaotic at times, but working flexible hours transformed my life. I had proper time to devote to work and home, so felt less torn.
My children are now eight and six, but I still relish the versatility. My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and having quality time with him is great.
I took on a more senior role last year, but management was really receptive to my request for a four-day week. I’m so glad I asked if I could work flexibly and now strive to ‘pay it forward’ when my employees request the same.
When it comes to flexibility, the most important thing is to start the conversation. Be honest about what you want. When your circumstances change, it’s important you find the right arrangement. It might take a while to figure out what works for your home and work life, but it’s worth it!”
SHOULD I CHANGE CAREER? JESS GENDALL, 28, PLANNING MANAGER, SKY TRADING
“I started at Sky as a recruitment researcher. I enjoyed it, but marketing was my passion. So, after two years, I began looking for a job in the marketing team. I asked my line manager if she thought I should change careers. Thankfully, she was great, and actively encouraged me to seek out a role I’d enjoy.
When a marketing job came up last year, I jumped at the chance and was really excited when I got it.
If you’re thinking of changing careers, don’t underestimate the skills you’ve built in your current role. Also, use your internal network. My boss and contacts in marketing were so helpful.”
HOW CAN MY NETWORK HELP MY NEXT CAREER MOVE? SILVIA BENEDETTO, 36, HEAD OF STRATEGY FOR SKY CINEMA
“After three years in a role at a French cable TV channel, I met my British husband and moved to the UK.
To help find a new role, I pored over lists of past students at the business school I attended, looking for those working in UK media. I also contacted headhunters.
Some gave general advice, others gave insight into the culture of particular firms. With each conversation, I came closer to discovering what I wanted to do.
I saw a role for group strategy manager at Sky and, the following day, a headhunter also suggested I apply for it. I was excited to get the job in December 2011.
Don’t be afraid to network to get to where you want to go – look to school friends, colleagues in your preferred business areas, and consider networking events.”