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

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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.”

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