There have really been two stages to my Vodafone career so far: pre-baby and post-baby. My pre-baby career began 16 years ago. I actually joined as a temp, before earning a full-time role with the Credit Control team.
I was seven months pregnant when they decided to promote me to team manager. It was a little unexpected – I was just about to go on maternity leave, so it was a bit of a leap of faith on the company’s part.
I had my little girl and went back to work a few months later. That’s when things really became interesting. A couple of years after returning, I was offered the position of operations manager in our Banbury & Newark office. It was quite a change from my previous remit, as I was suddenly working with both corporate and SME customers.
That period of my career was really enjoyable. I’m someone who thrives on variety, though, and by the end of those six years I was ready to try something different.
Over the next few years, I worked in several different roles, all in different areas of credit. I was dealing with private customers as well as all kinds of corporate clients, which was a great way to learn the ins and outs of the business.
It paved the way for my current position as head of credit managing call centre teams across Manchester, Newark and Stoke. As a senior manager, I’m responsible for over 200 people, so it’s a big responsibilty.
It involves a lot of travelling between my home in Leicestershire and the different offices, not to mention trips to Vodafone HQ down in Newbury. I typically spend two days a week in the Stoke office, two in Manchester, and the remainder floating between Newark and Newbury.
I’m currently racking up about 4,000 miles a month in the car, and I have my fair share of early starts and late finishes. But it balances out. I’m free to manage my own diary, and because the role is so flexible, I’m able to work a day or two from home here or there and to catch up on family life.
That’s something Vodafone do really well – work-life balance. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been here so long, I guess. I was able to work remotely when my daughter first started primary school. It meant I could manage all the parenting duties, like dropping her off and picking her up from school, and still get my day job done.
I also find the work really exciting – I’m constantly out and about, moving around and getting to interact with different people. I can’t see myself wanting to go back to doing the ‘9 to 5’ in the same office.
Each location has its own vibe, which also keeps things interesting. Newbury has a very professional working environment. It’s a great space for meeting customers face-to-face, whereas the call centers have more of a high-tempo atmosphere, which is really energizing.
If I need to book a meeting with a client, I’ll go to Newbury or meet them on their own patch. The rest of my time is spent with my teams. It’s one of the best parts of the job: supporting and developing people and watching them grow, though I love the interaction I have with customers as well.
Who knows where my career will take me next, one thing you quickly grasp working at Vodafone, though, is that they’ll invest in you – look at me and my maternity leave, for example. If you’re committed to the company and put the effort in, you’ll see that commitment paid right back to you.