I've been working for HL&W for 2 weeks now so I wanted to give you an insight into where I've already been and where I plan on going next!
Life before HL&W
I remember being asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grow up.
My answers: A teacher, a vet or the person who gets to test Jaffa cakes.
I’m nearly 26 and I still find myself asking “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
Admin, finance and offices were never part of my plan.
After leaving school with excellent GCSEs but below standard A-Levels due to spinal surgery, I had to say goodbye to being a teacher or a vet and I’d had my fair share of Jaffa cakes during revision so I crossed that off my list too.
I was however unphased. I applied to university to study a Diploma in Adult Nursing and on my 18th birthday received an unconditional offer from the University of Surrey. This was now my plan, my career… or so I thought.
18 months into my studies, the manual requirements of nursing took its toll on me and my now fragile spine.
I was destined for a more seated future.
So after typing “office work” into Google, I fired around applications to all sorts of industries looking for administrators. It wasn’t long before I was hired as an Aftersales administrator for a local garage.
I loved paperwork! I loved scanning, filing, implementing procedures and being the go-to person. I didn’t like cars, I didn’t like dirt and I absolutely did not like the smell of car fumes 9 hours a day.
So I set out looking for a cleaner working environment.
That’s when I found finance, or it found me.
I spent the next 3 years working as an Operations Administrator for a small invoice finance company which was eventually taken over by a larger bank.
In this time, I got married, bought a house and even started an Open University degree.
The company grew, the client base grew, the number of staff grew but I didn’t feel like I was growing.
I’d become comfortable and unchallenged.
So my soul searching continued and a local job hunt placed me as a Collections Advisor for the leasing division of a big European bank. With the gift of hindsight, I can see I was never suited to this role. Collections requires another level of confidence and you definitely need thick skin.
After a year of telling myself to persevere and “it will come with experience”, I found myself scrolling the job sites again for something either more “adminy” or “financey”.
That’s when I found HL&W.
2 Weeks in
I’ve never felt so at home at work! I’ve never worked with “proper finance” but I’ve been so supported since my first day that I’ve had no issues getting well and truly stuck in.
It’s ticking all my boxes- local, busy and friendly colleagues. I feel like my thoughts and opinions matter and even after just 2 weeks I feel like part of the furniture. And while I’m not offered a lifetime supply of Jaffa cakes, we are given an allowance each day to spend in the local café at lunch time.
Of course, there is still LOADS to learn but I’ve already been offered the chance to progress through courses and qualifications. With the world of accountancy and wealth management always changing, there is no danger of this role becoming stagnant and for the first time in a long time, I’m excited by the prospects ahead of me. I’ve already been telling my friends and family about how HL&W is going to mould me into either a Paraplanner or an Accountant… I guess I finally know what I’m going to be when I grow up.