Angela's 30 year journey back to the City
It’s now or never, I had told myself. Time for one last attempt to get back to a job in the City; a place I had loved
so much all those years ago.
After six really enjoyable months as the office co-ordinator at Helm Godfrey and after passing my probation with flying
colours, I am so pleased I did.
In 1972, straight out of school, I took a job at the Bank of England. I was a senior computer operator over at New Change, now One New Change near St Paul’s. I worked in the department producing Government bonds and chopping up the Gilt edged securities. Computers were awe-inspiring; the size of modern London flats, but they could only run one program at a time.
We worked a three-shift system, so we were a close knit bunch. We were friends who punched in together and took breaks together and we still keep in touch to this day. It was an exciting time. The technology was fascinating and seemed to be moving at the speed of light. My interest in the new technologies led to me being moved from a sub-office to the computer office Then, in the early ’80s we started testing live link ups to the London Stock Exchange.
After a fantastic decade at the Bank, like many other women, I ended my career to raise children.
As the girls got older, I took part-time jobs, including as a dinner lady, and then spent 16 years as an electrical consultant for a national retailer. But, I could never enjoy it quite as much as I had enjoyed being in the City.
In 2015, something clicked. I realised my girls were all grown up with lives of their own. My eldest, Adele, set off on a year-long tour of Australia and my middle daughter, Hariette, had her own child, Piper, making me a grandma for the first time. I was fast approaching my 40th wedding anniversary and my 60th birthday. If I was going to make the leap to get back to City life, I knew I had to leap now.
Job hunting was disappointing to say the least. I responded to umpteen job applications, but got nowhere. Not a single reply. I felt deflated and started to give up on my dream.
I wanted a job that would utilise my problem solving and organisational skills and my experience in helping members of the public. Aside from working in retail, I had also held a number of positions at the Basildon & District Swimming Club, including secretary and chairperson. Surely, this also demonstrates my people skills and ability to organise and motivate?
Just as I was giving up all hope on ever realising my dream, a friend of my daughter told me about Helm Godfrey. She explained that the company would recognise that the skills I had built up over the last four decades were transferable and relevant and that they wouldn’t see my age as a barrier to hiring me.
When they asked me to interview, I was elated. When they offered me the job I was over the moon.
Now, I’m six months into the job and I absolutely love being at Helm Godfrey. I’m so pleased I made the decision to chase my dream and would encourage other people in a similar position to just go for it.
Job hunting later in life can be daunting, but it’s reassuring to know that there are some companies out there that value a person for the experience and skillset they have rather than just dismissing them because they are older.
When I turned 60, I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t feel that I was ready for retirement. I think attitude to life is far more important than a number. I’m glad the managers at Helm Godfrey feel the same way.