Diversity & Inclusion

Returning to Work at EY: Relaunching my career after a 13-year break.

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and for Sue Urquhart, that meant taking a 13 year break from paid work to raise her young family, a daughter and two sons. Here Sue shares her Return to Work story, and how EY's approach to flexible working and open minded approach to exploring possibilities has supported and encouraged her on the journey.

I’m Sue, and I am a Manager in EY’s Infrastructure Advisory group which is part of Transaction Advisory Services (TAS). I have recently returned to work having had a 13 year break from paid work to raise our 3 children – a daughter and two sons.

When I first left work to have my daughter, I would never have imagined that I would have such a lengthy career break. However, sometimes life throws up unexpected detours.  Both of my sons had some health issues entailing daily treatment, requiring my time and assistance to manage.

During the time I was at home with my children, I also undertook further study in Finance, and was involved in administrating a number of different sporting clubs, and was involved with my children’s schools.

With the health issues well managed, and my children all at school, I decided it was time for me to return to work.

When I decided to return to work, I approached one of the mums where my children attend school, who works at EY.  I organised to have a coffee with her and discussed my background and skills.  Before long, she came back to me and indicated that the Infrastructure Advisory team were interested in my CV and would like to meet up with me.

During the recruitment process, I met a number of people from the team, all of whom were very open to my potential return to work after such a long break. At the same time, I used the opportunity to get a good understanding of the work environment in the team.

I had some concerns about returning to work in TAS, due to a perception of inconsistent hours and the sometimes pressing nature of the deadlines, and how I would manage this, along with three active children and a husband with a busy job as well.  The recruitment process enabled me to explore EY’s expectations of me, and for me to be sure that I could meet these expectations in the context of the rest of my life.

The team of people I met were also very open to me returning on a part time basis as well.  I work four days per week, however working three or five days per week were also possibilities.

Flexible working is supported and encouraged at EY. And the technology provided at EY is a real enabler to working flexibly, should I be required to do so because of a family commitment.

Whilst I did not undertake any specific return to work program, the Reconnect program sounds like a fabulous idea, returning as part of such a group would be very beneficial.  It would allow you to extend your network, not only from a work perspective, but also with others who are facing similar challenges to you, and who may be able to share their strategies on how to manage the transition back to work.

For those of you reading this wondering whether you should apply or not, my advice would be:

  1. Definitely get on and apply! Make sure you use the process to get a clear view of the expectations that would be required of the role, should you decide to return to work
  2. It is really important to think about your own personal brand and how you deliver it and communicate it succinctly
  3. Spend some time thinking about how you are going to manage the priorities other than work in your life if you return to work, i.e. health, family, friends, and sleep. Your continued wellbeing is vital!
  4. Consider making some allowances for you and your family in the early months, i.e. getting in some additional assistance with your children or outsourcing some part of your weekly routine that will lighten your load, if you decide to transition back to work. Whilst my husband and I share the morning drop offs, we have a great babysitter, who my kids adore, and who is able to manage the after school period for our family, flexibly dealing with the challenges it sometimes throws up!

Returning to work has been an immensely positive experience for me.  I am really enjoying the challenges it provides me.  In many respects, it has been a bit like riding a bike after an extended break.  My skills have all come back to me.  But I have also realised just how many additional skills I have developed during my career break, and how I can offer these in my work life.

Applications for EY Reconnect, EY’s return to work program, and the first in Australia to offer opportunities in Perth are open now.  FlexCareers are excited to be supporting EY, you can find out more and apply here.

This article was first published by EY and is republished here with kind permission.  You can view the original here.


Similar posts