Case Study Competition 2017

“My mentor was very helpful in helping me focus on what I want and giving me the space and encouragement to think of myself as an individual worthy of having career aspirations outside of my current obligations.”

The winner of this year's competition who has received a £25 Amazon voucher is:

congratleanne

Winning case study:-

1) Why did you apply to be a mentor/mentee on the GROW programme?
I heard about how positive the GROW experience was from the colleagues and my manager, so I decided to be brave and give it a go as a mentee. For me, the main aim was to get some advice on what experience I might need if, in the future, I wanted to move sideways out of my current role and into another in the university that is more in line with my interests. However fundamentally, I suppose it was about having the space to consider my own development and career away from feeling obligated to my team. While I'm very competent and well received at work I view myself in a rather vague, apologetic, imposter­syndrome way when it comes to my role as a 'career person', so it took quite the push to sign up for GROW and put myself first.

2) How did participating in the GROW programme help you?
First and foremost it was a great opportunity to chat to a very nice person who works in a wholly different area of the university and to learn about her role. It was a breath of fresh air as usually you only receive circulation mail, secondment notifications and info about your own faculty or department (eg finance). My mentor was very helpful in helping me focus on what I want and giving me the space and encouragement to think of myself as an individual worthy of having career aspirations outside of my current obligations. The way I'm wired, I'm often hesitant about going for opportunities because 'what impact will this have on my team? I like these people too much to want to give them extra work while I'm off on secondment!' or 'I'm happy enough in my work, so why go for the opportunity when I can safely tread water forever' etc. The GROW programme helped me focus on more balance - that while there is no good time to move on, sometimes you have to for yourself, while also being as supportive and engaged with my team as possible. That all this is normal, the key thing is to educate yourself about what you want. That in reality the only person drawing barriers around myself is me.It was very helpful for my self confidence and was supported by practical exercises, like checking ot my CV against the kind of work I'd aspire to try.
In the end, I settled that this sort of sideways jump is ahead a couple of years in my future as for now I'm very content, but it gave me the confidence I need to tell myself that I'm worthy of putting myself first enough to try.

3) Any other comments?
Overall it was a positive experience. At the very least getting out of your office and having a one to one about your personal career with a friendly face is a real breath of fresh air. If you can weather the natural shyness or awkwardness, it's something that is worth giving a try. I would say to people trying for the first time, try to heed the advice the GROW presentation gives you and try to be specific about what you want or need. It'll be more helpful in the long run and, in the process, it might just help you turn the switch in your mind into embracing the inner shoulder-pad-wearing 80s career woman that we grew up watching in the movies. As that's no bad thing.