I choose to share my story as entering corporate life was a journey I never imagined I’d take. I hope my story can inspire people with neurodivergent conditions to not hold back from applying for a role at Virgin Media O2 or any organisation.
Neurodiversity and me
Before Virgin Media O2, I was running independent record shops, djing and doing the occasional journalism. I’ve now been with the company since 2005. During that time, I’ve worked in the consumer & business sales areas, and since August 2019 I’ve worked in our Network Expansion division.
In late 2021 I was feeling a lot of pressure with added responsibilities I’d taken on at work and my family noticed a change in my day-to-day behaviours. I decided to speak with my GP and the company’s Bupa helpline. By April 2022 I was diagnosed with ADHD. After 40+ years my masking was finally slipping. This was strangely comforting and surprising in equal measures.
Prior to my diagnosis, I’d only given attention to neurodiversity if it was in current affairs. It’s only in the last couple of years that I was aware of it being discussed at Virgin Media O2.
And whilst the company, my colleagues, my family, and I didn’t know about my ADHD prior to 2022, as I look back, I realise I’ve always been getting support and acceptance of who I am and my condition. I believe this says a lot about the company and the people I choose to surround myself with.
I took the personal decision to talk to my line manager about my ADHD. After our conversation, I was relieved I did. He had a sound knowledge of ADHD, which put me at ease as I wasn’t sure what to expect when telling colleagues. The experience was the complete opposite. The New Developments team have been extremely supportive, and it’s also highlighted to them several traits of ADHD that they’ve always accepted me for, like interrupting conversations, overthinking and excessive talking to name but a few.
My Current Life and Career
I believe that Virgin Media is a great place to work if you’re willing to apply yourself. That’s not to say we get it right all the time but what organisation does? In 2018, I was going through a very rough time at work due to organisational changes, and it was the support of my brilliant colleagues (Eileen & Jayne) and my family that kept me at Virgin Media O2. They listened and persuaded me to persevere with an idea that I had for the business. I’m proud to say that idea has become the team I now manage. I had provided our MD with an elevator pitch and several weeks later my business case was under review, and I moved roles.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team are currently providing AllyUp sessions. These sessions offer expert guest speakers that help further our inclusion journey by giving support to staff, and their families and creating greater awareness & education across the business.
The sessions introduced me to a super colleague (Satjinder) and the amazing work she has conducted creating an Accessibility & Inclusivity framework for our consumer division. We’ve now been able to introduce it for consideration to our Network Expansion division.
Since being diagnosed with ADHD I’ve been able to take better control of my life. It’s not all plain sailing, like procrastinating to the deadline for this blog, but I certainly feel like I and the place I choose to work has a better acceptance of me.
Now more than ever, I’m conscious of ensuring I’m always thinking of inclusivity and the people around me. There is still a lot of work for us all to do, but that’s great as Virgin Media O2 is a place for change.