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Picture of James Hagin sharing what belonging means to him at Virgin MediaPicture of James Hagin sharing what belonging means to him at Virgin Media

Careers

What belonging means to me at Virgin Media

James Hagin

Head of Customer Services

March 3, 2022

For our Head of Customer Services in Sheffield, James Hagin, belonging at Virgin Media was something he always felt. James has been with us for a whopping 20 years and in that time he’s thrived, helping his team smash big targets. However, when it came to smashing ceilings and breaking down barriers, James didn’t realise how much being a gay man positively impacted the rest of his colleagues.

It all started with a LinkedIn post

I wrote a LinkedIn post in 2021 reflecting on the previous year. It’s safe to say we all had a tough one. There were lots of hard and horrible moments but I couldn’t have been prouder of my team. They had all been absolutely smashing our targets and embracing challenges and I wanted everyone to know about it. But there was a more important part of that post I wanted to let everyone know; for the first time ever, I was seeing myself as a gay man in a senior role at Virgin Media.

When one of my colleagues told me how seeing a gay man in a senior role gave them hope, it stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly being an employee at Virgin Media had a lot more purpose and that sense of belonging – feeling like you deserve to be where you are – was clearer. It forced me to reflect on my time here.

Finding my place

Being a dedicated employee for over 20 years, I can say I’ve always felt like I’ve belonged at Virgin Media. I’ve loved every minute. It sounds cheesy but I honestly think it’s a dead-cool place. I remember at the beginning of my career when I worked at another company, taking the tram every day and passing the Virgin Media building. I was always so fascinated with it being the only one with fancy swirling doors and I knew that’s where I wanted to be.

I’ve learnt from a great bunch of people in the business, thanks to the company. I’ve also progressed in my career from customer service agent to sales and now into my current role as Head of Customer Services. Through that time, what I loved was that my sexuality was never called into question. It was always about my ability – the way it should be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had those awkward moments in the past when all your male colleagues are talking about football, and I’ve chosen not to get involved because I don’t like the sport. I think for many gay people, this isn’t an unfamiliar feeling. What I’ve realised during my time is that talking to people more in your team and getting to know them will help you gain a deeper sense of belonging. Sometimes people do assume they know what you’ll be into, but at the end of the day, conversations go both ways.

Belonging in our Sheffield office

This is something I feel we’ve really leaned into with the Sheffield Customer Care team. It’s such a wonderful place to work. There are so many different types of people that it’s quite easy to feel accepted and there’s always support around. When it comes to belonging, it’s a great place to start your career because it’s where you get to learn about every department and there are a lot of opportunities to move around the business.

There’s also another cool part about the business which are our networks. I’d never thought about joining our gay network Proudly before, but after learning how I inspired someone on my team, I couldn’t wait to be part of something bigger, which celebrates who we are. I understand the importance for companies to create a space for employees to feel like they belong a lot more. And I truly believe this is a place where many people can find their place.

 

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