What matters most to me is

As someone who has struggled with undiagnosed autism, I like to support others who are neurodiverse. I enjoy helping people make sure they get the adjustments they need at work so they can really thrive.

My journey so far…

I grew up in a small seaside town near Newcastle, but I always struggled in school. As the ‘goth’ in the corner who nobody wanted to speak to, I was unpopular and lacked confidence. I found schoolwork difficult too and didn’t get the grades I was hoping for. I dabbled in different jobs before deciding to apply to Deloitte. I didn’t really know what to expect and was apprehensive because I’d spent my early years feeling as though I wasn’t going to be successful. But I was given the chance to be part of a skilled team and study for accounting qualifications.

Then I became aware of the Neurodiversity Network. A lot of what was described really resonated with me and I decided to get tested for autism. I was diagnosed in 2021, and suddenly everything fell into place. Growing up I’d always felt different and tried to do things in a certain way. I now realise this was a process called masking, where you disguise your true self to fit in with neurotypical behaviours. It took huge amounts of energy from me, which is likely why I’d underperformed in my work.

My neurodiversity has become more apparent as I have increased in seniority, but I know that I can always ask for help. One example is the software tool I use for recording conversations. It will create a transcript for me, so that I can go back over the conversation and look for any nuance I might have missed. It’s also about making your environment work for you. If all my energy is being spent worrying about behaving in the right way, it means I am less able to focus on the areas I am good at. At Deloitte, I’m able to work from home and take regular breaks from meetings to focus on my paperwork. These are things I find really helpful, as it can be overwhelming to have constant conversations with people.

Work that matters

I work in the Audit Delivery Centre in Newcastle, performing checks on the audits we do. The information we are providing is helping to build trust in business, and I’m proud to be part of a team that will hold businesses to account. Knowing that the work I am doing is helping to build public confidence is part of what drives me to do a good job.

Outside of my main role, I am an active member of the Neurodiversity Network, helping others to get the support they need if they’re struggling. I also speak at events to help raise awareness by sharing my own story. I know that I struggle with chatting- that’s not where my skills lie. But I’m good at helping to organise events and direct people to information they might find useful.

Highlights from my week

Monday

The Audit team sends us checklists that we need to process, and we highlight any issues we find. I immediately flag an error I spot with the booking. I’m pleased that it’s been spotted so quickly, as it won’t affect delivery time.

Tuesday

I did a review of a junior colleague’s work, which gave me the opportunity to do a coaching session. I really enjoy supporting people to learn by providing them with constructive feedback, including all the things they’ve done well and how to improve in certain areas.

Wednesday

I was invited by one of the directors to do a dyslexia spotlight session. I was able to share feedback from the neurodiversity network about the support tools and adaptations people need.

Thursday

I prepared a project plan and got some great feedback from my manager. I am interested in developing my project management skills and this was a great learning experience

Friday

I wrote an article about what is important to me in neurodiversity. After work I logged off to go and spend the weekend with my family.

My weekend looks like

I’m a family man first and foremost, and I’m married with three children. We love going to explore local sites together, especially museums. I’m an ex-musician – I used to be in a band, but I still play bass guitar in my spare time. It’s nice to be able to teach my kids about music as well. I’m also an avid gamer, so I always keep up with my gaming on the weekends.

3 things I’ve learned

1

How to overcome your fears

I came to Deloitte with no degree and no experience in the area I was joining and worried I wouldn’t be good enough. I’m now studying qualifications in accounting and learnt that anyone can succeed with the right support in place for them
.

2

Don’t judge a book by its cover

When I first joined Deloitte, I was worried about giving the right impression. I cut my hair short and changed my image to make myself fit in. I soon learnt that you can be yourself, whatever that may look like. I grew my hair back over lockdown and I no longer have to mask my neurodiversity or hide myself away.

3

Nobody is perfect

Hard work, accuracy in planning and a good quality outcome is important, but no one is perfect. I used to think people in senior positions were faultless, but I’ve learned that everyone is human. It’s not about getting side-lined by errors, but recognising where you have gone wrong and how you can learn from it.

Documentary recommendation

Inspiration4 Mission to Space

This documentary is about the first all civilian orbital mission, tracking the recruitment process and steps to get there. I really enjoyed hearing all the individual stories, but for me the message to take away is that we can do anything. It inspires people to break away from the idea of limits, which I think it important for anyone who is setting goals for themselves, whether in the workplace or in their personal lives.

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