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February 20, 2022

Juggling dyslexia, motherhood, and work


Jessica Pilling

When Andrew asked me to write this month’s blog, I was incredibly nervous. However, I knew that he wouldn’t ask me to do something that I wasn’t capable of.

The kickstart I needed

I first met Andrew at an careers event in Rugby.  The event was focussed on promoting the government’s Kickstart Scheme, designed to help people back into work. At first, I was very sceptical about the event, as I really didn’t think it would lead to much, but how very wrong I was - the Kickstart Scheme turned out to be a fantastic opportunity.

I have been working for Andrew for a couple of months now.  I must admit that I was so nervous at the start but, day-by-day, the nerves have got better and I am feeling much more confident now.

Dyslexia and me

As I am dyslexic, I do find challenges along the way, but I am truly grateful that Andrew hasn’t shied away from me – he has given me equal opportunities, and is happy to support me. We work well together, and I think Andrew’s support is a massive part of this.  A key point for any employer reading this is that all employees should be treated as individuals, and their differences are what define them – and these differences should be supported, not suppressed.

Personally, I found that some companies just simply didn’t want to entertain me due to my individual needs, and it became so deflating.  Just because I learn differently or may take me a little bit longer to get to grips with new things, it does not mean that I am incapable - it just means that I am different. And aren’t we all different in our own way?  Otherwise, we would all be carbon copies of each other and life would be very boring!

Workplace flexibility

I am a mother – I have a three-year-old child.  Andrew’s support and understanding has been invaluable to me.  Being able to work remotely is one thing, but being able to work around my child is really appreciated. The last couple of years have shown that workplace flexibility is important for many employees – to maintain a healthy work/life balance, but also to maintain our mental wellbeing.

As Andrew always says: “your people are your biggest asset”.

It is important to treat your staff, team, or employees (whatever you prefer to call them) as individuals – listening to them, providing support, and understanding their individuality creates a happier workforce, which in turn increases productivity. A study by Oxford University found that happier staff are 13% more productive.  You can read more here.

Celebrate differences

I know many others who have learning difficulties have been made to feel the same, but for those of you that do struggle for whatever reason, I just want to take a moment to tell you that you are capable, you are not ‘thick’ or ‘stupid’ - you are amazing and incredible. I am so happy that my employer saw beyond my dyslexia, but also supports me with it, rather than trying to brush it under the carpet.

I am really enjoying my time so far here at AJB HR Consultancy for many reasons.  I really enjoy my job role - it can be hard and busy at times, but it can also be rewarding in the same breath.  I also like the flexibility that this job offers - I can work from the office with Andrew, or I can work from home with my child – either way, I am being kept on my toes!

Get in touch

There are plenty of ongoing changes in the world of HR.  If you need support with anything such as hiring, recruitment, contracts, handbooks, grievances, disputes, or anything else HR-related, please do get in touch.

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