At This Time I Became Heavily Involved
At this time, I became heavily involved in the trades unions. I applied for and gained various promotions as they arose, and I never felt there were any barriers because I was a woman. The only instance of this occurred when I applied for the post of Head of the Program Unit which was a brand new function, and I didn't get it. They offered it to a man who turned it down and then asked me to do it - but for less money. In all, I was there for about nine years involved in all sorts of amazing things, which you can't do in local authorities now because they're so decentralized.
'I've had a lot of opportunities in my career and have experienced high levels of stress. For a while I worked as lead officer to help create the Women's Department and for nine months was covering two jobs. I applied for and won the position of Assistant Director of Central Services, in Hammersmith, (again in two bites - when no one was chosen the first time, I was offered it the second time). That was my first major management job and I moved to Camden having begun to feel unhappy about the way things were going in Hammersmith and Flam. Until last year I was Assistant Director, Strategy and Support, when I moved to another local authority and chose my own job title of Corporate Director, Partnership and Responsibility.
'A vital component of my success is that my husband and I are a complete partnership, totally balanced. I have tried to behave in a similar way both at work and home rather than acting out a role as a manager, aping the boys, and I feel increasingly more comfortable with that now. I've been trying to be truer to myself at workto say what I think, rather than what will get me promoted and to behave in ways which I think are appropriate. It's been very tough making the transition.
At work I still have the positive conviction that I can develop myself further and I'm doing things that are challenging, because one day I intend to be a chief executive.'
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