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Returning to work: Michael Pengelly

Case Study: Michael Pengelly, FMA – Team Leader

What was the reason for your career break, and how long was your break?

My role was made redundant, so it was an involuntary career break. If you include my gardening leave and notice period, I was out of work for 12 months.

Returning from a career break, what was important to you when considering a new role / company?

I wanted to have the opportunity to work within investment management, in particular equities.  The culture of the company is a huge factor to me, and where you are a member of a team, not just an employee ID. I love the idea of being able to make a difference.

How did you search for a new role, and how would you describe this experience?

I used numerous forms of job searching tools, from agencies, career websites, company websites, social networking, ex colleagues, friends, and friends of friends. The experience was draining, tiring and zapping. It is hard to explain what redundancy and unemployment does to your self-confidence.

What attracted you to M&G Investments?

I have an ex colleague and friend who supported me in my job search from day 1 of my redundancy. He has never said anything but great things about working for M&G, and is the reason I am here today. From my short experience, Investment Management seems a much more friendly industry than banking.

How would you describe the support you received when you returned?

My initial experience from working at M&G has been first rate. From the induction, training, social activities, expert speakers in the auditorium and Mind Matters, an employee network which raises awareness and reduces the stigma of mental health.  There is so much to learn at M&G, which all help you in your career.

Has your career developed since?

I joined M&G on a 6 month contract in March to look at Equities procedures; I was extended to a 12 month contract, then offered a permanent role, and was promoted in October to a Team Leader in the Equity FMA team. Some of this was maybe due to luck and circumstances, but also down to M&G spotting and encouraging an employee who is keen and proactive.

What advice would you give to individuals considering returning to work?

Periods of time off work whether through your own choice or involuntarily can be very difficult, and can really test your mental strength. When looking to return to work, don’t just put the blinkers on career wise, look at different industries, volunteer, and ask your friends and family about their jobs.

Even if it’s just a short term solution, doing any form of work gives you a purpose and a reason to get up, and the effect on your self-confidence if exponential. Always try and remain positive, as that comes across in interviews, proactive, by showing you stand out from the crowd, and persistent, never give up, as you will eventually get where you want to be.

Any other comments?

Since returning to work and joining M&G I feel like I have started my career again. I am keen, proactive, happy, friendly, and that is the infectious culture that M&G offers. Changing industries from banking to investment management was the best thing I ever did.

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