By Sarah Kitchener
Before joining the Ministry of Testing, I was caught in a toxic working environment which was having a detrimental effect on my mental health and family life.
I worked as a Finance Manager for a local company in Lewes. I was promoted to this role but also retained my already full workload from my previous role. Added to this, I also inherited a lot from my line manager and was dragged into things that weren’t specifically related to my job. It was all getting a bit too crazy.
In addition, my annual leave was restricted and not to be taken in the first two weeks of each month or during the whole month of August. With a young child at school, not being able to take time off in August caused no end of stressful arrangements each year. This partnered with spiteful office politics began to take a negative effect on my mental health and the relationships with my Husband and Son, Sidney. I kept saying ‘ I love my Accounting work, but I just wish I was able to do it at home’.
Is This Job Too Good To Be True?
While studying one evening, I noticed a remote Bookkeeping job based in Brighton which took me to the MoT jobs board. It seemed a little too good to be true and finally at 9 pm I decided to email off my CV. The following afternoon I received an email from Graham (TechBoss) asking to meet with him in Brighton. I was extremely nervous but I felt the meeting had been very positive. While travelling back home, I received a text from Rosie (FounderBoss) asking to meet in Lewes for a chat. Speaking to Rosie and seeing her passion for the MoT community was very inspiring. The focus on maintaining the community feel and support for each other was something I feel was definitely missing from my current job.
Shortly after I received a job offer from Rosie for the role as MoneyBoss (by far my favourite job title). Upon accepting the offer, I then spoke with Richard (BossBoss) who welcomed me to MoT and made sure I had everything I needed ready for my start date. From the very beginning, I had been welcomed and looked after. Richard made it clear that MoT would be a great place to work, especially for people with young families. This ethos is ingrained in MoT from Rosie, who is a mother of 5. There are no fixed hours at MoT, unlimited holidays and everyone is fully remote, providing complete flexibility to each individual. This allows MoT staff to fit work around their life, not their life around work. After hearing this, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, and I spent the evening celebrating with my family with a genuine feeling of happiness.
I hadn’t up to then realised just how unhappy I was. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my Accounting role, I was so bombarded with unrelated things and office politics that I was more and more unable to focus and work to my own high standard. I continuously felt very anxious and stressed. This feeling filtered into my personal life and affected the relationships of people close to me. The constant pressure put on me by management to be working, even during time off, was ruining time spent with my Son. The restrictions to my annual leave caused stresses between myself and my Husband as we had no help with childcare and it mainly fell on him to cover anything that came up. The guilt constantly ate away at me and I felt that I was being made to prioritise work over my family.
The Start of a Better Work-life Balance
I joined the Ministry of Testing as MoneyBoss in August 2018 during the end of the school summer holidays. This meant that I spent 2 weeks with Sidney during August and we went to Eastbourne Airshow together midweek. This was the first time I’d been off in August in the 5 years since he started with a childminder/nursery.
The very first thing MoT gave me was a work-life balance and I couldn’t be more grateful. I have since been able to help at school as well as pick up my son when he has been sick. I am taking time to work on my own mental and physical health as well as continuing my AAT studies. I get to work alongside the awesome Bosses (they really are awesome!) and have been welcomed into the MoT community from the start.
I’m still learning about all the things MoT and it’s a great journey to be on. My first TestBash will be TestBash Brighton 2019 and I can’t wait to meet people in the community and witness their passion first hand. Most importantly though, I am no longer made to feel guilty for being a Mum who has a career.
Sarah Kitchener is MoneyBoss for Ministry of Testing. When she is not keeping the books in check, she is usually found in a skatepark spending time with her Son, Sidney, and Husband, Matt. She is also continuing to study her AAT Level 3 qualification.
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