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Best of both. How Barclays helped me find the right balance between my life and career.

Sarah Webb
By Sarah Webb | February 2, 2017

I am the Managing Director of the Global Payment Network at Barclaycard and I’m also mum of two children who are nine and three.

I guess the best way to describe my job would be to say that the team I head up ensures customers can use their cards whenever and wherever they want, and that merchants can accept their payments as well. This includes managing the contractual and operational relationships with payment networks like Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Having a child and developing in my career was no problem at first, however when my second was born, the added responsibilities and the long commute from Dorking to London each day made me revaluate my options. I wanted to see if there was a way that I could continue in a job that I loved but get a better balance with my home life. So, I made the decision to have an open and honest dialogue with my line manager. That’s how we worked out a part-time solution, so that I could – as the title suggests – have the best of both worlds. In March 2015 I returned to work three days a week, then in July 2016 I changed to four days a week, but with one day working from home.

At first I was nervous. My line manager was very supportive but the problem was I was trapped by this perception I had that working part-time somehow meant I wouldn’t have a fulfilling career and that my relationship with my team would crumble due to me being out of the office. So, the first thing that I had to change was my way of thinking and thanks to quite simply the culture at Barclays about these things, I quickly found out that my career was just as serious working part-time as it was working full-time.

The second thing is I learned to trust my team more and to give them more control. They haven’t disappointed me and actually it’s built a stronger bond between us and helped everyone develop new skills, including myself. It was amazing when it just dawned on me – I don’t have to make every decision but every decision that I make has to count. I’m proud to say that last year my team had some of the highest scores on the employee opinion survey across all of Barclaycard.

I think it’s important that people reflect on the things that happen to them. Working part-time, being supported by Barclays and by my colleagues – everything has been wonderful but I never forgot how nervous I was in the beginning. That’s why I felt like it was my responsibility to let others know that there were these options in place, that Barclays wants to support its employees and empower them to find the right balance in their life.

I now hold regular sessions with men and women returning to work where I share my story. A number of colleagues have also come seeking advice from me about part-time work. I’m really proud to be able to help them and let them know that the opportunities are out there and that Barclays is there for them every step of the way.

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