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Cathy – Working
for HMRC as a

Cathy explains how she came to start working at HMRC and some of the things she loves about working here as a neurodivergent person.  

My Story

Before joining HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), I spent 20 years working in banking management and leadership roles. But leaving that sector meant I took a break to recharge. I’m very entrepreneurial and love innovation, I didn’t think HMRC would be dynamic enough for me, so I never thought I’d see myself in a Civil Service role. One of my friends worked for HMRC and always spoke highly of the supportive environment and development opportunities so I thought I’d try it.

I was diagnosed with multiple neurodivergent conditions later in life, first with ADHD, then with ASC and some other conditions that ASC overlaps with. This means I experience the world very differently to most of my colleagues, I think differently and approach some tasks differently to others. The environment I work in is very important, when this is the correct environment, I can refine my ability to concentrate, closely monitor data and pay attention to detail. In the wrong environment my conditions will affect my ability to work to deadlines and focus on tasks, I may not feel comfortable being my true self and may “mask” that I am just like my colleagues and hide my needs.

I wanted to work for a supportive and modern employer and applied to join HMRC on the strength of my friend’s positive experience. I was nervous about how I would fit in as a neurodivergent colleague and wondered if my style of working would be valued and accepted. I quickly found the workplace and colleagues to be very welcoming and inclusive. I’ve received support to make sure the environment I worked in worked for me as an individual.

I’ve had reasonable adjustments put in place which make things easier for me. I have a standing desk, use speech to text and text to speech (reading) software, I have a wireless headset and use an e-pen for mind mapping ideas to help with my flow of thoughts. I’ve benefitted from several occupational health appointments, ensuring I have suitable adjustments tailored to my needs. I’ve had sessions with an ADHD coach which have been useful and helped me to create strategies for the executive functions.

I am very fortunate to work in a supportive and friendly team. We are based all over the UK and meet up for planning meetings quarterly, my alternative ways have been accepted without question.

I’m a member of several colleague led support groups for neurodiversity and even set up a new group for my region. I’ve met a great community of people like me in the workplace, we communicate in chats and meetings and provide support to each other. I’ve taken on the role of Lead of Disability within my directorate, arranging presentations from colleagues on topics affecting disabled colleagues and customers as part of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team. I was so impressed with the support I had as a neurodivergent colleague that I wanted to promote the benefits we bring to the workplace. I’m on the committee of various cross government neurodiversity working groups and am an active neurodivergent advocate outside of work too.

Some of the things I love about working for HMRC are the diverse workforce, excellent development opportunities, great work life balance and flexible working hours. This gives me the flexibility to work around my personal commitments and how my neurodivergence can affect my life. If you are looking for a rewarding career in public service, I encourage you to apply for a job at HMRC.

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