Maeann’s inspirational story on the barriers she faced returning back to the workforce

September 20, 2022

Securing work after taking 5 years off for parental duties is quite a challenge, not only for Maeann but for most women in technology. How do they feel supported in a fast-paced environment? What makes them feel empowered, and seen?

“The first challenge was my headspace around it – I haven’t worked for 5 years, and it pushed me into some sort of emptiness. I didn’t think I could make it to any company! I’m sure a lot of women would relate to this, you feel like you must start from ground zero all over again, especially after facing the bias.”

My first interview was with Lorraine and Michael – looking back at it, I was just throwing around information, I would just freeze after every technical question, I was nervous, my confidence was low, and I had not been interviewed in a long time. The team here at Class were very accommodating, empathetic, and compassionate. They believed in me and then all of a sudden I got the job offer of my dreams. I couldn’t believe it, after months of job searching, this was it.

As a fintech company, everything is fast-paced. It is important for those restarting their career to feel connected and supported at work. How can workplaces help them tackle getting up to speed with everything?

This is what has been good with Class! It is the best onboarding process I have ever experienced – most companies expect you to be up and running on Day 1, but it takes time to get acquainted with what is in place, especially after being away for so long. Class took this very seriously – we are a company that understands its people and their different life situations.

I still remember – on the very first day, I was assigned a buddy during onboarding; her name is Leila! She is a wonderful woman who helped me navigate everything in the office, step-by-step. We sat down for a chat, and I told her that I did not understand any of this – she was super supportive and patient with me! I never even knew what AWS was, I last heard about it when I left work 5 years ago. It was all very new for me, but what’s important is that Class understood my need – I felt empowered.

Alex and the rest of my team were also incredibly supportive! They constantly reminded me that we were one team, and no question is a stupid question. I was always encouraged to be open about what I needed help with, so whenever I was stuck, it was all easy to reach out. My team got me through everything!

What surprised me the most was Class’s focus on employee wellbeing. There are tons of programs and resources in place for everyone! Whether you’re a new parent, or simply someone who likes going to the gym, Class has got you. We are a company that takes headspace seriously – some of our free consultations and memberships are simply the best! I was amazed that we had a WOW wall. From my experience, it was either an amazing team or an amazing culture but never both together. Class proved me wrong here, we are a beautiful blend of great teams and great culture”

How can workplaces not only provide resources but also give the flexibility to make better use of them? As mothers restart their careers, how can we best support their goals?

“The first question that popped up in my head was, I have two kids and what are we going to do with all the pick-ups and drop-offs! What gave me a lot of joy was Class’s flexibility – you rarely get this with other companies. We are easy with our operating hours, which gives me a great work-life balance as a mother.”

There was always a fear of returning to work having been off for so long, but I somehow did it and now I absolutely love it. I embrace that fear now and I hope to empower others to make that leap if they are thinking about it. I expected my job search to go on for at least 6 months, but here I ended up at Class in just a month. I didn’t know I was ready until I was there! Just a little bit of faith and positivity can go a long way, and I want every returner to believe in that”

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