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Be loyal to yourself before you are loyal to your employer

I have stayed loyal to IAPT but I’ve never stayed loyal to a service, and I believe this is the reason I have been able to progress as quickly as I did.

I was born and raised in Sunderland, I attended 9 trainee PWP interviews before gaining a place on the course. These interviews took place all over, from Newcastle to Norfolk and everywhere in between. I got accepted at a service in Kent so off I went. When I qualified, I was offered a permanent post in the service, but I wanted to move closer to home… so off I went to Teesside for a qualified PWP post.

I stayed there for a year or so before I began applying for trainee CBT posts – again, I applied at Liverpool, London, and probably a few others. My first interview was at London and that’s the one I got offered so I didn’t bother attending the others, including the one where I was already working, because who turns down a place at the Institute of Psychiatry?!

I did my training, and again was offered a permanent post in that service. It was a non-NHS service who didn’t pay as well as the NHS… so off I went again for a better paid job in the NHS as a qualified CBT Therapist, which to this day, is the best service I ever worked in. I don’t know how it is there now, but I met a lot of my closest friends there and have very fond memories of working there, also the best Clinical Lead I’ve experienced who was a great role model to me.

I stayed there two years and then found out the funding was being cut and we would all need to reapply, so I applied for my first senior CBT job thinking I had no chance, but I was offered it. So off I went to Buckinghamshire to be a Senior CBT Therapist. I was there 2.5 years and then saw a Deputy Clinical Lead post come up in London, so I applied for that and was successful.

By this point I had enough of living in London. Even on a higher salary I couldn’t afford to live by myself so I began applying for jobs in York which is where I always wanted to live. This was my first non-IAPT role and I took it purely as a chance to move to York (ironically, I moved for it, was in the office for 4 weeks and then got sent to work from home due to Covid).

It was a cooperate organisation and a good experience, but it wasn’t aligned with my values so I resigned without a new job in place. I did fall into a Clinical Lead job within IAPT providing maternity cover which was initially for 6 months, then extended to 9 months which is where I am now – until tomorrow which is my last day.

Am I loyal? Absolutely, to the things that matter to me. I know that no one will ever value my time as much I do. Through all the services I have worked in, I have met some brilliant Clinical Leads who have been excellent role models, and I have also seen some excellent examples of the kind of Lead I don’t want to be. Had I stayed in one service the past 10 years, I would not have had these good and bad role models which have helped me become the Clinical Lead I am today (which based on feedback I receive from my team, I know I am pretty good at)

So if you are in the early stages of your career my advice is to be loyal to the service whilst you’re in it, work hard and go above and beyond what is expected from you so that if an opportunity is presented you, you know you are worthy of it. If the opportunity doesn’t come when you are ready for it, go and find it somewhere else.

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