I’m Janine King and I’m the partnership finance manager.
I joined Irwin Mitchell because I thought the role sounded really interesting and I liked how it built on my existing skills, prioritised flexibility and emphasised opportunities for growth.
I used to be able to see and now I can’t, but I don’t think that affects me as a person. I don’t mind being called disabled because it’s relevant, but I don’t want it to define me.
A Sudden Change
When I was 18, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour which damaged my optic nerves. It very quickly changed the way I lived. I can’t see out of my left eye and my right eye isn’t great, so I’ve got no depth perception. The vision I do have is quite blurry.
For the first couple of months, during my A-levels, I just soldiered through, pretending it hadn’t happened. I then did some work with the Royal National Institute of Blind People. It was just taking phone calls, but it involved training on using a screen reader and it really increased my confidence ahead of going to university.
On a day-to-day basis, being blind is quite disruptive with getting around, navigating new places and working in general. But I tend to do most things on my laptop or phone, where they read things out loud, which is helpful.
My Support Network
Since my brain tumour, my friends and my family have been great. They’ve always been really caring and they’ve never changed the way they treat me.
My colleagues are also important to my success. We work well together and everyone’s been really supportive. I talk to my team regularly and they’re always on hand to help if I have any questions. They’re all really easy to talk to.
When I joined Irwin Mitchell, I liaised with the occupational health team and they provided me with my preferred screen reader and software. They really listened and responded to my needs – that’s the human touch that matters to me.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve also made the Irwin Mitchell website more accessible for screen readers, which I’m really proud of.
Passion For Numbers
I’m a chartered accountant and I’ve worked in a variety of roles throughout my career from audit to corporation tax roles. This role is more focused on personal tax, with a bit of corporation tax and some wider accounting.
I work closely with the partners here and deal with their finances. It’s partly a tax role, partly accounting and also educating them. I talk them through how to deal with being self-employed. I’ve always loved numbers, so this job suits me very well. I also enjoy explaining concepts to people who aren’t familiar with them in plain English.
The Value Of Balance
I really appreciate the flexible by choice policy here. I prefer working from the office and I’ve grown used to seeing the same people in reception every day. I like the fact that I can work from the Leeds office or the Sheffield office, as well as having the opportunity to work from home.
I find it refreshing that we don’t have to commit to always being in once place, and I can stay at home when I need to. This flexible approach also allows me to balance my time around my doctor’s appointments and that’s always been really beneficial.
An Inclusive Culture
I think it’s important to recognise people who’re similar to you in an organisation. It helps you to understand that you could also fit in well.
I’ve heard about the diversity group IM Able, which focuses on issues relating to disability and long-term health issues at work. I’m really looking forward to getting involved in this group in the future once I’ve got to grips with my new role.
Work For Us
I’d encourage anyone to apply for a job at Irwin Mitchell. I only joined this year, but I’ve been welcomed and supported from the very beginning. You’ll really enjoy the support, the culture and the opportunities to learn and grow – it’s simply a great place to work.
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