- New York
Labber Stories: Sarah Libralato18 October 2022
A few years back, I was at a bit of a career crossroads. Well, in so much as I didn’t really have one, having pressed pause on my career as a senior investment writer to raise a family, 11 years earlier. Now I was looking to return to work, as a single mum, with a gaping hole in my CV, a touch of imposter syndrome and a need for real flexibility (not the four-day-week-9-5-in-the-office variety).
It became clear that roles offering the flexibility I needed were few and far between in asset management, if indeed they existed at all. Also, despite my best efforts to frame my career ‘break’ in a favourable light, it proved to be more of a hurdle than I had expected. All in all, I just wasn’t very employable!
So I decided to go down the freelancing route. I soon had some regular copywriting jobs; the work was varied and interesting and the freedom to work how, when and where I wanted was great on the work-life balance front. But most of my work was outside the financial sector and I was really keen to get back to investment writing. Also, as a freelance writer, you can end up feeling quite alone – my work was with multiple clients, so I didn’t get the sense of being part of a team and there wasn’t a great deal of feedback.
Around this time, I was approached by recruiters for some investment-writing roles – those didn’t amount to anything (the flexible thing again), but Copylab was mentioned and it piqued my interest. I got in touch and was really impressed with what the company had to offer. I loved the edgy branding and the creative approach to investment writing. But what really stood out for me was Copylab’s pioneering approach to flexible working. I knew this could be the ‘path’ back into my career that I was looking for.
A few months and some writing tests later, I was officially a Copylabber!
I officially started working for Copylab in March 2020. Nothing like starting a new job in a global pandemic, after a large career break! I joined the fund-commentary team for one of Copylab’s key clients – remotely of course, after the lockdown scuppered plans for my two days in the office. I have to say, I was a little sceptical about how this would work, but things went surprisingly well. Copylab was already an expert at remote working, and my new colleagues were all super experienced and endlessly patient, which also really helped.
Managing a team remotely is a challenge, but trust is absolutely key. Copylab is excellent at this. There is complete trust. The emphasis is on the work itself, rather than how, when or where you do it. I soon felt very much part of the team, despite not meeting many of my co-workers face to face until more than a year later.
Like many people returning to work after a significant career break, my biggest fear was that I wasn’t going to be able to do the job. But with a little training and lots of encouragement, I was relieved to discover that this wasn’t the case. Investment writing was like learning to ride a bike after all! Even in a pandemic.
Earlier this year I was offered the opportunity to move to a permanent position as a senior investment writer and was delighted to accept. Once again, the transition has been an easy one, helped by continued support and encouragement from my colleagues and the Copylab management team. The biggest change is that I now work from our client’s office in London a couple of days a week – something I was really keen to do.
Other than that, not much else has changed. I still work flexibly and can plan my days around my family commitments – with two teens, it’s mainly mum-taxi duties these days. I often start work early so that I can take some time out later in the day to be around for my children after school. It’s still a bit of a juggling act, I’m not going to lie! But I feel that I’m able to achieve a work-life balance that works for me and my family.
Life throws curveballs and we’ve all faced a few of those in recent times. But Copylab’s culture of trust means that even when things are not going to plan, we feel trusted and supported – I don’t feel guilty about taking time off when I need to, but equally, working flexibly means that when things outside work go awry, I can also just adapt my working schedule so that I can still get the job done.