Farema is an army wife, residing in Leuchars Scotland. She is from Fiji, Rotuman by ethnicity. She attended the University of the South Pacific where she attained her BA degree in Tourism Management. She started her career in project management in Fiji. She joined her husband in British Forces Germany in 2009 and gained employment at the local army education centre as an administrator.
Reflecting on her career journey, she agrees she is drawn to organisations with shared values; as a consequence, she has been a loyal employee. Both organisations’ she worked for, coincidentally, provide adult education, but her roles have changed or evolved within those organisations. She discovered that entry roles were easier to get into despite being over qualified or experienced but that in each role, she has progressed steadily in the organisation. It has definitely helped her to learn more about the organisation and how she fits into the wider organisation. She also found that loyalty has led to the organisation investing in her learning and development.
She is now in HR, working directly with an organisations’ key resource, its people. Farema pointed out that she has always been career ambitious and this was evident in her interactions, focused and self-motivated. She experienced a lot of frustration and stress dealing with people, particularly their real life problems in her HR role, supporting them through difficult situations such as loss, grief, and mental health issues. Her approach was solutions-driven, being a work coach herself. She was technical and results-based in her work, which transferred across as ruthless and uncaring. She found that separating her faith from her work worsened her situation. It was in this role that she learned true humility and complete surrender to God that she needed to be more compassionate and empathetic. It literally broke down her strong exterior.
This transformation has been phenomenal, where compassion has been instilled and developed in her to make her really effective in providing coaching support. Her role has been a God-given opportunity to show the love of God, one she didn’t fully appreciate until she took God to work, where her faith and work combined. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as she commented, ‘you need God’s strength to sustain you in such stressful situations, especially in this line of work’. Its not easy to separate your work and personal life in a sustainable way, without suffering from burn out or health issues.
Sharing her story is meant to empower other women of faith in navigating their workplace but also give some helpful advice for starting and building a career in the UK, drawing from her own experiences. Seek out what God’s best is for your life. Surely enough, you will get the right support to guide your decision-making. Mentorship would have been invaluable at the start, especially in learning about the role, skills and knowledge needed. But also for exploring career opportunities and networks. Avoid following the crowd, ‘herd mentality’ and be willing to get uncomfortable in the process. There are a lot of support networks and resources available out there, specifically for army wives that weren’t available 10 or 5 years ago. Reach out to them. Save yourself some time. I couldn't agree with her more.
And always be aware of imposter syndrome. This is a real hindrance to women, especially women from minority ethnic groups.
“We’re more likely to experience imposter syndrome if we don't see many examples of people who look like us or share our background who are clearly succeeding in our field,” according to Emily Hu, a clinical psychologist.
We always doubt our ability to perform or we feel like a fraud because we can’t believe our luck. But that kind of thinking kills joy and robs you of making a real contribution in the workplace and stepping into your God-given potential.
I hope you enjoyed reading Farema’s story, if any of the points raised struck a chord and you’d like to find out more, please get in touch.
Thank you x