Having left home at an early age, hard work was a survival skill rather than an option. At 16 TJ was earning £38 per week, paying £35 rent per week, limiting her options to wearing a coat to bed and putting 50p in the meter for the TV vs heating. She recalls working 3 jobs, the DHSS during the day, a barmaid at night and “personality girl” for a retail chain on Saturdays (promoting store credit cards) in order to ensure that this teenagers bills got paid.
Looking back TJ identified herself as being an employer’s potential worse nightmare as she was a strategist who liked to do things her way . As a result, she started working as a temp/contractor, never again working full time for anyone else after the age of 21. TJ found that she had an aptitude for computers and for helping others learn how to use them, so set about carving herself a career in the unknown arena that became IT. This would become a key marker in her life - just as she thrived in the emerging IT market of the 1980's, TJ's future would see her most comfortable in pioneering fields to help other people.
Working as a woman in the male-dominated Information Technology industry was just another example of TJ standing out. After rising through the ranks, TJ’s 25 year career as an I.T. consultant and company director boasted an impressive client portfolio across many industries, including Banking, Pharmaceuticals, Retail, Communications and Leisure. Her expertise took her to deliver projects in the UK, across Europe and into America.
TJ was a child of the “Thatcher years” where she feels women were told it was no longer good enough to simply settle for life as a stay at home mum. Rather women had to get out and compete with men, equal rights and equal pay etc. In following this path, TJ found the competition may have suited her pocket but failed to fulfill her need for purpose in work that her soul yearned for.