Current Role: Senior Software Developer
“There are many different elements that make up my identity. And I’m proud to say that Tesco has supported every part of who I am. I’d spent a lot of time questioning my gender when I was in university, and I’ve done loads of research over the years. And when I recently came across the term ‘DemiMan’, I felt understood. For me, that means I identify as 75% masculine and 25% feminine. I go by he/him pronouns, but I also embody feminine expression, and that's reflected in the clothes I wear as well as my character. And I embrace that.
“I feel that I can be my whole self at Tesco.”
I’m also Polyamorous, I have been for almost 20 years. Polyamory is ethical non-monogamy, where people can have multiple loving relationships with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. I’m part of a group, outside of work, that runs meetings and a Discord server and I help facilitate discussions and do a lot of behind-the-scenes organising – it’s great to be part of a community of like-minded people. It’s not something I’ve shared with many people at Tesco, but I was really happy to see that an anti-harassment training, that’s for all employees, referenced a ‘bisexual polyamorous man’. Little things like this lets me know that the business explicitly supports polyamorous people. And I feel that I can be my whole self at Tesco.
One of our values is: ‘treat people the way they want to be treated’ – and I see that at Tesco. It’s brilliant to me that the organisation has so much in place to ensure that people feel safe and supported, whether that’s through networks or policies, or even getting to share my story like this. And they don’t assume how a group of people may want to be treated, they encourage colleagues to see people as individuals.
“I’m able to think outside the box because I never noticed there was a box in the first place.”
I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder too. When I was younger, my teachers assumed I was stupid because I struggled to concentrate on things that didn’t interest me, but I’d get the highest grades in exams. There just wasn’t the same level of understanding back then, so I was only diagnosed as an adult. I’m now on ADHD medication, which has had a positive impact in my life. I’m very open about it. I told Tesco after being offered the job, and outlined some things that help me in the workplace, which everyone has been very receptive to.
I’m ‘ADHD inattentive type’. So I go into my hyperactive imagination when I'm bored, rather than acting out physically. I’m always paying attention to something – it just might be in my head. But I’m able to see the positive aspects of the disorder too. I hyperfocus on things that really capture my interest, put all my energy into it, and nothing else matters. That’s how I code. I’m able to think outside the box because I never noticed there was a box in the first place. It’s a key strength I feel I bring to the business. Programming is this wonderful game of connecting all these different things and keeping track of these very complex systems, on multiple levels, making sure they work together and, most importantly, finding out where they don’t.
"I call myself a Software Artisan. I make beautiful things that are functional."
It’s harder to see the positives of having bipolar disorder, but I think it’s the source of my creativity and passion. I view programming as a creative endeavour just like painting. When people ask, "Are you a software engineer or a computer programmer?" I call myself a Software Artisan. I make beautiful things that are functional. I’ve had to miss work a few times when I’ve been really depressed but I haven’t had any manic episodes at Tesco, luckily. I’ve had hypomanic episodes, which is a milder version that tends to be shorter in length. It can feel like the wheels are spinning really, really fast and everything's working, but the problem is that it can send you into a manic episode if the gears slip.
“Tesco does everything possible to ensure I get the right level of support.”
I’ve got my own ways of coping with ADHD, I use the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method. And the business has been great, providing extra monitors and software to support me to stay organised and focused. Tesco does everything possible to ensure I get the right level of support. Not only did I get some specific training and coaching for my ADHD, but my manager did too. And I’m able to be really honest and direct with my manager about if I’m falling into depression.
Tesco is a great place to work. Everybody I’ve met has been supportive, in every way. In a professional sense, you’ll be challenged to solve some incredibly interesting technical problems. And in a personal sense, you’ll be challenged to embrace diversity, and see the beauty and value in people’s differences. I believe wholeheartedly in always being who I am. And Tesco empowers everyone to do just that.”
Everyone’s welcome at Tesco. We’re there for our people, whatever life brings. So we’ll do everything we can to support you; to help you feel comfortable being yourself at work, and to ensure you’ve always got what you need to develop and grow with us.
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