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How Oakstone International Changed My Life

As I sit down to write this, I have a baby monitor on the side of the table and I’m surrounded by books, toys and a pile of wedding invitations.

This might seem like a bizarre way to start a blog post but by the end of this you’ll realise why it’s relevant!

I joined Oakstone on Friday November 26 2010, originally to support the team by adding CVs and profiles to our contacts and with general day-to-day office admin.

To start with I was based in our High Wycombe office, working with divisional directors Tristan Heywood and Steve Farr.

Shortly into my time at Oakstone – for personal reasons – I moved away from High Wycombe.

At this time I lost a lot of confidence and a lot of who I was as a person. One of the biggest challenges for me was deciding what to do next with my life.

I’d lost my way.

To this day I’m pretty certain that any other company would have said ‘thanks but no thanks’ and closed the door.

Luckily for me, Oakstone’s CEO Paul Rayner did the opposite. He gave me a metaphorical kick up the backside.

I was given the opportunity to work more closely with Paul. I started travelling once or twice a week to our Poole office – where Paul was based – and eventually became his assistant.

Working closely with Paul meant I got an insight into:

  • how a business works

  • what it takes to run a business on a daily, monthly and yearly basis

  • how vital certain ‘small’ tasks can be to a business

  • how invaluable it is to work as a team.

I learnt how to run wages, how to manage my time and my work, as well as how to prioritise the work I was doing for others.

I learnt about our clients and how we make a difference to their business by helping them to hire the right individuals.

I also got the opportunity to learn so much about the technology and software industry – hearing the consultants on the phone every day, picking up pieces of information from them, tapping into their knowledge of the industry.

After just over a year of going back and forth, I joked with Paul about moving to Dorset.

Within three months, I’d found a flat and moved.

This took me totally out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t lived alone before. I knew nobody and I had a terrible phobia of the dark. But Oakstone built up my confidence. I knew I had to do it, for me.

In early December I decided to take the plunge and join a dating website. I always thought it was such an odd way to meet people. But, yet again, Paul and his words of wisdom were correct.

Here I am three years later, engaged to the love of my life and mummy to my gorgeous almost one-year-old boy!

It’s very common to join a company and have colleagues. But it’s not often you join a company and end up with lifelong friends.

Oakstone isn’t just a job to me. It’s more than a career – it’s become a part of who I am.

- Sarah Sweeney, Operations Manager