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Sally Thomas

“Your career is as individual as you are”

ND diagnosis or self-identify as:

Autistic/Asperger’s Syndrome.

Current job title:

Business Tax Advisor.

What does your job involve?

Working on the UK tax compliance and reporting for mid to large corporate groups or entities. This includes preparation of tax disclosures for inclusion in company/group accounts, preparation and filing of the corporation.

Degree/apprenticeship or route to current job:

BSc Psychology (Warwick); DPhil Experimental Psychology (Oxford, Magdalen College); Professional Accounting and Tax qualifications (ACA/CTA).

What were your likes in school?

I liked school. I struggled before I was diagnosed both academically and socially, but my grades improved massively after diagnosis, resulting in top grades at A Level and a 1st Class BSc.

What were your challenges in school?

Professional exams were more of a challenge as the timeframe was more condensed and I take longer to assimilate vast quantities of information.

What strategies/assistive technology do you use to help you in your work?

Airtable app for tracking deadlines, rules and detailed filing system for emails (I mark as unread anything I still need to action so I don’t forget!).

The biggest one is support and raising awareness among those I work with – I have a “disclosure” document which explains my diagnosis and lists my strengths, what I find difficult, and what I/others can do to help manage those difficulties.

What ND skills have allowed you to succeed (or progress) in your STEM career?

Problem solving (I enjoy coming up with ideas as to how a piece of work or task might be made more efficient in the future); technical understanding/knowledge; persistence!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Put the autism at the top of your list – talk about it, make people aware, work with it and not against it. Also, your career is as individual as you are – don’t be put off by comparing yourself to your colleagues or friends and thinking that because you aren’t progressing in the same way or at the same speed that you’re not going anywhere. It might take a bit longer to figure out, but you will get there.

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