Life Lessons with Gillian Charlton

This week on the Northern Power Women podcast, we’ve got Life Lessons from serving Warrant Officer in the British Army, Gillian Charlton. Gillian manages a team of specialist welfare workers who deliver support to Service Families and she is responsible for managing risk relating to child protection and domestic abuse. Gillian touched on some really interesting topics in her Life Lessons, so read on to find out more about how her experiences have shaped who she is today, and the lessons she’s learnt from them. 


Gillian has served in the British Army for 22 years, and in that time has made two significant career changes within the military. Having made these transitions between completely different roles, Gillian had a wealth of advice and experience to pass on to anyone about to undertake a career change. She said, “there will likely be times when you will waver and question the decision to leave behind an established career; however, remember that you made the decision to change for a reason and trust yourself.  When I changed careers I was naturally concerned about developing a whole new skill set but was surprised to find that I brought across many transferable skills from my previous role which eased the transition process significantly”.  


Throughout her Life Lessons feature, the positivity with which Gillian has tackled the many challenges within her life and her career was tangible. We wanted to know where this positivity derives from, and what we can do to be as positive and driven as Gillian. “This is something that has always been part of my personality”, she reflected, “I have of course experienced many challenges both in my personal and professional life over the years; despite this I remain largely positive and optimistic about my situation and this has helped me to progress”. Like all of us, Gillian shared that she too experiences those days where she’s not as upbeat as usual. To tackle this, she instead “will try to find a positive, and take time to reflect on what lessons I can take away from negative experiences”


We’ve all signed employment contracts whenever we’ve taken on a new role, but how many of us have heard about psychological contracts? Defined as the unwritten agreement that describes the informal commitments, expectations and understandings that make up their relationship, Gillian spoke of psychological contracts in her Life Lessons, saying that these play an essential role in our working lives. Particularly after a year of working from home when these commitments, expectations and understandings have been forced to adapt, Gillian believes “psychological contract management  will be more important than ever when dealing with recruitment and retention of employees who will likely emerge from the pandemic with new sets of values and beliefs that underpin their commitment to their organisation.  For many, there is likely to be an increased desire for employers to deliver on workplace policies that support a better work-life balance and this may require some organisations readdressing their workplace culture and ensuring that there is buy-in from leadership at all levels”. 

If you want to hear more about Gillian’s life lessons, head over to spotify, apple podcasts or stitcher to listen to this week’s Northern Power Women podcast!

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