Kristin Shelley

Kristin Shelley

Kristin originally trained at Herbert Smith and was one of the cohort of our pilot programme.  She is now working permanently in Tax at CMS Cameron McKenna.

Why the career break?

With two babies under two my husband and I decided that I wouldn’t go back to work but would stay at home until they were older. We then had a third and soon after my husband’s role was moved to Hong Kong.  My role then became about the move – settling us all into a new life.  We stayed for two and a half years. Hong Kong is hard on expat marriages and ours broke down. I returned two years ago with the children, finalised my divorce and moved out of London to Kent.

What inspired your return? 

Once we were settled in Kent I realised I needed more in my life. The children were all at school, I missed the camaraderie of work and I missed the city too. I missed being busy! Reignite landed in my inbox just as I was trying to work out what to do.

Pre-Reignite I’d struggled to get a foot in the door! Recruitment consultants were not interested in me for fee-earning roles. The 12 year “gap” on my cv was a huge problem.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Nerves! Like lots of smart women I battle with imposter syndrome. I worried a lot that I just wouldn’t be up to the task. And I worried about leaving the children after so long at home with them.

How are things now?

CMS were fantastic.  The firm signed up fully to the scheme and provided all the support and encouragement I needed. Partners and associates have gone out of their way to make sure I am included and supported. I love it here. The work is great and so are the people. My boss checks in with me regularly and he is aware of how much of a change this is for me on a personal level.

I am now on a permanent contract. I do varied work. I really enjoy my job. I have a whole new friends group and a social life in London. The team works really well together and I feel like I have been fully adopted.  My self-esteem is so much higher than when I was at home. I enjoy being busy. I enjoy being useful and being part of this team – the Tax Powerhouse.

What advice would you offer to others in a similar situation?

Get on the Reignite scheme! Meet up with old colleagues for coffee or wine and talk to them about the work. I’ve had so much fun reconnecting. Battle the nerves – read self-help books, get the headspace app, talk to others who have returned.  Be brave. Ignore bad advice  – I was told this couldn’t be done (a return to fee-earning) but fortunately I ignored that advice and carried on regardless!

Finally – find other women in the same position and meet up. There are lots of us and it’s great fun meeting up for a glass of wine after work.