Back to work in a pandemic

Evgenia Mironova talks about her experience of coming back to work after a five-year career break just before lockdown, with the support of UBS’ Career Comeback programme.

Returner Programme


Evgenia Mironova returned to work after a five-year career break just before lockdown thanks to UBS’ award-winning returner programme which has continued to onboard since the lockdown. asked her about her experience of returning to work after a break. How long was your career break?

Evegenia Mironova: My career break was five years, including the maternity year with my previous employer after which I decided I was not ready to return. What prompted it?

EM: The few years leading up to my maternity leave were intense both professionally and personally. I had gotten promoted, married, bought a new home and birthed a baby within a single year and I felt like I was longing for a break. I also had a pretty tough birth and it took some time both for me and my son to get back on track with our physical health. At the end of the maternity year I was still breastfeeding and healing, and I could not yet fathom combining the enormity of my new responsibilities with going back to the office. What was your work background before you took your break?

EM: My career started in the sphere of Corporate Intelligence and Enhanced Due Diligence before I entered investment banking with a very happy and intense few years at Citi in Anti Money Laundering. How long had you been trying to get back before you applied to UBS?

EM: I started exploring the market probably about a year before starting at UBS and really looking at a wide variety of options, including contract work and consultancy. There were some interesting experiences with recruiters, including a consultant who flat out refused to even discuss an opportunity with me when he found out I had small children. In the end I worked with an old contact of mine on a contractual basis for a few months before a headhunter put me forward for the Career Comeback programme. How did you find the UBS Career Comeback programme?

EM: I was contacted by a specialist headhunter who thought I would be a good fit for the Comeback Programme at UBS. After I was put forward I was contacted by HR and we discussed a couple of specific positions that I may have been a good fit for. Once the positions were officially open, I interviewed with the Financial Crime Prevention team and received an offer for the job. How supported did you feel in coming back?

EM: Since starting on the Career Comeback programme, I have literally been singing its praises to anyone who would care to listen! I felt incredibly supported, both in terms of joining my team and through the structure of the career comeback itself. When I first started I was allocated a “buddy” who was absolutely invaluable in those first weeks of getting accustomed to a new infrastructure and a new team of people. The beauty of the Career Comeback programme for me has been the huge focus on career development and personal development as well as being given a really valuable network of peers who are going through a similar journey. It was also clear that my line manager was a big supporter of the programme and has checked in regularly with me on my progress in the context of being a returner. Did you onboard after lockdown?

EM: I was lucky enough to have been onboarded about three months before the lockdown started. Have you found any additional challenges as a returner coming back than other new joiners due to the coronavirus pandemic?

EM: The greatest downside to the pandemic is the reduced capacity to network in a new organisation. Whilst many events have come online, including the Comeback networking events, one still feels like a computer screen doesn’t quite live up to meeting a person in real life.

On the upside, there has genuinely been a lot of focus and reflection on what the lockdown has taught us about working remotely, and the way the pandemic lessons can be learned and applied to the future of work at UBS. How has UBS supported you in facing these?

EM: There is a very fair and realistic tone from the top in our team and across the firm more widely, that we are all facing additional challenged in balancing the Covid working-from-home situation and childcare duties or other domestic responsibilities. This is discussed in team calls and Townhalls and in no way shied away from. Working has truly become flexible across the team, with attention also being paid to the mental health aspects of the new normal. When the head of the department starts to encourage you to take holidays and to log on to the Headspace app, it really feels like, at the end of the day, we are all human and facing very similar challenges.

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