Swinnie Sirvel spoke with us about her journey in the Software Engineering team and gave us an insight into her experience of life at Thomsons Online Benefits!

What’s your favourite thing about working at Thomsons Online Benefits?

Working at TOB is all about being pink and being surrounded by “pink” people — all of the people are very helpful and supportive. The word pink perfectly describes everyone I have met, so pink and beautiful the same as the infrastructure — the office is the best!

Can you give us an insight into your career journey?

I’ve been here for 1 year 8 months, my first role was as a Graduate Software Engineer. In 2018 I was promoted to Junior Software Engineer — I like to take small baby steps and ensure I know everything to prepare me for the next step. I love achieving my goals, so one step at a time is the way that works best for me. For me, my next step will be a mid-level role. Throughout my journey from graduate to junior, it was a learning curve, along with the help and support from my colleagues.

The best part was the help I had from other people around me. I used to ask many questions but was able to learn from manager’s feedback — not just the good feedback but points I need to improve on. Not negative but constructive feedback helped me improve. I tried to find balance of asking questions but also figuring out things myself — it’s such an open culture and environment. Now I have achieved the balance and feel confident — my manager knew how to help rather than spoon-feeding. It’s a fun journey.

What words would you use to describe the company?

Fun, professional, innovative, supportive, team work, can-do and positive. Oh not forgetting PINK!

‘Pink’ according to me — flexibility, I can work from home, my manager doesn’t monitor us 24/7 as long as we are working hard and getting the job done. Supportive — the support provided by everyone in Tech is great, if you ask for help, 10 people will come over to help. Team work — we have group catch ups and know what everyone is working on, I’m happy whatever I am working on and whoever I am with as everyone is great to work with. There isn’t that one person you try to avoid!

Relatives have complained to me about the environment they work in, I feel blessed, being surrounded by such good people and cannot relate. I see pink everywhere in this office. I enjoy it all — that’s the way it should be as work is your second home. I have a good balance; I enjoy work life which enables me to enjoy my personal life.

What challenges have you overcome in your role?

It was my first office based role as well as a different country and culture — it’s not always easy to adapt to different culture and accents. I graduated in India and, when I finished my masters, worked as a professor and was never exposed to corporate life, I had just taught IT.

Being all theory-based, the graduate role helped me learn and practically apply my knowledge in the corporate world. I had worked on a few projects but nothing as live as Darwin, I was given the opportunity to prove myself and my theoretical knowledge. The support provided was great and I was pushed at the same time. Now I am in a very different position focusing in more depth. The progression was a real learning curve from nothing to something.

What benefits do you enjoy at Thomsons?

I have now got to the stage where my husband and I are buying a property, we used the mortgage advisor provided here for Thomsons people and we’re now in the final stages. We found the service great and reliable!

Why should someone work here?

Why? Because of the pink culture, that’s the strongest part. I’ve seen how other people have helped me to progress, so I would also like to do the same if there is someone new in my team. New people are here to help us with our work, so we should support and enable them. As they say ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. We have a moral responsibility now so everyone feels pink.

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