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Iuliana’s Story: Returning to Business Optimization with EDF

Iuliana Udangiu

Iuliana Udangiu, Business Optimization Analyst, EDF Energy (4 year career break)

Before my career break, I worked in a variety of sectors within Hospitality, Finance and Asset Management. I’d done a number of different roles including Acting Project Manager, Asset Analyst, Change Agent and Program & Finance Specialist.

I took a career break due to health reasons. Following a charitable trip through my MBA to Uganda, I picked up a virus which left me fighting for my life. I took some time to fully recover and reconnect with my own self, loved ones, friends and family.

In the end, I had a break of 4 years and 3 months. While recovering my health, I continued to work on my charitable projects in Uganda. I also obtained the APMG Change Management Practitioner qualification.

I’d always dreamed of the day I’d be back at work. My break had not been something I’d personally sought but something life offered to me and that I had to embrace and deal with, with the hope that I would return to professional life as soon as I was ready to do so.

In January 2023, I found out about Women Returners, connected with them & started using their resources. I was lucky enough to benefit from coaching support via the Women Returners Bursary Programme, and this helped me in the early phase of my job search. I applied to some jobs in July and August, and then I received an offer on the EDF Returner Programme –  in all it took me 7 months to find a new role.

It feels good to be back at work, to reconnect, to engage with new people and new projects. It has also been a bit overwhelming in terms of volumes of information, but I think this is quite normal due to the transitioning period. I am still in the early phase of being back at work, but I am glad I can continue to benefit from Women Returners Coaching support for the entire period of the Returnship.

I look back at this entire year and I cannot believe I am back! I feel good and glad that the day that I have been waiting for over 4 years has come. It is busy, there’s lots to learn and plenty to deliver but I feel confident that with appropriate support the journey forward will be enjoyable and full of rewards.

My advice for those trying to get back to work is to engage with Women Returners and benefit from their available resources. Get your CV ready, practice interviews: mock and real, and borrow encouraging words from people that tell you it is possible, even if you do not believe it yourself!