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Julia, Restaurant Team Member, Beefeater

Getting back into the working world after a while, or embarking on something new later in life can be daunting. Fear, self doubt and questioning whether it’s even possible is holding people back from starting a new chapter in their life. At Whitbread, we want to turn around the negatives and help you change your story – both the stories you tell yourself about lack of confidence, ability or employability, and your future ambitions too. You’re at the best place to #ChangeYourStory, with the UK’s leading hospitality business.


Well, supposedly, I’d finished work.


After 42 years in the banking industry, I was retired. Trouble was, I wasn’t ready to be. 


I felt sad about it – it was forced redundancy, but equally there were parts of the job I wouldn’t miss. Commuting into Birmingham every day was tiring and I’d have preferred to be closer to home.


I have to say the first couple of months retired sent me mad! I was so used to getting up early in the morning, I found I didn’t know what to do with myself once I was up. The days were dragging. My routine was broken and it was so hard to adapt to.


When you didn’t necessarily want to stop working, it leaves you quite bereft. I was with my friend having a coffee and I said to her “I’m so bored, I need to do… something.”


I’d applied at a couple of charity shops in the village but clearly others had the same idea - they had too many volunteers! My friend said ‘Julie, why don’t you see if there’s a morning job?’ to give me a purpose. I knew the local Beefeater, and, after my shop at the Sainsbury’s over the road, thought I’d come in and ask if there were any jobs going.


I said to the Duty Manager: “I’d like a morning job if there are any going? I’ve not worked in a restaurant before but I’ve got 42 years’ experience in client care, can you give me a chance?”.


I told them the days I could do and later I got a call back. I came in and spoke to the manager and the rest is history. It will be six years this month to the day I started.


From my first shift, I've loved it. This place opened their arms to me. I absolutely adore it and the staff are fabulous. They’re all ages. I’ve watched youngsters come in, start in their first jobs and they are now on their way to becoming managers. I like to think I’ve played a small part in their journey.


I was nervous when I started I have to admit. I was used to computers at work, but this was a new set up, putting the orders on digitally was a new skill to learn. I didn’t come in and find myself left to sink or swim though. I had training, they look after you.


This was completely different to what I’d done before. I ran a team of 30 people at an international bank. I was chomping at the bit to do something… but I didn’t want that responsibility again. Don’t get me wrong, I care about the work, my team, my guests. But I didn’t need the hassle.

Now I cycle to work and back and get my exercise. I do 2 days a week and the guests are regulars, some have become friends.

I would say to anyone in similar circumstances, come in. See it. Speak to a Manager, tell them what you’ve done.


You’ve got so many skills acquired over the years. Communication is vital in this job, and people tend to trust older people. So you bring that calmness to the floor on a busy shift. You know how to treat people.


Take the plunge. It’s such a rewarding job. The regulars make this, they really do.

It’s scratched the itch I had. What I like about working in this industry as an older worker is the better work/life balance. Your manager accepts you’ve got commitments outside of work – mornings suit me, so I’m not bothered with evenings.


If you want to do something but you don’t want to do it full time and in hours that suit you - this fits in. There are different jobs, different shifts.


I love what I do. It’s honestly the best job I’ve ever had! I want to work here til I’m at least 70. I love this team!


#ChangeYourStory with shifts to suit everyone at the UK’s leading hospitality business here…

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A new kind of hotel for Premier Inn

A new kind of hotel for Premier Inn

The first ZIP will be opening in Cardiff March 2019, with more coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled for a ZIP near you.