UCL Computer Science


Patrice Lothian

"Equity means catering to every individual’s needs differently." Patrice Lothian, HR Staffing Administrator

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What is your job role and how long have you worked at UCL?

HR Staffing Administrator since September 2021.

What do you do in your job role?

As a HR and Staffing Administrator my role involves providing support to Academics, Research and Professionals Services staff throughout their employment lifecycle within the Department of Computer Science. I actively assist with the recruitment and onboarding processes. Ensuring that all new starters transition smoothly within the department and that they have everything setup for their first day at work.

As for current staff, ensuring that all their queries are being answered in a timely manner, details are accurately updated, and they are aware of the resources available to them. 

What’s the best thing about working in the Computer Science department?

The best thing about working in the CS department is that they have some of the most warm and welcoming staff. Staff are very helpful, which makes it easier to ask questions without feeling like a burden.

The department is evolving and becoming more diverse and futuristic. It is great to work with people from different backgrounds.

What challenges have you had in your career and how did you overcome them?

Some of the challenges I had was finding a permanent job within my career path or within the course I have studied at university. The job-hunting process has been very difficult and permanent jobs seemed impossible to get which had led me to have self-doubt at times.

I applied for more than 50 roles and was unsuccessful due to not having any experience. I signed up with recruitment agencies in hopes to land my first permanent role within HR, Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and or Business Management.

This is when I started to make progress. My agency would put me forward for roles, sometimes I would get through to the interview stage and still be unsuccessful but at least progress was being made and I was able to figure out that I need to work on my interview skills to land my ideal role.

I graduated from university in September 2018, and I landed my first corporate role in October 2019.These were all short-term temporary contracts. Temporary contracts aren’t the most secure roles as you don’t know when your contract will end, and you can’t make concrete life plans.

However, if I had not taken those one-month temporary contract appointments I would not have been where I am today.

As a result of putting myself forward and accepting temporary roles, I've built networks, increased my knowledge and gained experiences within this field. I look at those as steppingstones to where I am today.

What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?

Everyone starts somewhere. The smallest opportunities will lead to big opportunities so be open minded and accept them as they come along.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as they are something to learn from. Mistakes usually present themselves as life lessons. Everything happened for a reason and those temporary contract roles were contributing to me landing my current role.

If I had turn down all those temporary roles due to the simple fact that they were only for one-month, I would have never accumulated all those experiences from each of those roles.

Most importantly, I wish that I knew that no one has everything figured out and you learn and develop as you go. Because of this, I don’t wait for the “perfect moment” as this wastes time and opportunities.

What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?

Take all the opportunities you get thrown your way. If I had completely cut myself off from accepting temporary job offers even though they were for a month, I would not have been where I am today.

When you land that temporary role, work hard and smart like any of the other permanent staff to show that you are interested in the role and the organization. Research and sign-up with at least 2 good job agencies. Clearly stating your ideal role and what you are looking for.

Be open to temporary and fixed term contracts within your career path. Temporary roles allow you to get a feel of whether the career path you choose is ideal for you.

As a temporary staff you can be more flexible with you career choices and that helps you to figure out if this is something you see yourself doing permanently.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I can work independently where I don’t feel over shadowed. Tasks vary where I am responsible for variety different tasks daily as result it doesn’t get monotonous. This allows me to learn more about the department, the job, liaise with different departments and build on new and existing skills.

If any of my colleagues are absent, I am confident that I will be able to pick up where they left off since we all work on the same projects and are trained to do everything that relates to the role.

Furthermore, Flexible working hours and how can I forget hybrid working, where I get the opportunity to work both from home and in the office, which seems to be contributing to a healthy work life balance.

What does equity mean to you?

Catering to every individual’s needs differently. Everyone is different in their own unique way and therefore treatments should be tailored to their needs. In other words, it's not one size fits all.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Strive not to be better than everyone else but to be better than my previous self. This is something my late high school principal let us say every morning in assembly before we branch off to our classes in Jamaica.

In other words, aim to be better than I was yesterday and not compare myself to others. Everyone is on their own journey in life, and some might achieve their goals sooner than others. This doesn’t mean your time won’t come.

Just stay focussed on yourself, your goal and not being distracted by others' success. Be happy for those who have achieved their goals knowing you're currently making progress and one day you will be where you want to be. 

Who inspires you and why?

I am proud to say that my older sister inspires me. The fact that she believes in me more than I believe in myself and encourages me that I have what it takes to be the best version of myself.

Her words and affirmation help me realize that I am being too hard on myself at times. This has led me to believe in myself more and gain confidence where I would take on roles and responsibilities that I’d doubt myself before attempting. 

What professional achievement are you most proud of and why?

Being able to speak and present to up to 30 candidates simultaneously at an Assessment Center during a recruitment debrief. I’ve never thought I could have done public speaking as I’ve always been known for being too laidback and very shy in the past.

This was one of the main reasons why I choose to study abroad in America, Germany, and France as a part of my 4 years degree course at the University of Hertfordshire. That journey has helped me to speak to people from different background, stepped out of my comfort zone and challenged myself.

I am proud of this because I am gradually becoming more and more confident every day and on my journey to fully overcome and become more comfortable with public speaking.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

In the next five years I hope to be at the peak of my career taking on new roles and responsibilities within the department, managing and training staff. Tailoring training to help enhance employees’ individual needs, self-development, and ability to do their job confidently whilst encouraging and promoting a healthy work life balance.

Contributing more to create and maintain a safe working environment where employees feel valued with the aim to decrease staff turnover.