Miriam Higgins

Miriam is an HR Assistant within SoGE's friendly HR team. Joining in September 2015, she works part time, 4 days a week and the main focus of her role is to support recruitment and casual workers. When she's not at work she's engrossed in the arts and crafts, either directing or writing plays, going to the theatre, or busy sewing, knitting, quilting and embroidering.

"As SoGE's HR Assistant I help organise various stages of recruitment up to interviews. I also help with visas and visa extensions, and in the last year I have started doing inductions.

At SoGE, you would come to me if you had query about a post being advertised or your recruitment interviews. If you wanted to have a casual worker you would also come to me in the first instance and I would talk you through the process, although I share this with other HR Assistants in the team.

The biggest misconception about HR is that we all do the same job. Some of us specialise, for example, in visas pre- and during employment, or maternity/paternity leave or grievances but we can direct you to the right person.

The thing I like most about working in SoGE is the people! I meet a lot of people (staff and casuals) through my HR work but also socially including the support staff socials. Its lovely to work in a place where you can walk along the corridor and see friendly colleagues all around.

Organising a visa for a new starter can take a lot of time and effort. HR are only involved in one part of the process and any number of things outside of our control can delay someone from starting, so it's always a relief when they arrive and join the SoGE team!

My career path prior to starting at SoGE has been varied. I studied music at Cardiff University and came to Oxford in 2006 to work in the Music Hire Library at OUP. Here I supplied the music for very small to very large concerts including The Proms, various state occasions, weddings, funerals, and celebrations, all over the world. It was during this time that I joined the OUP drama society and started performing, co-writing and directing the OUP Christmas Show, which turned into directing summer plays, which in turn developed into becoming a professional theatre director. My first two assistant director jobs were with Creation Theatre, working on The Merchant of Venice (at the Saïd Business School) and Aladdin (at The North Wall). My first professional play as a director was Pinter's The Lover and the first play I wrote and directed, Mercutio and Tybalt, was last performed at the BT Studio in October 2019.

Outside of work I used to sing in the Oxford Bach Choir and play violin in the Oxford Symphony Orchestra, so my top tip for turning things around on a bad day would have to be to turn on the music! There is music for every mood and I have different go-to pieces depending on how I am feeling and if necessary, I turn up the volume, have a sing and a dance (not in the office of course).

One thing most people don't know about me is I'm dyspraxic. I've become much more vocal about neurodiversity in the last couple of years and that's come with a better understanding of the condition and myself, and I want to help others in this area at SoGE but also within my theatre work. I have recently been talking with our Equality and Diversity Officer about neurodiversity and I have a feeling what will come from that will really help other neurodivergent people at SoGE.

The advice I'd like to pass forward would have to be by Samuel Beckett: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. Failing is part of the path to creativity. If you don't allow yourself to fail you will never grow, learn, adapt, and evolve.

The advice I'd give my teenage self is: It all gets better, you've got this. Oh and you're dyspraxic but you won't be diagnosed until you're 19."