Life at GCHQ - Diya
How long have you worked for GCHQ, and what sorts of jobs have you done here?
Almost a decade. I started as a linguist, then moved in to project management, and now work in liaison.
What's your job like and what do you enjoy the most about it?
The variety, the fact that every day is different with almost a guarantee that a new day is going to throw up some interesting new challenge!
Did you have any jobs before coming to GCHQ and how did you end up working here?
I applied because my husband and I decided to move here after getting married. I did a stint in the corporate world in Central London and within the Met Police.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Middle East before moving to the UK. I have been in the country for over 20 years.
What was it like growing up there?
Diversity was a given - nobody needed to celebrate it. We celebrated all festivals, regardless of your faith and background. We partied for at least half the year and studied hard to ensure we could have fun. Our day at school started at 0730 and finished at 1300, so we had most of the day to pursue extracurricular activities, play, watch TV, and get ready to socialise.
Did you go to university?
I did! I went up to a Masters. I don't think I had the patience for a PhD. I was a member of the Jujitsu and badminton clubs, and was elected President of one of the social student bodies.
What's your home life like now?
I live with my husband and a baby. We used to travel too much to be responsible for a pet. We love entertaining, cooking together, watching box sets, doing puzzles, drinking cocktails, eating out, and travelling. My husband and I have independent businesses outside of our work place and most of our evenings go into this. I took a break for a couple of years, but I am slowly getting back into it.
What does your family think of you working for GCHQ?
They are extremely proud of my job here. How could they not be! Everyone who works in the intelligence community works towards keeping the UK safe - that in itself is a matter of pride!
Do you have any family traditions or activities that overflow into your working life?
Lots, I celebrate festivals and fasts and weddings and socials, and my work/life balance allows this to happen.
Does your working life particularly affect your family life?
Well, I can't take work home! You do see work on TV in the news or on social media, but once you leave the building you are out - hence a lot of box sets in our house.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you get up to on your days off?
Dancing, cardio at the gym, meeting up with friends, and playing with my little human.