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Which way next (Part 3)

…For the last 2 years I’ve been wanting to change career direction….

I kind of decided in 2014 that my current job wasn’t the best fit for me and started to look into some other options. I started thinking about studying social work. It’s an area I’ve always been interested in but at some stage in my high school ‘working out what I want to do’ days my Mum encouraged me to pursue other areas – (at least that’s how I remember it) I think she believed I needed more real life experience and I thank her for that because as a 17 year old I would have been a very naive social worker student.

But I figure now I’m at least a little bit more world-wise and went to talk to a new friend who is a social worker. She pointed me in the direction of an occupational therapy mental health position in community health being advertised at the time. Awesome idea, different field without having to study- I put in a lot of effort for the application and interview preparation and it was a great experience BUT I didn’t get the job. I was definitely lacking experience despite working with veterans with PTSD. I did get a contact with one of the panel and he has since pointed me in the direction of some great resources but I was rather devastated at the time.

Okay a lot devastated, after a lot of reflection and you know life I decided to take it as a sign a) that I needed to do more short courses/online education etc.   to prove/follow my passion in mental health  b) maybe God was shutting the door for me working in mental health, I’d also applied for jobs in this area straight out of uni with no luck. I spoke with another OT and realised there are different levels of mental health care ie severe/emergency, moderate and given my own mental health issues perhaps helping people with more moderate level mental health concerns would be a better fit. It was great to once again feel there might be a job out there for me in the mental health field.

I started looking at degrees in mental health. And then I got sick again – how could I possibly ever help anyone else experiencing mental health when I can’t deal with it myself? Despite the horrible lows I made it through the other side and while doing a course with a life coach was asked what do I want to do – the answer was counselling, it felt unscripted just straight from the heart so that is the dream I want to follow this year. Hopefully it will lead me to a new job where I can work in a team and combine my passion of engaging people with helping them.

What are your goals for 2016? Or for your career/study? Any advice for studying counselling?

ps Just wanted to say thanks to people who are following, such a good feeling to know my thoughts are being read. Reached 50 likes this week 🙂

 

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My Paid Job (Part 2)

 

Happy New Year folks 🙂

Last week I started sharing with you my career journey. This year one of my resolutions/hopes is to do some study to change the direction of my career a bit but first let me finish how I ended up where I am now

So prior to going on maternity leave I was working part-time interstate. The truth is I have only ever worked full-time for about 5 months. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about this but I guess I’ll have time to make up for it when the kids are all grown up….

Before having my baby girl I was in touch with a private occupational therapist working in the area where I live. I just looked back over old emails and she emailed me 3 days after I had given birth – wondering how I was going – we emailed back and forth for awhile me always saying I’d like to catch up and then a month later saying still waiting to get into a routine lol those early newborn days!! We eventually met up when my daughter was 3 months old, the best interview I’ve probably ever had because I wasn’t really expecting an interview – I had just been thinking it was a coffee to meet each other. But I was offered a job, hooray! I hadn’t really had plans regarding my return to work except that I had taken 1 years leave but realistically  was never going to return to that job (sadly as I ended up truly loving it – if only I could move the farm or the town a little closer to each other!)

It took awhile for contracts and provider numbers etc to be organised and then I postponed a week or so so I could say that I returned to work when my baby was 5 months. I worked one day a week visiting DVA (Department of Veteran Affairs) clients (mostly WW2 vets and widows) in the community putting in equipment, home modifications and services to help them remain independent and safe at home. Now 5+ years later I am still doing this at the moment for two days a week. However it has been far from continuous. I think I moved up to 2 days a week in 2011 but then lost a baby at 24 weeks and after stop starting for awhile gave up work altogether until after my rainbow baby was born in 2013. It was at the end of this year that I made inquiries to see if they’d have me back – they said yes 🙂

I’ve mostly worked one-two days with a few stints of more when my boss is away on holidays. This year I cut back down to 1 after a few months off due to depression and now I’ve returned to two days after another few months off. This job is great in its flexibility – not many places would let me have so much time off and come back again. Also the days and hours I work are pretty well up to me. I  work from home/my car with no office for me to go into, everything admin is done over the interwebs.

I miss having a work desk though, and a team to talk in person with and sadly equipment and home mods arn’t really my thing – I know what I need to know but it doesn’t interest me apart from how it helps my clients. What I really love is talking to people, engaging them and having them trust me to share any issues/concerns/triumphs.

For the last 2 years I’ve bee wanting to change direction – perhaps I’ll make that story Part 3 🙂

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my OT journey

I don’t really know how I came about choosing to study OT (occupational therapy), it almost just happened! The first I heard about this career was reading my school newsletter and seeing one of the Yr 12’s the year before me had it recorded as their uni choice. From there it somehow ended up on the top of my six preferences for university. I didn’t get in first round but was accepted into my second choice of midwifery. At the same time I was offered an admin job I had interviewed for. It was a stressful day as I chose whether to go to uni or have a gap year and I now look back and imagine what would have been….

I chose to study and was next offered a place in OT course at Uni SA in the second round offers. It is an amazing degree but the next four years were definitely a challenge! I was continually questioning if this was the career for me but the good (and bad) thing about OT is the broad number of areas you can work in, so even if some things don’t interest you there’s bound to be something you like! At uni it felt like we were getting to know a little of everything but going into depth with nothing – amazing how we still came out at the end with the necessary skills/critical thinking required (well mostly!).

My plan today was to share about my working life and in light of the New Year just around the corner some of my work goals but I think I best start with a definition of occupational therapy.

OT’s consider everything that occupies your time as an occupation so sleeping, making breakfast, caring for your children, work, handwriting, showering, socialising etc. etc and we work with people who may be having difficulty with any such occupation.

It took me a while to find work after finishing uni. I was about to marry a farmer so was restricted location wise. I had been very hopeful about a job with the local community health service but performed badly in the interview and missed out. A few months and many applications later I got a job interstate (a 2hr drive) with their community health service. I boarded with the local pastor and his wife and came home once or twice a week.

I was a bit of a mess at the time and ended up taking additional leave before my wedding but fortunately I returned after the big day and loved it.

The OT team (of 3) had a backlog of referrals from adults in the community (mostly elderly) for generally equipment and home modifications. We were also re-establishing our paediatric service and I was involved in the intake process for new referrals.

After the wedding I was also successful in obtaining a part-time position closer to home (45min drive) with the local community health service working on a project with a local child care service. So I was part-time there and part time interstate.

The project role was quite difficult. The OT team there didn’t believe this child care facility should be getting extra services ahead of the rest of the community and the director of the facility was… an interesting personality. I wrote a project proposal and completed a large chunk of a needs analysis but either due to service constraints or my own mental health that was as far as I was able to proceed and I ended up quitting this job when I found out I was pregnant.

Think that’s enough for one days writing, will do a Part 2 soon 🙂