So guys, today’s a day of firsts! I have my first driving lesson this evening (very late starter, I know. I’m scared of getting behind the wheel, go easy on me!) Fingers crossed that tonight goes smoothly, and I live to keep blogging…
I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of the challenge! Over half-way now, and it’s been a fantastic way of sharing about myself. I hope it has inspired some blog ideas for you guys too.
Today’s challenge for day 22 is:
My Favourite Job & Why
I have had a lot of jobs. I’ve worked in restaurants, hotels, education, call centres, retail, customer services. I’ve got a varied work background, I worked when I needed to get by and a job is a job at the end of the day; can’t be turning down work when you need it. Out of them all, I don’t think I can say I have a favourite really. I love my job now, but it’s not a job I’ve aspired to do. It’s just a really good job where I’m respected in and have a lot of control over my work and how I do it. Which is fabulous. But I also have a distant manager who makes it tough sometimes. But more than not, it’s a great job and has opened a lot of doors for me already. I know I can coordinate and manage hundreds of tasks at one time, I am an excellent planner and time manager and I am on top of the game when it comes to communication. So, all is well there. But again, I couldn’t really say if it’s my favourite. But there is one role that I think a lot about that I did and the impact it had on me in such a short space of time.
As part of my university curriculum, I had to do some work experience in different places and I ended up as a Support Worker for sexual abuse survivors. It was a support centre for survivors and their families to come to for counselling and support. I was given an in-between role – not an advisor and not a counsellor. I was a support worker – I was assigned cases, booked my own appointments and held support sessions for my clients. I really did love the sessions; I met some amazingly brave people who had been through such trauma and came out the other side.
My most memorable session was with a lady who had been to the clinic the year before. She had been put with a counsellor (it’s important to note that they use student counsellors – not trained counsellors) and the counsellor they were put with turned out to be extremely insensitive and forthcoming in their approach and it did not sit well with the client. They ended up leaving and never coming back. As a counsellor, it is not their job to pull or extract information from a person. They are there to support and listen – so for this woman to get a counsellor saying ‘So tell me about what you were raped/abused’ – is totally out of order and intrusive and scared this poor woman away. So, a year later, it was my role to be her support whilst we waited for a counsellor to become available.
In the session, I explained my role – that I was there to befriend, listen and support as best I could and that she could talk about anything she liked with me. What she’d had for breakfast or what was troubling her or worrying her. And we talked and talked. She told me about the problems she’d had with the counsellor before and that she had not told any counsellor what had happened to her as a child because of their nature. She ended up telling me everything she had been through; we talked about how she was coping and her life now as an adult. She told me about things that she was struggling with and things she couldn’t make sense of. We had such a deep conversation – and as she was leaving, she said ‘You know, you’ve made me think about things in ways I’ve never thought of them before. It makes a lot of sense to me now’. That for me was amazing to hear.
I was once called on to diffuse a situation when an erratic lady had forgotten an appointment, and was crying and hysterical because she thought she had defaulted on the progress she had made. I made her a cup of tea, we went into a room and we talked it out. Talked about what was the issue and why she was so upset, I reconfirmed she was a day early for the appointment, not late, and we talked about ways she might plan her session bookings so she didn’t forget. I reiterated how far she had come and was doing so well, and after a brew and some quiet time, she left relaxed and much happier.
But overall, the satisfaction for me came from watching these people grow and progress with my support. I could see the value in my role, and how much it meant to somebody to just have a friend to talk to. Someone that you can moan about the day’s goings ons to, or express excitement at an upcoming job opportunity. Just because somebody has been through trauma, it does not mean that is what they want to talk about when seeking support. They’ve come through that trauma without you, what they need is someone to support them whilst they rebuild a trauma-free life; a life without abuse or violence or fear. For someone that has lived through that, it’s sometimes all they have known – and living without it can be more scary than living with it.
It was an incredibly rewarding experience. One of my personal aspirations, and has been for some years, is to build my own support group for families of those affected by sexual abuse as there is limited resources out there. But, this role allowed me an insight into my own way of working, and how well I work with people in that setting. It’s what I’m naturally capable of doing and keeps me focused on the aim for myself going forward. But for now, I have these snippets of experience that keep me motivated and reconfirm that I can reach the ultimate goal.