Busy being a mother and a wife and taking on the biggest challenge yet, a permanent move across the world. Read here my random thoughts, feelings and stories about my life that is about to be turned upside down (literally).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Decision To Make

One of the first orders of business when I move to Australia will be to find a job. We will need to become a two income family again in order to afford all the comforts we enjoy now. I'm okay with this, and am ready to get back into the full time workforce. I will miss being at home with the kids but I feel like I've given them a great start and we are all ready for this next phase of life.
I've been thinking a lot about what I might want in a job. I will be settling in Canberra which is the capital of Australia and there are plenty of government jobs. I've always been interested in getting into the administrative side of my career, and to be honest, working for the government will earn me more money than anywhere else.
My days as a Recreation Therapist for the elderly, or better known as a Diversional Therapist in Australia, were busy and exhausting. I was always on my feet, pushing wheelchairs, lugging supplies, setting up for activities and events. I was often emotionally drained after a day of comforting those who are grieving the loss of their independance and settling those with dementia during frightening and confusing episodes.

Maybe this time I might do something easier, I am not implying that public service jobs are any less work than other jobs but I could ease into one by starting in an entry level or temporary position. Answering phones, e-mails and doing some light administrative duties. I would sit at a desk all day, and quiet my brain a little bit. I would take uninterrupted coffee breaks with adults and engage in adult conversation. I'd enjoy the pleasure of trips to the toilet without two kids following me and wanting to sit on my lap. I might even be able to make a phone call in peace, perhaps send an email without a two year old banging on the key board. Oh the luxury.

But is that what I really want?

I love working with the elderly, especially those who suffer from Alzheimer's and Dementia, sure it can be a long and exhausting day, both emotionally and physically, but it is also very rewarding. I love seeing the smile on their faces when I pop in to their room for a visit. It is an accomplishment for me when they complete a craft, baking or gardening project with ease. I am so amazed by them when they easily rattle off difficult answers to the daily crossword puzzle. Then there is the joy of Bingo, their timid voices can get really loud in the excitement of calling out a win in Bingo. I suppose I'll get to enjoy some serenity by taking them for a walk around the garden, enjoying the fragrant blooms and reminiscing with them about their own gardens. There is always time for a coffee break, gathering around a table, enjoying a cup of coffee and sharing stories of our children and family life. I would also get the opportunity for some quiet time, like when I sit with them bedside, during their last hours, holding their hands and reflecting on the life of my own loved ones.

I learn so much about life from these wise men and women, perhaps skills that would benefit me more in the long run than learning how to navigate through a government database.


  1. This comment comes with a disclosure - I am an ACT Government employee and it has been my job, in the recent past, to encourage more people to work for the ACT Government. Indeed I have sent you specific links to follow to look for a job.

    Having said that, on a personal level, we would be glad to have a person with your heart and warmth work in our public service. The world needs more people like you. The advantage too, of Canberra is that is relatively easy to navigate and organise yourself and your kids when you are working.
    Whatever you chose to do, and you may like to try a bit of each to see how you like it, I am sure you will be great!

  2. Thank you for such kind works, I struggle with this decision because caring for seniors is such a big part of who I am, but it is my advocacy for them that could be useful in the public service. I also have to be a little bit selfish and do what works best for me and my family.
    I look forward to whatever opportunities the fine city of Canberra holds for me :)

  3. Good luck with your choice! I also work in aged care (and specifically in dementia diagnosis and management) and you describe the positive aspects of the job well. My clients are in the early stages of dementia, not late, but it is still rewarding to be able to see that you are making a difference, if only briefly, to get involved with others' lives. Tough call for you..

  4. This is a very tough choice but whatever path you choose, you will be helping the elderly. Although from the sound of your blog, you love the one-one-one personal interaction. A compromise between the two may be to work in government and do some volunteer work on the side - someone with your experience and passion would always be welcomed. Good luck!