Friday, 13 November 2015

When Life Interrupts Societies Ideal Idea of Earning


Many think of a career path as being select your subjects well in high school, get good grades, go to university to obtain a degree, graduate in the allotted time, go out and find a job and stay in that job, working your way up to as high a position as you can. Earn nicely in your salaried job including obtaining pension and other benefits and then when you retire all is well. This is a nice fairy tale, but reality is not always like this. There are all kinds of events that can and do happen that interrupt the wonderful plan that society lays down.

What if someone is in an accident and can no longer continue the work that they had been employed to do prior to the accident? What if someone contracts an illness and during the tests to determine what the illness is, a medical error occurred and the person ends up in a wheelchair? What if the person's work goes in or decides to downsize or even to relocate? In these scenarios continuing work as one had prior to the injury, illness, being retrenched or having to decide whether to relocate as well or not will all interrupt and alter the perfect plan. 

How about someone who was studying well and moving towards the goal of a degree and then something happens to alter this. Could be an illness, injury or any of a host of other options. What if the person has to take a year off from their studies and this will result in losing their scholarship or bursary or both? What if the person was doing well in school and then a parent dies and the plan to go to university is affected due to lack of funds. Perhaps it causes a delay, perhaps it requires finding funding. Or the person themselves can become ill or be in an accident, G-d forbid but it happens. There are many events that occur in life that can and do affect the path that society regards as the ideal.

In many of these situations, an occupational therapist can assist in helping the person it could be  through physical rehabilitation to regain function and skills to be able to continue working. It could be work rehabilitation to help the person to improve their endurance and conditioning to work effectively and to regain their ability to function in the role of worker.  It could be assisting the person to make decisions which can include adaptations in the work place or education in the place of work, the manner in which the tasks at work were carried out or a complete change entirely.

Now we come back to our theme of work from home that I began a few weeks ago. Just as there are times that someone can no longer fit into the usual mould of societies ideal path to earn a livelihood, so too how one works has changed a lot due to the advances in technology and other factors. In today's time, working from home is a very real option for many. It can be a choice in order to take care of your kids or for some other lifestyle reason or it can be a choice to enable you to work effectively and to set working hours that suit your health. There are many reasons to work from home.

I hope this post has helped to give you a glimpse into various scenarios that can alter and affect a persons ability to fulfill the worker role and to continue to work effectively. This change to their life does not have to mean a total loss of the ability to earn. There are times that earning becomes impossible, e.g. a person in a coma for a length of time obviously can not function on a basic level let alone to work. The person who is bedridden? Well it would depend on the reason for being bed ridden. Sometimes yes that means one can not work and sometimes, the use and careful structuring of a program including assistive technology, assistive devices and more can enable even a bedridden person to work to a degree. In future posts, I hope to show types of equipment that can assist someone to engage in activities that enter into the work arena. I will be exploring many more ideas on the topic of working from home, including, but not only, addressing the attitude of many that someone who works from home is not working. This is not true. 

Stay tuned for more posts on the topic of work from a OT perspective and specifically working from home.

I hope you enjoyed the post

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Artist and Author

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