Caring for a loved one can often mean a change in the way you work. Some carers find there are short term changes needed to adapt to the new situation, but for others there may be some fairly significant longer terms shifts, or even a complete 180 needed to reassess career aspirations. It’s different for everyone.
Returning to work might not be possible for all carers – for a variety of reasons – but we spoke to those in our community who did return to find out what they had to consider along the way to balance both roles.
How did you adjust your goals and expectations around work and career?
“I was a bit of a go getter at work and quite easily topped our service expectations in my region. I became aware fairly quickly that I could not keep this up given the personal stress at home. If I didn’t adjust my goals I knew I’d be heading for serious mental health issues”.
“When I had to stop working I was just 9 months away from earning long service leave. We had some big plans for the time off – caravanning, trips away, helping out the family – that never happened. I realised I needed to change my goals and expectations as I was grieving for something we’d had planned for a long time”.
When you returned to work, how did you communicate your responsibilities as a carer to your employer?
“At first I had no idea I was considered a “carer” and there was support for me – I thought what went on at home should be personal. I took a break and learnt about myself, about speaking up, telling the employer I was a carer – that I may from time to time need to just leave with short notice and take time to support the person I care for. I am more open now about my caring role and how it affects me from time to time”.
“I chose to be very upfront about why I had moved and changed positions – due to my loved one’s accident – and they have been very supportive about any time off I need and the emotional effects caring has on me”.
Did you have to rethink the type of work you do to reduce any potential stress or demands?
“I now would only work in a role that give me flexibility, compassion and support. I’m no longer interested in roles with KPI’s that would put added pressure on me – I’m fine with achieving outcomes in my work, but not when they’re measured so forcefully”.
“Absolutely! I couldn’t handle the stress of the hospitality industry now. I’m considering working as a carer for someone else. I see the demand and need for it and think it would suit me well”.
Has becoming a carer motivated you to do different and perhaps more meaningful work than before?
“I’ve been fortunate to have found work supporting people like myself, people who care for a loved one. These roles have continued to build my skills and knowledge to support myself and others”.
For more information on caring for someone with a brain injury, check out the Family and Carers section of our Information Hub.
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