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Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

Career Chat.jpg

Career Chat is back! 

Kicking off this Friday, Career Chat will run from 12pm - 3pm on a fortnightly basis! The wonderful @OstaraAust will again be running these sessions.

Our first topic of the year is - Why work? Benefits and challenges of employment.

According to research we know that, for the majority of us, work is fundamental to our mental health and wellbeing. Not to mention the positive effect it has on our bank balance!

It provides us with confidence, self efficacy, a community of likeminded people and (hopefully) an environment for personal and career development and growth!

 So we know it's important and we know it's useful ... but it does come with challenges especially when we're experiencing mental health issues.

When we are experiencing mental health issues work can seem like a burden and sometimes it’s just plain overwhelming … our motivation decreases, our anxiety increases and our issues can compound.

 It’s good to know that there are ways around these obstacles and during Friday’s Career Chat we will be sharing and chatting about this very topic.

I hope you’ll join us! 

Two things you can do now:

1) Hit 'Like' below to receive an email reminder during the session

2) Can't make the session? Leave your question below to be answered on Friday


Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT


Hi and welcome to the first of 2017's CareerChat sessions ... 

I personally ran the sessions last year for a little while and am excited to be back!

Our first topic seems obvious ... but it's a question that time and again challenges our clients who are all from the disability and mental health sector ...

So the question is why work? And realistically what are the benefits and challenges when we're experiencing mental health issues?

If I can begin with a story about a client of mine ...

This client had not worked for around 2 years, she came to our program wanting to get back on track. 

She finished the program ( a self efficacy, confidence building program) and decided it was time to work. In previous jobs she hadn't had great experiences, actually she never talked about previous experiences as they seemed so long ago!

So after getting herself in order, her life sort of on track (living in a bungalow, no friends yet) she started going for jobs that were basic but which paid the rent (she had been to uni and had excellent research and also typing skills) and kept her busy.

After a couple of attempts she landed a transcriber role listening to very confidential information. She did not disclose her mental health issues.

That was her choice and she felt that as they wouldn't be challenged in this type of work, there was no need.

She began with a couple of shifts and soon went up to 4 full days per week. She made friends slowly, as it turned out she knew someone there from a previous job ...

After a while she was moved to a highly classified area ... and she enjoyed it and making money was very beneficial!

She moved out of the bungalow and into a beautiful shared house and bought a cat.

At some point she returned to me and we discussed the challenges of working the long hours she was working ... we talked about strategies for dealing with this (relaxation, meditation, walking, gym) and she chose things that suited her.

It has been 3 or more years that she has been working as a typist, it does not use her degree qualifcations but she enjoys the work, the people and has opportunity to access different areas of the organisation if she wishes. 

The benefits for this client have been deep and long lasting, it's not just about the work but the re-engagement with society and the slow re-building of her self-esteem and self-efficacy.

That's one story ... I know there are many many more out there!!

If you're around and feel like sharing please join in today's session ...

Why work? What have beeen the benefits and challenges for you? 

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

Hi @OstaraAust,

I'm working atm and it's a big part of my self esteem and self identity.

The problem is managing this with mental illness!!!

Given I was in hospital late last year, my boss now knows about my mi and is very very supportive. But it's a big problem going back to work after time off and managing work and mental illness. And how/when/if to disclose to one's boss.

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

Hi @Former-Member (great wombat avatar btw Smiley Very Happy)

You are not alone!!

Most people with MI have the same issues ... how to get back into work whilst still having issues and whether to disclose.

These are major challenges.

May I ask ...

What have you considered doing to manage/juggle/balance work and mental illness symptoms/triggers/issues?


Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

I've been fired from my last few jobs due to poor performance, mainly due to impacts of my mental illness.

But this job is diferent and my boss is defiinitely different. 

My boss is now aware that I don't cope with stress very well and that I work a bit slower, need reminders, need to take notes etc. So she is mindful of that when giving me work. 

What have I considered doing? Trying to control and manage my stress and anxiety levels buy regular progressive muscle relaxtion and breathing. I also take a break at work and get a cup of tea as a little 'breather' when I'm sarting to freak out. 

My medication makes me really slow in the morning, so I arrive at work an hour early and have a coffee and just sit and wait for my brain to switch on. 

I only work part time. I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to full time work.

Ummmm what else?

I try and exercise and keep physically well. 

I am now seeing a therapist to help manage my symptoms. 

Lots of stuff!

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

Hi @OstaraAust
I'm at work lunch break at the moment. Why do I work - no choice really need money to pay bills mortgage. Feel stuck and have to. Also distracts me from negative thoughts.
If I had my way I wouldn't work. I seem to never have enough time for myself always doing things for rest of family.

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

I agree with what you're saying @diptrotodon

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

Well it sounds as though you are doing all the things I would be suggesting to my own clients ...

You are taking care of yourself in a physical, mental and emotional way, they're the three key players here.

There's probably something more you can do with the 'mental' side of things, although maybe you're going to cover these with your new therapist - which is an excellent move in my opinion.

some mental strategies:

  • use a journal at work to jot down feelings, thoughts and experiences that are happening at the time when you 'freak out'/feel anxious
  • then, use this to see whether there are any patterns ... do you experience anxiety after a particular trigger(s)/stimulus?
  • following discovery of a typical trigger or a few of them ... try to discover whether your reaction to these triggers can be delt with by noticing that it was a trigger, noticing your thoughts immediately after it and noticing what these thoughts made you do (want to get away, for example)
  • These thoughts are known as negative automatic thoughts and sometimes can really mess with our minds! But the good news is if you notice what your immediate thought is after experiencing the trigger, you could unlock its hold on you by finding evidence that the thought is NOT NECESSARILY TRUE. 

This is known as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) by the way and hopefully your therapist can tell you more ...

By discovering what we are doing with information/stimulus in our own 'heads' we may be able to circumvent anxiety by unravelling the negative thought's power over us. 

So, thought management is important!

You're doing fantastically by the way and what a great boon to have a boss who is thoughtful and understands ... well done!

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

HI @BlueBay thanks for joining in ... 

Yep lots of people work for the money and feel stuck.

Well done for sticking with it ... it's doing you good if it's distracting you from negative thoughts - work although a pain at times does have that benefit.

Is there anyway to get some career advice so you can perhaps do something more enjoyable or is that out of the question at this stage?

Re: Career Chat // Why work? Benefits and challenges // Friday, 24 Feb, 12pm AEDT

I love admin love typing - but I'm too scared to change because of fear of failing making mistakes. Interviews are stressful. But it would definitely be more money than what I'm getting now. I worked admin most of my career except last few years in pharmacy. Wage is so low. But I'm scared to move. Sounds stupid doesn't it.

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