I never realised how much of a fundamental need I had to feel secure until I didn’t. Possibly because there’s been financial failure in our history involving a failed business and loss of everything we owned, including a house, that when we arrived in Newcastle (from Hobart) 2 ½ years ago, we both went hammer-and-tongs looking for work. Building a house and looking for work while in debt, somehow coincided, which made us search for work with gusto.
heading in the wrong direction
Newcastle (Newie) is an industrial town and we arrived in the middle of the GFC. Meyles found work pretty soon, and I have worked probably 60-70% of the time since arriving in casual short-term (one long term) roles. Within a few months of moving into our new house, Meyles was made suddenly redundant and I only had a few weeks of casual work ahead. Our debt was at maximum and my sense of insecurity soared. My search for a permanent job intensified. After 5 months Meyles found another job. My contract finished and I immediately went in search for work. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Apart from shock and abject fear, this cancer business was going to seriously complicate my search for work and I found it very, very inconvenient! I must admit that at times I began to wonder if there was a force out there in the nebular working against me. It seemed that I could just not get my life back on track. I had become so zeroed-in on finding work that almost nothing else mattered. I desperately needed to feel secure – financially as well as from a health perspective. With a death in the family a couple of years ago from cancer, this also added to my sense of insecurity.
But as my focus turned from getting a job to looking after my health, my outlook began to change. I had a couple of sessions with a psychologist during the breast cancer treatment and when she heard about the type of changes my life had been through over the past couple of years from moving interstate, changes of jobs, changes of social circles, she told me people go through an adjustment phase whenever there’s significant interference in either their social, emotional or occupational worlds. And I had (and was) experiencing ongoing re-adjustment in all 3 areas at once. This made a lot of sense.
And then I saw our bank statement and began to realise that we were actually surviving OK on one wage. So I relaxed and when the hospital treatments were over and I was cleared after 5 months I began looking again for work. This time round it was not so desperate and fear-driven. I relaxed into interviews and found myself being offered a role in exactly the type of work I love. Not only that, but my pay expectations were exceeded! (I start next week!) It’s another temporary contract, however has scope for extension over the long-term.
proceeding with caution
I feel more secure now than I have in the last 2 ½ years. But not because I have another temp role, but because of several reasons. We can survive on one wage. My breast cancer was very small and is fixed with a very limited likelihood of recurrence. Socially I have also established some good friends and I have accepted that my working life is what it is. So life has a more secure feel about it now. I am so glad about that!
Have you discovered anything that you have had to ‘adjust’ to? What was it and what made the difference for you? Click ‘comment’ and share.