At Recovery Partners, we get to work with customers from all walks of life. When we’re helping people recover from injury and return to work, it’s essential that we understand what the work they were doing entailed on a day-to-day basis. This way, we can facilitate a return to work that is practical, sustainable and fulfilling. Sometimes, this means returning to the same duties and sometimes it involves a customer walking down a new path. In both circumstances, we’re privileged to get an insight into the reality of many different roles in many different industries. For Recovery Partners Senior Consultant and Psychologist Vritika Chandra, a recent case gave her the opportunity to peek behind the red curtain at the life of an actor on the stage.
*Simone was an actor working in a play when she sustained a lower back injury that left her unable to work in the theatre roles that were her primary employment. ‘Although it may not look like it, these roles can be quite physically demanding,’ Vritika says. When they met, it was evident that Simone had a commitment to her craft but was also realistic about her employment potential in the wake of her injury. ‘When Simone came to Recovery Partners for new employer services, I noticed that she was very motivated, right from the beginning, and was working hard on her own recovery.’
Vritika conducted a vocational assessment for Simone that took her previous training and employment experience into account. From this, she identified three potential options for work Simone could do while she recuperated and underwent physiotherapy. These options were:
- More acting work (in roles that were not as physically demanding)
- Arts administration clerk
- Information clerk and customer services officer (as Simone had experience in hotel reception/administration duties).
Of these options, number two, arts administration, really interested Simone, Vritika says. ‘While she loved acting, it hadn’t really occurred to Simone that she could work in a role that was adjacent to acting, still in the arts and using her administration skills. She was excited by that possibility.’ They agreed that Simone would focus on looking for acting roles with the help of her agent and professional network, and Vritika would provide job-seeking assistance for administrative positions. ‘As an actor, Simone was used to canvassing for her own jobs, so she was surprised and grateful that we were able to offer her so much help,’ Vritika says.
While they were looking for roles in these areas, Vritika helped Simone to update her resume and tasked her with writing tailored cover letters for the different sorts of roles she would apply for. Simone had a lot of support from her family and medical professionals, and this combined with her own positive attitude, were definitely assets to her recovery, Vritika says. ‘Simone had all the right people around her, and she was self-motivated. Writing her own cover letters helped her to stay engaged in the process and feel the momentum of her recovery continuing.’ The pair also attended a medical case conference with Simone’s doctor, who was happy for her to apply for jobs while she recovered, but who urged her to be cautious, Vritika says. ‘Simone had a lot of energy! Her doctor actually had to tell her to slow down so she wouldn’t exacerbate her injury.’
By the time Vritika and Simone met for their second job-seeking session, Simone had already received an offer for a part in a play and her agent was negotiating the contract. By the third session, the contract was signed, and Simone had been discharged early from her physiotherapy treatments, as she’d made such good progress. Her GP gave his blessing for a full return to work, and Simone joined the team of a play set to tour the country.
‘Simone was really appreciative of the help I’d given her, but ultimately she did a lot of the work herself,’ Vritika says. ‘It’s always ideal if someone’s recovery aligns with the work opportunities that come along, and that’s exactly how it turned out for Simone.’
Congratulations on your new role, Simone!
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*Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals and organisations involved.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/
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