Hey Ky! Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am black, Wardaman/Wagadagam on my mother side and African American on my fathers. I was born and raised mostly in the Northern Territory in a predominantly darkng and working Sydney as a social work graduate. I love music. I’d like to say I am into introspective soul. Also a tea connoisseur and plant mom to be.
What do you do for work each day?
I work for a community mental health organisation in Western Sydney as an Aboriginal Engagement Officer. In this role I work with people with a diagnosed/undiagnosed mental health condition who do not currently have an NDIS package. I also work as a Paediatric Social Worker in a tertiary hospital.
If you weren’t working in this area, what would you do?
I kinda fell into both these roles accidentally actually. It’s not the type of social work practice I saw myself in whilst I was studying and even after I finished school. I prepared myself to be much more of a community development social worker. I never thought I had the skills to be a clinical social worker but I’m still learning and figuring myself out professionally.
I’m lucky to be in a position and part of teams that are nurturing, show an incredible amount of patience with me, and that have provided me opportunities to learn and challenge myself professionally during this pandemic.
How has the current state of the world impacted your work?
I work from home half the week. I no longer have access to an appropriate work space. Most of my work gets done between the dining table and on the floor at my coffee table. I don’t have access to my team the way I usually would. I started my role in mental health a few weeks before covid-19 started to significantly impact NSW. Transitioning to working from home was difficult as I was still orientating into my role, and programs that I would be working in. I’m having to be creative in how to support people with mental illness/es while from working from home and social distancing.
Working in the hospital has been difficult also. I no longer have access to wards except the one I am allocated. Pretty much all of my patient/carer contact happens via phone or telehelath even if they are in the hospital to limit direct contact. The hospital is separated in to low risk and high risk areas and this includes patients and staff. I’m not allowed into my collegues’ offices if they are in a high risk area and vice versa. It’s hard to have continuity or have satisfaction in my work but I am so lucky to work in a team of social workers that are dynamic and willing to pick up when somebody has to put down. These are not normal circumstances we are having to work in and its actually be kind of incredible to learn and watch them in my graduate role.
What is one personal attribute you feel you bring to your role, that helps you?
My organisational skills and creativity have been so helpful but also been put to the test. I find it really difficult to think and act clearly when I’m not organised and when things aren’t in order. I realised early on that it’s hard for me to stay focused working from home on my own with no person to help me, or keep me accountable/ontrack or clear task/role to complete. Day to day schedules and morning zoom meetings with my team has made a significant difference in keeping me connected and getting work done
How do you take care of yourself during these times?
Two major things have occurred.
1) I started studying the bible with my partner. I don’t think that I have ever really had my own conceptualisation what/who God is. I wanted to have different relationship to God but also have a clearer understanding of the bible actually is about.
2) I moved house. I was living in a space that did not respect boundaries and would not assist to adapt to the changes everybody has to go through. I needed to be in a space that I could better manage my chronic health condition by reducing external stress but also now because I have to work from home and I could do neither. Moving during covid-19 was not an ideal situation but it was nessesary to protect myself. I was scared and unsure about what was to follow as most people are during this time but I felt the difference the first night in my new house. I’m still adjusting to my new environment but it has been a really positive experience that has been supported and filled with love (from 1.5m away). Now that I’m settling down I am trying to adjust to new routines like training at home, eating good, keep to a sleep schedule and moisturising my hair because tbh sis is tired.
What is a valuable lesson learned recently?
You need to take accountability for your words, your thoughts, your actions. You have to deal with the consequences of your own doings and the results of how you treat people. You have to put in work to maintain relationships and to have a positive impact on the people around you. Nobody is going to do the work for you. You can’t be upset when you figure out that you have been the architecture of your own misfortune.
Favourite book? Still can’t do my daughter’s hair by William Evans
Best way to unwind?A shower, a cup of tea and sitting in the sun
What is a 10/10 series you’re watching?Insecure, despite only 2 episodes of season 4 having been released so far on Foxtel
Honest coffee order? Weak latte 1 sugar
Sweet or savoury? Depends what time of day it is