Saturday, 24 January 2015

A Whole New World - Moving into non-clinical practice...

Hello everybody!
Don't worry I'm not about to post a video of me bursting into Disney's Aladdin song, but given the enormous change in my working circumstances, I could have easily have sang my way through the streets after experiencing working in the private / corporate sector.

Now lets put this in context, I have worked for 12+ years (post qualification) in public health settings - so that's government run - underfunded, busy teams and departments, with short lunch breaks, average pay and with mainly health professionals. During my overseas trips (South America, Vietnam, Romania etc) I have volunteered, but again with health professionals around to speak, work and joke with.

Not anymore! As of 2015 I began life working for a large insurance company (who shall remain nameless for the sake of privacy). This is a little short term project, whereby I am part of a group of rehabilitation 'Consultants' who assess people who have Income Protection Claims (where an illness or injury prevents them from working either partially or totally). We look at the person's situation and see if there may be additional support that could given to them, to help them recover and get back to work... I don't want to really talk about the work side of things and am legally bound in what I can disclose anyway, but I do want to talk about the difference between working conditions!

DRESS CODE: No clinical uniform, (or as I have been used to in Mental Health your own clothes), oh no - this is the corporate world, so it's suits, / shirt and suit pants (at the very least). Ties are optional - as you might expect in laid back New Zealand. I've had a few heart attacks already at the cost of suits here, but I managed to find a cheap one ($250 NZ) in a department store instead of $600 minimum anywhere else that was decent. I have secretly (well not so secretly) enjoyed buying a whole new set of clothes, and yes more shoes too!

LOCATION & LUNCH: Working in the central business district - OMG I have never seen Wellington so busy and bustling with people as I see now every lunch time. Almost all food outlets are busy, and if people aren't out eating lunch they are going off to exercise classes ( I prefer my lunch break). And oh yes! No more scoffing sandwiches down or running to grab something quick. My luch break just suddenly went form 30 minutes to one hour! I'm prety sure I coudl squeexe in a massage f I really wanted to!

FACILITIES: In public health settings I am used to minimal space for kitchens at work, shared computers,working in publicly accessed buildings and some grotty departments. Well, I now find myself in a flash tall storey building, with lifts (elevators) that only work if you have a swipe card, infact you need a personal swipe card to get in the door, use the lift, use the photocopier, printer and even get back from the toilet! The kitchen is almost as large as my entire flat, and has a huge tv in it! The fact I have been able to watch sky sports whilst making a cuppa still amazes me. Perhaps best of all is the fact that as part of some social responsibility scheme there are free deliveries of fruit on Monday and Wednesdays! During my first week I have literally been in a constant state of shock. None more so than on day one when  was given my own computer - my own computer!

BUSINESS SPEAK: I have heard phrases and words that I have never heard / used before in my work. 'Let's get in front of that/them' = means early intervention, 'we are going to socialize that' (document / idea)... = we are going to share the document, and I can't even begin to go into the specific language of the insurance world.

MENTALITY / KEEPING STAFF HAPPY: I have worked with some great managers in the public health settings, though many of the Health Boards / organizations have rarely put as many practices in place to keep staff happy - comparative to what I have seen so far. There's a daily meeting in the organization where all staff (including video link to other offices in the country) have a representative and report on how people are 'doing'. The best bit is the rating is with smiley faces! There's regular team time where staff have chance to just say anything good that is going on for them in life, and then there's a little quiz done all together.  Did I already mention the free fruit? And discounted lunch time keep fit sessions?

SO...... basically I have had my eyes open to a new working world, with a different mentality, focus, amazing facilities and most importantly - nice people to go with it. The banter and jokes between colleagues is indeed different, and the level of client / customer / patient (insert appropriate label here...) is less. However the opportunity to be exposed to a new way of organizational structure, mentality, resourcing and flexibility has been wonderful so far.

THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Well I guess it's simply to never rule out any opportunity, as you never know what you might learn / get from it! Even if it's only free fruit!

Regards from New Zealand

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