Career Champion: “Some sort of breakthrough”


Sally Champion

Sally Champion starts to wrap up her 20-week blog series about the process of setting up a part-time business as a writer.

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Episode 19: “Some sort of breakthrough”

Last week I talked about some of my experiences in hospital. I want readers to know that happened in the 1960’s — a time, I think, when the medical “fix it” model reigned supreme — and a time when people weren’t as aware as they are now about the psychological needs of children.

I’ve educated myself about the effects of the experience and I’ve done what I can to mitigate it.  These days I don’t judge myself too harshly.  If I get off-track I just try and gently get myself back on it again.

I’ve read that Freud thought that love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness. I have always interpreted that as meaning that, to be fully human, it’s necessary to make the effort to extend yourself for something outside yourself and towards other people.

I want to continue to try and do that.

Sometimes while writing this blog about becoming self-employed I have felt complete despair about HOW I can continue to try and do it. I’ve grappled with the rules around the benefit system, worried about the process of getting work, just about driven myself crazy being on my own so much ( after the conviviality of office life), thought I’ve found solutions, then had to discard them, had a vision of what I wanted to achieve, then changed it, and so on.

Now at the eleventh hour I think I have made some sort of break through.

Firstly, I have discovered that you can get the Invalid’s Benefit and stop and start it around any work you may be able to do. So if I have a job that takes me two weeks to complete I can stop the benefit for two weeks then go back on it while I get the next piece of work, or rest if I need to. I quizzed the man in the call centre around whether the amount you earned was factored into the equation and he assured me it was the time it took you to do the work that was relevant.

This fits with my needs so well I’m tempted to dismiss it as too good to be true. And that may well turn out to be the case.  (I have been in receipt of erroneous information before and the detail of this arrangement isn’t covered by any written information produced by Work and Income, that I can find.)

Still it’s definitely something I will follow up.  If it doesn’t pan out I will think of another way.

Secondly, I trust myself more now. I feel confident that I will find a way.

Initially when I started writing this, I imagined I was going to outline a linear process.  I wanted the posts to be entertaining (I expected to be having more fun) and I wanted to lay out a series of stepping stones other people could follow.

It hasn’t turned out quite like that.  If I have any readers left, I hope you don’t feel too exhausted by the machinations of thought (mine) you’ve had to put up with.

Still the first job I did went well and I’m on the look-out for the next one.  As I said I don’t feel nearly as frightened these days.

So that’s progress, isn’t it?

Catch up with Sally for the last time next week.

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4 thoughts on “Career Champion: “Some sort of breakthrough”

  1. Thanks Kathy and Richard.

    Hi Leith

    I’m not going to give up. I think the only way to change anything is to feed your experiences back into the system and show how by changing a few of the “rules” things can be improved. That’s what I am going to try and do. If this Government wants everybody to work then it needs to help people do that by working with them on an individual basis (especially in the case of disability where people’s abilities are so diverse).

    I still haven’t got a definitive answer re starting and stopping the invalid’s benefit. I have only been working a few hours a day so it might work for me. However I can find no detail about that provision on-line. And I’m afraid from experience I wouldn’t accept as accurate verbal information from random individuals at the call center, etc.

    If Government produced some definitive written information around how the benefit system can help people work that would be a great start. Especially now when the way people work is so diverse, eg contract work, casual work, etc. My theory is that by working flexibly with people and letting them enjoy any financial benefits of the work they do (while government gratefully accepts their tax) people will be encouraged to push themselves further towards work.

    I don’t think giving up, learning to live within your means ( who could getting $300 a week), doing small jobs for barter, and waiting breathlessly for National Super is going to help anybody.

    But that’s not to say I don’t understand your thinking.

    Best wishes to you too Leith

  2. You keep it up Sally. Encouragement always sounds trite but “the darkest hour is just before dawn” I like to believe. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking but in a pessimistic world wishful thinking is under rated. Anyway my hopes travel with you. Richard

  3. Sally thank you for sharing your experience and strength and hope. It’s awesome. I’m humbled and challenged by your honesty and spirit. You are generous of stories told and to tell. Stay strong and in good heart. Kathy xx

  4. I will be interested to see whether your informant was correct about starting and stopping the invalid’s benefit. I recieved this for several years, and the information I had was that, if you are working for over 25-30 hours a week, you eligibility for IB will be in grave doubt and questioning. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Our present Government is an ungenerous and uncompassionate one for beneficiaries and it it getting worse.

    Your trajectory through the system is, sadly, “the usual”. Most people give up, learn to live within their means, do small jobs for barter, and wait breathlessly for National Super! It isn;t much of an increase, but at least you don’t have to worry about having it taken away from you!

    best wishes,

    Leith McMurray

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