Career Champion: “Signing off”

Sally Champion

This week Sally Champion finishes her 20-week blog series, about the process of setting up a part-time business as a writer, with a future goal and a promise that she’ll be back!

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Episode 20: “Signing off”

Here we are at the end of my blog about setting up a part time writing business as well as trying to manage the effects of polio. Writing this blog has been a strange accompaniment to what has been one of the most challenging times in my life. I’m sure writing down what’s been happening, as it’s happening, has amplified my consciousness of it – rather like cramming for an important exam.

I feel very privileged to have been able to write this blog, week after week.  I would like to thank Philip Patston, the I Think Differently website convener, for giving me the opportunity. A while back Philip suggested that I write about what my perfect job would look like. (He hasn’t given me many suggestions. I’ve been free to write what I like.) At the time I didn’t have a really clear idea what that perfect job could be, except writing in its widest form.

Now I do.

After my experience over the last 20 weeks I would love to write some really comprehensive material to help people with a disability, on the Supported Living Payment (Invalid’s Benefit), who want to work. I would need to ask lots of questions if I were to help compile such a guide but who would be in a better position to ask those questions than me.

There seem to be many disparities in the eligibility of people with different types of disabilities. Some get “gold star” status, while others (for whom working and managing their disability may be as difficult), get landed with a “do not pass go” card.

I can only imagine lobbying by certain disability groups is the reason for this discrepancy. As a group of people with common interests, surely we need to think “win/win” for each other. Who else will advocate for us as strongly as we could for each other?

I’ve found it impossible to find detailed definitive written information about the payment stand-down provision while earning and I have grown to distrust individual interpretations. So I’ve been stumbling around in the dark not knowing how to manage the whole generating income dilemma (where, in my situation, it is impossible to predict how much), alongside being frightened about generating income because of Supported Living Payment restrictions.

Surely this doesn’t benefit anybody?  (No pun intended.)

I have good skills and work experience.  I want to continue to contribute but I also need some back up if I can’t find suitable work, or I need to rest.

Anyway, I’m going to send in details of this post through to Work and Income to see if they’ll give me the job of producing such a guide. I really think I have the perfect audience viewpoint for the work.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who has followed this blog. I’ve really appreciated your comments and encouragement. Sometimes I have felt very touched by what people have said – even if they have been family and friends and they have a “vested” interest in me .  It’s great to know you care about me enough to take the time to read what I’ve written and make comment. I’ve also become very fond of people out there whom I don’t know, like you, Leith and Peter.  Thanks for sticking with me and for your comments and advice.

We are all in this life together.  I’m sure if we keep putting ourselves out there and expressing our views things will get better.

I’m certainly not giving up. I can’t afford to. I’m unable to live on an average of $400 a week – the maximum it appears you can ever get if you are on the Supported Living Payment. But I promise I will find a way somehow to get through this particular maze and out the other side again. I told Philip I would send in brief progress reports, so watch out for those.

For now though, it’s farewell and best wishes to you all.

Career Champion, signing off!

Career Champion Signing off...

Webmaster’s note:

Thank you, Sally, for your generosity in sharing your journey with us. It has been a pleasure hosting you over the past 20 weeks. Your candour about the personal effort and energy it takes to find self-employment has been enlightening and I’m sure a comfort to others trying to do the same. You’ve also highlighted some systemic inequities that burden some more than others and that do nothing to encourage those with unique needs to contribute to the economy in a way that values and acknowledges their situation.

On behalf of the I Think Differently community, I wish you well as you continue to follow your dream. I think your idea to approach Work and Income to write some easily understood guidelines about payment stand-down provisions is inspired. We look forward to keeping in touch.

All the very best.

Philip Patston

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3 thoughts on “Career Champion: “Signing off”

  1. Just finished reading your blog. Why didn’t I ask you about your time in hospital when we were kids? Totally interesting blog journey. I have gone the minimalist way; I get a regular benefit $210 a week and have been living in my car since April. the adventure of my late middle age!

  2. I have been following your blog from the beginning…thanks to Susie Hall for alerting me to it. Thought provoking, real and so well written. You’re a star Sally Champion and such a good writer!!! More please, on any subject.

  3. Dear Sally,

    Thanks for the mention!

    Sadly, I knew it would end this way, but I think your idea is excellent! I hope you idea is taken up but I suspect Work and Income won’t want the truth emblazoned in the public domain.

    80% of people on the Autism Spectrum, are unemployed. This includes some of the cleverest and most creative and inventive people in the country. We are disabled by our different way of being, which annoys so-called “normal” people- in a nutshell. But Work and Income rejects us rigidly. Things are set to get much worse for the disabled in this country. Rules of eligibility are being made tougher and we will see increased numbers of beggars on our streets before long.

    I do suggest that you find a disability group where you fit in and perhaps take on some advocacy work because you have the skills to do that. It is very important that the voice of the consumer of services is heard- loudly!

    Best wishes in your endeavours!

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