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If you’re a caring person, a career in care can seem like a logical step. Whether you care for elderly individuals, children, or anyone in between, you may well decide that this is the path for you. How better to contribute to society? These may not be the highest paying jobs in the world, but that’s not the point.
If you’ve already cared for a relative, or raised children, then you may even consider yourself partially qualified. And, in some ways, that’s true. Care, whether for family members or strangers, often consists of the same fundamental points.
And, of course, for many care jobs, you need nothing more than a willingness to help others. As long as you have a patient manner and a kind smile, care homes and such may well take you on.
But, before you get your Florence Nightingale hat on, note that care isn’t the idyllic career choice many believe. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult. Not only will you have to be physically fit, but you’ll also need to handle some unexpected hurdles. And, to help you prepare, we’re going to look at some of them here.
More than any other career, work in a care job never stops. More often than not, you’ll find you have to stay after your shift has finished. If a child comes to a social worker at the end of the day, they can’t refuse to listen. Equally, you’ll have to step up to the plate if anyone’s ill, or has a holiday. Your clients need care every day of the year. Not to mention that you may find it difficult to take time off yourself. Your level of responsibility for those you work for may stop you booking time away. How can you leave them? But, if you aren’t careful, you’ll start to suffer for all the hours you’re putting in.
If your hard work does start to get on top of you, you’re at risk of exhaustion. This is an issue for a few different reasons. On an obvious note, it won’t be good for your mental or physical health. Those who work with children often experience an issue termed as ‘social work burnout,’ which can even lead to a lack of care. It’s not exactly what you had in mind when you started out, right? But, burnout like this is a result of care overload. Eventually, your emotions just switch off in an attempt to cope. And, burnout isn’t unique to those working with children, either. Anyone in a caring role is at risk if they overwork.
We all have an idea of sitting by the bed of an elderly patient and reading them to sleep. Isn’t that what a carer’s dreams are made of? Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not what care jobs look like in 2017. In fact, the reality couldn’t be more different. Care services are more stretched than ever. As such, carers simply don’t have enough time to spend with each patient. Often, you’ll only have ten minutes to get someone washed, dressed, and fed. The conversation won’t even come into it.
Plus, changes in regulation with many jobs mean most of your work will be paperwork or online admin stuff. Far from the personal connections you hoped for, your days could be spent forming a relationship with a screen. It’s a heartbreaking reality, but one that’s becoming more and more widespread. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you take any care job.
No matter how nice you are, it’s not unreasonable to expect thanks for your hard work. But, you probably won’t get it. Few people are grateful to their carers. You’ll get one or two clients who appreciate what you do, but most won’t thank you. And, why should they? You are, after all, only doing your job. But, if you’re doing this for recognition, you should think again.
In extreme cases, people you’re caring for will actually become angry with you. And, it’s understandable. It’s difficult to accept help from someone else, especially if you’ve lost your independence. So, don’t think that all your clients are going to become best friends. Often, care workers have to deal with verbal abuse from a variety of different clients. If you don’t think you could handle that, it might be better to look for something else.