Weaving together a new kind of working life


I have a confession…I have been working freelance. A new and unfamiliar world to me and many others in my field of work. For some time now I have been undertaking short-term academic and clinical job roles; Weaving together a new kind of working life. It felt like a bold move at first but has allowed me to build flexibility and balance into my working life. This has been fantastically useful living through a pandemic with a young family at home. But its somehow more than that……

Working freelance on short-term projects from all three of my area of expertise (occupational therapy clinical practice, teaching and dementia research) gives me choices and the freedom to work on the projects that interest and matter most to me. I am not forced to ‘give up’ on any of the strands of my professional career, instead, I get to weave them together. The ongoing learning and development I gain from each of these areas feed directly into the skills, insights, and competencies I have to offer the others. This results in a varied and fascinating working week that might see me teaching masters students at one HE institute at the start of the week, offering Occupational therapy consultancy to a care home group or assistive technology developer mid-week and then meeting with colleagues from a different HE institute to put together an exciting new research bid at the end of the week.

For anyone considering such a move, I must warn you that the road is often bumpy, and I do sometimes miss the familiarity and reassurance of knowing where and if I will be working next month. But at present it is working, I am thriving in my newly woven role. I enjoy planning and organising the different workstreams and weaving my weeks together, sometimes with a bit of this, sometimes with a lot of that. Always with excitement at the latest project and opportunity.

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