Having spent many years working in high-level administration roles, Michelle Wade decided she needed a change.
So when Michelle Dobson, creator of the This is Me Agency, approached her to ask if she would be interested in becoming a support worker she jumped at the chance to do something a bit different.
Currently, her role involves supporting two self-employed clients who both suffer from the same illness, M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) also known as CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
The pressures of running a business can take their toll and for people suffering from M.E. simple, everyday tasks can become huge mountains to climb. Michelle works with them to help lift some of the pressure and take on any tasks that they’re struggling with; suggesting and implementing improvements, maintaining and updating systems and any more general support needed.
For these particular clients, this includes administration support, social media marketing, accountancy and offering guidance and motivation to help keep them going.
Michelle is loving this opportunity as she loves working with people and being able to make a difference. Being self-employed herself means that she has the flexibility to plan the work around her two children and her family life, giving her much more freedom than a standard nine to five job.
She also finds it refreshing to be able to utilise long, dormant skills while learning some new ones along the way!
There are challenges involved, which are different for each client.
Michelle was not familiar with M.E. previously so has had to learn how to look at things from different angles or adapt working methods depending on the particular client’s health and needs at the time.
People with M.E. can find it difficult to concentrate so she needs to keep that in mind when working with them as they can grow fatigued quite easily.
Both clients had been working alone for so long that they sometimes struggled to ask for help, but this has improved over time as working relationships have developed along with trust and a mutual understanding.
In order to be a good support worker Michelle believes there are certain qualities that are needed.
They need to be an excellent listener, have a positive attitude, be flexible in their working methods, be organised and have a genuine desire to want to help others.
Understanding the client’s needs, having the ability to manage multiple priorities and adjusting to different situations are all incredibly important.
The specific skills and experience required will always be different depending on the needs of the client so adaptability is key.
While being a support worker isn’t always easy, Michelle wouldn’t change it. She has so much admiration for her clients and by developing (and continuing to develop) an understanding of how their illnesses affect them, appreciates how it can make every day a struggle.
This gives her such a huge amount of job satisfaction, knowing that she’s helping her clients maintain the professionalism and high standards in their businesses.
By taking some of the pressure away and being there for general support they don’t feel like they’re on their own; they have someone in their corner, helping them fight their battles.
She has a fantastic working relationship with both of her clients and says that it “is an absolute pleasure to be working as part of their businesses through ‘This is Me’.”
If you’d like to know more about becoming a support worker please contact us here.