I get to stay - but do I want to?
Last week I crossed my 6 month mark here in Australia. I arrived in Sydney at the beginning of the year on a 1 year work-travel visa. The plan was to work casually as a Speech Therapist and travel the east as much as possible. I am fortunate enough to have a profession that is in need here in Australia, so finding work was pretty straight forward. As previously discussed, I work as a community Speech Therapist, mainly seeing adults with acquired and progressive neurological conditions. For the past 6 months I have worked for several employers, as a casual Speech Pathologist in the community (healthcare is pretty different here to back home). Most healthcare providers are private, with some government funding stirred in. As a Speech Therapist I was generally in demand, although covid-19 impacted on my overall workload due to fear and anxiety allowing healthcare professionals into the community. Hence balancing a couple of different plates at one time to pay rent and live comfortably.
Things were going well until a couple of weeks ago, one of my casual employers approached me and offered me a full time position.
To give you some background, there are some restrictions involved with my visa. These include: not being able to work for one employer for more than 6 months … meaning that my time was coming to an end with all of my casual jobs. Despite this, my new manager was offering me a full time position AND sponsorship - what a blessing! This means that they’ll be paying for my full time visa (no restrictions) and I can stay (as long as I want). Incredible right? As I started sharing the news, I was met with astonishment and celebration. I quickly learnt that these opportunities are rare, and having not strived for mine, I almost felt ungrateful - as initially I wasn’t sure if I should take it.
The plan was always to be here a year and having been here 6 months already, it meant that I was half way into my trip, and half way home. If you know me, you’ll know that my family are everything. We're close like no-one I’ve met before - I actually love spending time with them, and knowing that I would be here for longer than expected made my heart skip a beat (in a bad way). I was just anxious I guess and unprepared for this new decision. Australia is definitely living up to the dream so far - despite no travel; I love the work that I do and my new team really are the best; I have a beautiful home by the sea and I’m building a great new community - so why was I not jumping at the opportunity?
I guess over the past 6 months I have kept one foot in the UK and one foot here in Sydney. I have been keeping up with friends and family at home and reluctant to make solid relationships here (knowing that I’ll be leaving ‘soon’). But staying an extra year (or more) meant that I would have to shift my perspective and not live life thinking “I’m on an adventure and I’ll be home (UK) soon”; but instead thinking “This is home for now (Australia).
To ruin the ending before the story’s even began - I’m staying. I took the job and this week I have begun the sponsorship process and could not be more excited for what’s to come. Of course I will miss my family and friends and it will be a heart shift to put routes down here, but I’m happy and looking towards the future with gratefulness and expectance. The moral of my story is that sometimes the obvious option that everyone can see, isn’t as easy for you to make - which is fine. We are all individuals, with unique feelings, emotions and thought processes. We get to have control of our own lives. So let me challenge you, take ownership of all the decisions you make and take time to evaluate and reflect before continuing - even if these decisions seem obvious to the world around you.