Don’t give up, don’t leave, don’t step out of the arena. Your purpose, your heart’s intent. Belongs HERE. In the occupational therapy professional space.
The beauty of occupational therapy.
There are so many niches, specialty areas, practice settings, traditional and non-traditional roles you can assume, explore, and potentially land in.
My biggest OT advice for you: Try on multiple OT hats and styles. Network with other like minded OTs or other local professionals that you resonate with! Society tells you to stay in your OT box, pick your work setting and stay there. But that is NOT true. You do not become less marketable if you try different OT job settings/roles in your first 5 years of practice.
I have practiced OT for 7 years and have worked in 5 different main settings/full time jobs. Following my heart’s intent, aligning with my higher purpose is what led me to opening my own Holistic OT practice, and even working in a non-traditional OT role to support/consult on mental health clients for a local non profit mental health clinic.
My heart’s never been happier!
You don’t have to finish your OT schooling and decide where you want to work for the next 20 years. Change is good. Evolution is good. Finding what aligns with your heart, landing in a practice area that you’re passionate about, will make your work so much more enjoyable!
You can use your occupational therapy educational background and OT lens for the higher good. The skills I’ve learned on looking at people more holistically has helped expand my knowledge to be a better mom and friend and wife. Often the lessons I learn in a continuing education course, I can not only apply to my work life but even my personal life!
This profession is SO needed in our world. Use your knowledge, your passion, to lift up your community.
And in the process my OT friend, remember to fill your own cup! As an occupational therapist, you likely enjoy serving others. But as the saying goes, you can’t fill from an empty cup.
My next biggest advice is to explore your own wellness toolbox and find what sticks in your own day to day life. The more you are taking care of your own physical and emotional wellbeing, the greater work you can do with your clients if you’re modeling the same skills we are trying to teach them. I am grateful for the time I’ve spent working with a fellow holistic OT to find my own mindbody tools, regular chiropractor sessions and energy work, and seeking out a therapist when I’ve needed it through life’s bumps. I’ve become a more well rounded practitioner and has helped prevent and manage “burnout” in my own life.
You got this fellow OT!
Maria Serbus, OT/L
Owner/Founder of Grounded Evolution