Music Therapy Clinician: Supporting reflective clinical practice 2 - Page 10

The Background : At the time , I was working 30 hours a week at a hospital and 4 hours a week at a hospice agency with two particular clients . Both jobs were great on the clinical side of things : supportive supervisors and lots of freedom . Both also had their downsides : the hospital gig was a per diem position which didn ’ t make me eligible for paid time off , salary raises , or benefits . I was a contractor with the hospice agency , and I had to do the business end of things like invoicing , which is something I don ’ t really care for . I ’ ve always been active online by being a part of the Music Therapy Round Table Podcast 1 and blogging . But my online adventures were more of a hobby than anything .
The first surprise : I thought about this constantly . I would be at work and wrap up a session that was filled with great music therapy moments . I wondered , “ How could I leave this wonderful work ?” I would be at home pre-washing teeny tiny baby clothes and feeling the baby kick and I would think , “ How could I leave this person for work ?” I had to make a decision soon because time was moving on , and this baby was coming .

Leaving Music Therapy : Should I Stay or Should I Go ?

Michelle Erfurt , MT-BC
“ Am I letting down music therapy if I go ?” That was a question I asked a friend when I was very pregnant with my first child and trying to decide what to do – Should I stay in the field and take a traditional maternity leave from my job ? Or should I go away from the field and enjoy “ Stay At Home Mom ” status ? It seemed a very serious and final decision . I learned a lot about myself after going through this process that was full of surprises .

The Background : At the time , I was working 30 hours a week at a hospital and 4 hours a week at a hospice agency with two particular clients . Both jobs were great on the clinical side of things : supportive supervisors and lots of freedom . Both also had their downsides : the hospital gig was a per diem position which didn ’ t make me eligible for paid time off , salary raises , or benefits . I was a contractor with the hospice agency , and I had to do the business end of things like invoicing , which is something I don ’ t really care for . I ’ ve always been active online by being a part of the Music Therapy Round Table Podcast 1 and blogging . But my online adventures were more of a hobby than anything .

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Music Therapy Round Table Podcast ( http :// www . musictherapyroundtable . com )
I was working and it was going well for me . I ’ d often drive home with a smile on my face thinking , “ I love my job !” I made money . Both my professional and personal cups were full .
Then my husband and I decided to start a family , and I became pregnant . That was when it hit me : we have to take care of this kid ! How do we take care of this kid ? Where is he going to go during the day ? What do we do ?
We had to make a decision and my husband left it up to me . It was not an option for him to leave his job : it came with benefits ( mine did not ), he made a reasonable amount of money ( more than me ), he had been there longer ( so he had lots more paid time off and other extras compared to me ), and - though he never admitted this - I don ’ t think he wanted to be a stay at home dad . I could respect that , and I couldn ’ t see him in that role either .
So , when we talked about how we wanted to take care of this kid , he just said “ Whatever you want , babe . It ’ s your decision ” - something I both loved and hated hearing at the same time .
It is very difficult for me to make decisions . I look at both sides so much that I can ’ t pick one . So I wrote countless pro and con lists . I talked with friends and family members who went through this . I did a lot of budgeting to see if we could afford day care with both of us working ( we could but it was a little more than my earnings so if I didn ’ t work at all , we could budget and live within our means or , if I did work , we would still have to budget , but we ’ d be living within our means ).
In the end , it really came down to my personal preference … What did I want ? Did I wan to leave music therapy and stay home with my son ?

The first surprise : I thought about this constantly . I would be at work and wrap up a session that was filled with great music therapy moments . I wondered , “ How could I leave this wonderful work ?” I would be at home pre-washing teeny tiny baby clothes and feeling the baby kick and I would think , “ How could I leave this person for work ?” I had to make a decision soon because time was moving on , and this baby was coming .

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