FIFO Focus Director Sandra Lam joins Matt Layton as part of the REDFM series FIFO Life.
In part 70, Sandra talks to Matt about one of the biggest challenges of working FIFO, not being at home when things go wrong.
Not at home when things go wrong?
One of the major challenges of working FIFO is not being home when things go wrong. A listener of Red FM placed a request for us to provide some tips for situations like this and Sandra responded with the following piece of advice and suggestions. You can listen to the audio above if you prefer.
1. Share with your partner
It’s always a good thing to share what’s happening at home with your partner on site. This allows them to feel connected and part of the family. It also allows them to feel valued and their opinion and advice matters. Even if you don’t share what’s going on as the situation unfolds and prefer to share after the situation is under control, that’s ok, as long as that’s what BOTH of you agree is best for your relationship.
2. Don’t try to fix everything
The person at home facing the situation generally wants one or a few of these three things (a) to vent (b) to seek advice, or (c) to feel appreciated and acknowledged that he/she does face tough times and it’s hard to do it alone but they can do it. RARELY do they want the FIFO partner to fix it. Which is generally what the FIFO partner subconsciously thinks they need to do. This is important to know, they do not want you to fix it…. they have it under control and only want your support and guidance. You’re a team.
3. Acknowledge feelings of guilt
3) The FIFO partner will feel a range of emotions ranging from helplessness to anger but the underlying emotion that fuels these other emotions is guilt. Guilt for putting the partner in this situation by doing FIFO, guilt for not being available to help, guilt for not putting things in place to prevent this from happening. The first step for the FIFO worker is to label the emotion as guilt. The second step is to understand what guilt is – the underlying belief that you caused harm. The third step is to realise there is no way you can control everything at home, and things do happen. It’s part of life, FIFO or not. The final step is to figure out what your role is in whatever grief has been caused to your partner. Your role could simply be a supportive ear.
Your next discussion
When you are next together, take some time to discuss the validity of these things and share your points of view. Discussions like that can only bring you closer as a couple and strengthen your team spirit when separated by work.