Reflection on new beginnings- My new work term at the Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing

Hello everyone! With every end is a new beginning, indeed!After going off the radar for some R and R before spring term officially starts I’m back again for another term of sharing the good, the bad and the awesome in my final work placement for WKEXP 913! I admit I was very happy to have a week-long gap between the end of my work term at the Students’ Union and the beginning of my work term here at the Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing as the Policy Writer for the summer. Here is a brief spill on what am I doing here, who am I doing it with and how things are going so far.

What is Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing?

GEF Seniors Housing is a not-for-profit charity organization that provides housing for seniors in various forms. They operate nine lodges, twenty low income apartments and two duplex communities. They house about 2,600 seniors inEdmonton, with an average age of 78 in the apartments and an average age of 85 in the lodge. One important thing to note is that GEF Seniors Housing provides housing for subsidized prices and they provide more than just a place to live. Last year, for one of my classes that involve Community Service Learning (CSL), I volunteered in one of their lodges for their special projects. The staff provides meal services, maintenance, social events and activities that help seniors live a diverse, fulfilled and comfortable lifestyle. It’s not often that anyone gets to work in an organization that they volunteered for so I am really glad to work with them for the next four months.

 What is my position?

I will be working as a Policy Writer for the Facilities Management Department. From the information that I received from the interview, I will be primarily working on developing a Policy and Procedures Manual which is in great need of updating. Policies are indeed very important in an organization because these are guidelines in dealing with situations and processes. I will be gathering information and learning about the activities that are going to be covered in the policies. After that, I will be drafting the document in a way that the policies are understandable and the importance of following them is communicated clearly. Right from the interview, I had a head-on awareness on what I will be dealing with so I’m looking forward to making sure that there will be a very good quality final product of my efforts at the end of August.

How would you describe the process of finding this position?

I think my thoughts and feelings during my post about my pre-placement days are still very prevalent during the past few months. I have been applying for placements since the fall term and with every rejection email, phone call or even the lack of response from that potential employer, you can’t help but be discouraged. And then all of a sudden, I received phone calls for interviews during the final exam period. Talk about timing! The frustration, then the thrill of interview call and then the feeling of dread while waiting for an offer are simply a roller coaster ride! While I had the thought that there is a chance that many, or most co-op students experience the same thing, it wasn’t until this past week that I realize how true that is from the conversation that I had with my fellow co-op student here.

How is your first week so far?

I really enjoyed it and I hope the trend continues on – after all I’m only in my first week. While getting oriented about the organization and the only project that I’ll be working on, I discovered a few things:

  • I have a fellow student from the B.Com Cooperative Education Program here! I was so thrilled when I discovered that. Phuong will be the research assistant – ironically enough, a position I also applied for – and we are sitting beside each other for our whole terms. We have already been helping each other out for little things in our work and for keeping each other company, which is really nice for a change.
  • It reminds me a lot of my past position as Student Governance Officer. This position, I can say is one of those that the organization didn’t have in the past, just like how the SGO position was a pilot one. Therefore my tasks, the timeline on which I have to do them will be vague and flexible. My supervisor and I know our final goal – a complete Policy and Procedures Manual ready for review – but how to get there will be a still unknown but fun journey.
  • I realized how valuable the result of my work is going to be. I had my second major meeting with my supervisor in day three, where we talked about the areas we need to write policies about. All of them are about very important issues and I realized that whatever I end up writing, if it gets approved, will affect staff and the seniors in a real tangible manner. It will affect the very rooms they stay in and how these will be taken care of. Does that increase the pressure for deadlines, or what the policies are supposed to be? Yes! Does that increase the feeling of achievement I will get when I achieve this goal with flying colors? Yes!
  • Our workstation location is interesting to say the least. Renovations are going on throughout the building, hence our background in the picture above. Also, we are right in front of the lunch area so the scent of the yummy food our co-workers have travels right to us. It is a great consolation though that we have a fully loaded kitchen! If I choose, I can even cook my meals from scratch. I’ve never seen anything like it. In my mind this is the dream staff room kitchen personified. We are also told that we might even relocate as the renovation continues, but as long as they don’t disrupt my information chart here, I’ll be okay.

    Stickes are a great way to organize thoughts, processes and heirarchies. Apparently my supervisor believes in the same thing!

I hope that all of you are having a good time in your first few weeks of the spring part of your placement! How did you feel during your first few days? I hope you take the time to enjoy it, reflect on it and share it as well!



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