A Day in the Life of ... Jade Bower
The opportunity to be part of a life changing event can be a moving and often pleasurable experience and makes coming to work worthwhile. As a Registration Officer as well as dealing with birth and death registrations and taking notice of marriage and civil partnership, you are in a unique position to ensure the ceremony is legal and correct and to be part of an exciting moment in someone's life. So what do the staff say about their work?
We spoke to Jade Bower who works in the Winchester Register Office for her perspective on working for the Hampshire Registration Service
How long have you been a Registration Officer?
I only recently came to work for the Registration Service and started in March 2009.
Before that I worked for a local law firm as an IT Customer Services Manager.
So what brought you into the Registration Service?
I enjoyed my work with the law firm but wanted a change and to have the opportunity of having some form of contact with real events in people’s lives. The Registration Service seemed to offer all that I was seeking so here I am, enjoying my work with no regrets about the move.
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
The role is varied but at the moment the key aspects of my job are to register Births and Deaths, and to take notices for Marriages and Civil Partnerships in accordance with the law. As I am quite new to this role there is a lot to learn still.
What is a typical day for you?
I think it is fair to say there is no typical day for a Registration Officer. You are in the unique and privileged position of sharing in the key events of a persons life. Obviously, this ranges from the extremely happy events like marriages and births, to the very sad times of losing a loved one. No two days are the same and we can experience a vast range of emotions throughout the course of the day's work.
Sometimes it is fairly straightforward when the person registering the death is in possession of all the necessary information and is not too emotional. Other times it can be distressing. Especially if someone is registering something like a sudden death and they need to talk. Sometimes you almost feel like a counsellor but it is this side of the job that makes it so rewarding. If we can help make a death registration a little less distressing than people expect it to be then it is very worthwhile.
Behind every event there is a story. I recently registered a Death of someone who had survived Auswitz and had married one of the soldiers who had liberated the camp. The lady had gone on to live a long and happy life with her husband and children so it was important to ensure the family’s contact with this Service did not sully her memory.
There are occasions when people decide very near the end of their life that they wish to get married. As a Registration Officer I had the privilege of assisting with a deathbed marriage and the subsequent death registration a few days later.
On a lighter note, searching through the old registers can be interesting when you look at the trend in names, causes of death and other aspects of the social history that encapsulates our lives at times of great joy and great sadness.
What about challenges. What challenges do you face in your job?
The challenge for me is to not forget anything. Being new to the role means there has been a steep learning curve to get to grips with the job. Enjoyable but hard work at times.
Why would you recommend a career in the Registration Service at Hampshire County Council?
No day is ever the same and you are constantly learning new things about the job and more importantly in many ways, about the people you come into contact with. There is lots of support when you are starting out so you can learn how to do the job with the right support.