It’s like I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is staff meeting

10 12 2010

Social workers love communication. We tell our clients to do more of it with their families, their friends, and we’re probably even a pain in the ass about it with our own social circles. (Not me, but you get the idea.) We can solve anything if we just talk it out. This even applies to our office issues.

I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for a damn fine staff meeting.

We have them around here about once a month or so. For two hours we gather in the largest session room, that is normally reserved for group, and really hash things out. Then a coworker presents a family for group supervision, and we clear out.

Or we sit cramped together, complaining about the fact that pastries are no longer provided due to budget cuts, while our director voices our complaints and explains why nothing can be done about them. Then we listen while someone else talks about their impossible case, offer feeble suggestions, and leave feeling more overwhelmed and defeated than when we walked in.

We just had one of these meetings today. Allow me to walk you through our agenda.

  1. Cultural assessment in service plans– We need more, because this is what was cited in our last audit. Let me clarify–I recently submitted a service plan with a family assessment that included the family’s ethnicity, language, religion, and how they spend the holidays. Apparently if we’re not listing what traditional dances are done in their country of origin, we are lacking.
  2. Security in the office. This is a big one, since we’ve had two break-ins in the past two months. I was actually told to stop coming in early, so I wouldn’t be alone in the office, because things have been heating up.
    A little background–we are located in the “Little Italy” section of the Bronx, which is actually incredibly culturally diverse now. Not to mention a pretty rough area. It’s also where “A Bronx Tale” was set. So in addition to the regular street violence, there’s something a bit more…organized going on around here. (If you didn’t guess, I am, in fact, winking.)
    Our director tells us that we should feel safe, because we work upstairs from the “Italian Social Club.” Those guys are known to provide protection. (Apparently we’re ignoring the break-ins, for the moment.) He tells us that they’ve known for years what goes on around here. Surely we all remember when that man got out of a limo, went into the murder Social Club, and left with a bag of money? Oh, and the man was wearing a cape.
    I’ll let you mull that one over for a moment.
  3. Mundane office issues- There was a slew of these that I won’t bore you with, even though I had to suffer through them. Get more groups going, plan the Christmas parties, make more contacts…basically, everyone do more work. (I think I’ll have to remind him he told me not to come in early.)
  4. Finally, we got to group supervision. Which essentially means that we are all now worrying about a woman who has six kids, four of whom are in foster care, while the other two have severe mental health and behavioral issues. I guess it’s fair, though. Our director told me that I depressed the entire office the last time I presented a difficult case.

OK. I think you can see that this certainly was helpful, yes? Let’s get out there and help some people. On three…break!

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4 responses

10 12 2010
njsmyth

I, for one, am going to establish a new 12-step group. It’s called Meetings Anonymous and it NEVER meets. However, whenever some one asks you to go to yet another meeting, you are instructed to say “No, I’m sorry, I have another meeting I have to go to of this vital group I belong to, M.A.”

11 12 2010
socialjerk

I’m joining immediately! I look forward to collecting my first token 🙂

13 12 2010
Carolyn (from Canada)

Sounds like a plan to me! I have to stat. my work (so many hours treating families, assessing families, locating resources for families, so many hours for general admin, documentation, talking to staff). Recently I’ve been getting flack about the amount of time I have for “general administration” aka GA. They think we should meet about it. Guess which section said meetings go into to 🙂

13 12 2010
socialjerk

Oh boy. On the day “vicious cycle” was redefined…

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