I haven’t wasted any time in complaining about Anonymous Agency’s new director. I have to say, as time goes on…I stand by those complaints. It’s unfortunate. She has a lot of good experience, and some really good ideas to bring to our work. But there are two problems.
One, she seems to think that all of our problems can be solved with more paperwork. Contacts were low this month? Everyone now fill out a form listing how many times you saw your families this week. Purpose of your sessions unclear? All workers will now write in a separate note, detailing the plan for your session. Lunch not as delicious as it could be? Let’s all write up our various snack options to maximize its potential
Two, she loves staff meetings. She whispers sweet nothings into staff meeting’s ear. Staff meeting days are circled in her calendar and decorated with gold stars, and she cries when they’re over. She would marry staff meeting and have half social worker/ half meeting babies if she could.
I can’t effing stand staff meetings. I can count on one frostbitten hand the amount of times I’ve actually gotten anything out of them. Now we’re having bimonthly all-staff meetings and weekly unit meetings, in addition to weekly supervision.
Good thing I don’t have to see clients or anything.
Staff meetings are especially difficult for me because I’m bored, have a captive audience, and people tend to say ridiculous things.
It’s a perfect storm for SocialJerk smartassery. I have a very hard time keeping my sarcastic comments to myself. If I didn’t have such an innocent, young looking face, and if my comic timing was less than flawless, I’m pretty sure I would have been history long ago. (Brilliant social working notwithstanding.)
Maybe if I can get it all out here, it won’t be such a problem.
First, everybody sign in. Write your full name and title. There are ten of us here now, it will be chaos without this step.
Now, let’s go over the agenda. We start with a welcome. Perhaps not strictly necessary, considering that with all the new workers and no new space, we’ve been sitting on each other’s laps, but it’s nice all the same. Also there are refreshments. That’s what were calling those seven dead grapes that the budget allowed.
Next we’ll take a moment to acknowledge what we’ve done well this month. We’re invited to share our little successes. How fun. Berating everyone, and telling us that no matter what you do, it isn’t quite enough, is erased by this action. Social work/parenting principal number one. I would like to share that my hoodie matches my Chucks today, and that one of my twelve year olds referred to me as “her girl.” That made me feel hip. Oh, that’s not what you meant. All right, I got all my notes in on time. Right answer?
OK, now on to progress notes. We’ve all been doing these for years, but apparently we’ve been doing them entirely wrong. So we’re going to look at this sample progress note, flawlessly executed by our new fearless leader. She’s talking.
“Everyone just follow along. We start with who was present. Always include yourself. So we’ve got social worker, biological mother, and the children: Darryl, Jenna, and Stacy.”
When we do these fake examples, why don’t they at least make us laugh with the names? I would go with DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle. Something like that.
“All right. The purpose of this meeting was to address Darryl’s truancy and to follow up on…”
Is she…is she reading this out loud to us? Word for word? What the fuck is going on here? This is evil. Ma’am, we all have Master’s degrees, we can read what is in front of us.
“The interventions utilized were brief solutions focused therapy and active listening. SW engaged the family in…”
Active listening. That’s a funny term. I always feel like I should be doing an 80s Jazzercise video when I say that. “Run in place for twenty! Notice how I’m listening, but also staying active! It’s the social work fitness plan! Toe touches–one and two and–you were saying about your mother’s boyfriend molesting you?”
“The family responded well to this intervention. SW was able to assess…”
Funny how we always share an intervention that went well. Next time I’m called upon to do something like this I’m going to talk about the time the two teenage sisters I was sitting between started punching each other, and I had to yell, “If I get hit right now I’m going to be pissed, and then no one will be happy!” Is “use of mom voice” considered a clinical intervention?
“In our upcoming session, SW will follow up with the family on the tasks that were left to them and…”
When the hell was this ceiling last painted? Either there’s a dead body rotting upstairs or we’ve got some plumbing issues. How am I the only one who notices these things? Ooh, reggaeton blasting outside! No one will notice if I dance subtly, to myself, right?
Why is everyone looking at me expectantly? Oh shit, I was asked a question, wasn’t I.
What do I think? I think that a majority of the shit you’re telling us could be sent out in an email. I think that breaking things down to such minute detail is incredibly patronizing, and makes your staff feel that you have very little trust in them. I think addressing every mistake that anyone has made in the past month in this meeting embarrasses people, makes them feel unappreciated, and makes people feel that there’s no room for error and that they aren’t allowed to be human. I think you should listen to your staff and give them the opportunity to tell you what works.
You were just asking me to pass the grapes, weren’t you?