Objective: to get the hell out of here.

24 09 2012

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, and aren’t sexy spambots (which sound much more interesting than they actually are) will know that I haven’t been thrilled to pieces at work lately.

I was supposed to get my first intern this month, and simultaneously start the class that teaches and qualifies one to supervise. (In social work, we learn as we go, and not a minute before!) This was supposed to happen in September. As you might have noticed, September is drawing to a close, and I’m not freaking out about a grad student being smarter than me or complaining about this class being useless. Something must have gone wrong.

My director, the boss of my fabulous supervisor and underling of my fabulous regional director, came to me to say, “You’re not getting an intern. I sent the paperwork in late. We can try again next year.” That is a direct quote. She then shrugged and walked away.

Here’s a tip: if you’re telling someone that you couldn’t be bothered, for no apparent reason aside from laziness, to do a very simple thing that would be very important for their career, do not end with a shrug.

Let’s just say she’s lucky there were no leftover water balloons from the agency picnic.

It was only one thing. A big thing, granted, as it pushes me back a year in something that’s important and necessary for my future in this field. It also delays my coworker, who was supposed to be the one getting an intern next year. (We only have room for one at a time. I have to respect Anonymous Agency for not pulling the old “we’ll figure it out when they get here, no one mention that this was a broom closet!” trick.)

But it’s kind of pushed me over the edge. Not in the sense of spinning in my chair making barnyard animal sounds on the job, but in feeling pushed out the door, and getting my resume together. Seriously, this time.

What makes our jobs bearable?

For the most part, Anonymous Agency is a good place to work. Benefits and vacation time are good, the place is well regarded, I’m comfortable there, and I have a lot of respect for most people who work above me.

The fact that one person can counteract all that kind of drives me crazy. But feeling like someone doesn’t give you a second thought, and has no respect for your ideas, goals, and schedule, goes a long way.

Now, what does this remind me of?

I’m always telling myself that I have to bear in mind that I’m up against every negative experience a client has ever had with a social worker. Or case worker. Or psychiatrist. Or anyone else who was supposed to help.

We’re different. We’re not like those workers. We care about our clients, and treat them with respect. We know it, and we’ll show it.

Sometimes things come up. Sometimes the bus makes us late, we have to call in sick, a school visit goes way too long and it takes us a while to return a call. Sometimes, for all our efforts, we can’t get a kid a mental health appointment for months. Even worse, sometimes we make mistakes, or forget things.

It seems unfair that this makes all the good fly out the window. Why can no one focus on the positive?!

Especially when someone is coming off of a string of bad experiences, the negative just weighs more. We have to remember that, even when it’s not fair. It takes a lot of good to make up for mistakes.

As my dear director taught me, owning and apologizing goes a long way. If she had said, “I dropped the ball, I’m really sorry,” I still would have been upset. Objectively, some damage had been done. But I wouldn’t have felt the betrayal and disregard for me as a person. If this had been an anomaly in her behavior, I would be able to move on. It wasn’t, so she needs to be ready to lose her most dedicated blogger worker.

We’re going to make mistakes in our work, as social workers and as supervisors. We can get over them if we recognize what’s going on. If we’re too busy being defensive and thinking about ourselves, we won’t.

More importantly, is anyone hiring?

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9 responses

27 09 2012
Going to Klown Kollege

So sorry to hear about the intern. Hope you can find a new gig quickly.

27 09 2012
Meg

wow the same thing just happened to me at my agency. I know how you feel….

27 09 2012
Katie

I love your honesty and candor. I will have my BA in Human Services in December and work for an agency in PoDunk, IA. We have openings by the way! However, my executive director is Cruella DeVille’s evil twin so don’t pack your bags and head my way. You keep it real and are inspiring. Good luck in your job hunt.

27 09 2012
carolynsocialworker

I had that manager! Because my job title was not Social Worker I was not to consider myself a social worker. Ripped down a social week poster I had put up. Finally she retired! Lots of happy dances going on then. Good luck in your search. Look at it as an opportunity to move up the ladder, whatever the next rung might look like for you. And take care of yourself!

27 09 2012
AlannahRoseah

I absolutely agree with everything you said and since I am full of ragey-anger for you, I can only imagine how you feel. To say the least, you deserve way better. I’m anxious for you to move on & excited to see where you end up!

Katie (above) is right… you’re inspiring and I always love your honesty. I hope something fantastic presents itself soon!

27 09 2012
emaufmuth

someone needs a mega-blow-out-lose-your-mind-wake-up-wearing-someone-else’s-clothes-kiki

29 09 2012
tokenswkguy

I’m finishing my BSW this year and I had a wicked difficult time finding a placement. As did most of my classmates. Any aspiring social worker would be lucky to have you as a supervisor; you’re super talented, passionate about your work, and you challenge people to think critically about their role in the world. Your director not only deprived you of an intern, but she deprived some social work student the opportunity for an outstanding instructor.

Best of luck finding a different and hopefully better job. You’re awesome!

30 09 2012
Naomi

I don’t know which agency you work for, so I hope it’s not the one I’m about to mention. I was a SW intern with children’s village last year in their adoption & foster care dept in their Bronx office. I really liked it there. they’re They’re in more than 1 location and regularly post jobs online at http://www.childrensvillage.org.

28 01 2013
Whitney DiMaio

“Social worker learn as we go–and never a minute before.”

Never have I ever heard truer words (written)…

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I love this blog.

Sincerely,

A fellow LSW

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