Happy Thanksblogging

It’s been a little over six months since I started this blog and although I haven’t posted every single week, it’s been a decent run. I think.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to thank everyone who has been reading since the beginning, all of my new followers, everyone who has commented or given me feedback and especially those of you who originally encouraged me to start writing about work.

If you’re thinking that there’s no way I’m going to get any more cheesey in this post, you’re wrong.

There are so many reasons I am grateful for all of you and for this blog. I’ve been having a hard time blogging consistently since I moved, mostly because I am still not settled into a routine. But I also think continuing to write has been essential.

It’s easy for me to feel isolated here. I am not surrounded by a city I know well, friends who are a short subway ride away or anything else remotely comfortable.

Writing this blog and reading others’ blogs is one of the few ways I still feel connected. It reminds me that the challenges I face at work are not my challenges alone, but rather challenges for the entire field.

So thanks to all of you for helping me stay sane. And by sane, I mean sane.

Now go eat some turkey! Or tofurkey! Or just side dishes. Those are awesome.

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Even though I tried to look on the bright side, work hasn’t gotten any better. If things continue as they are now, this program feels like a fast-track to burnout for the teachers and social workers. I still have hope that things could improve, but not everyone I work with does. Continue reading

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Risky social work business

Sometimes I wish I could direct people to my blog when they ask how things are going at my new job. I become exhausted at times while trying to explain why it’s great, why it’s stressful, why it’s hard, why it’s fun… It’s helpful talking it out with some people, but sometimes I don’t even know how to start. How can I summarize all I’ve shared on here? And honestly I feel like there is so much about the new job that I haven’t even addressed in this blog yet.

One thing that has been a huge adjustment in my new position is how much is at stake each day. Or at least how much it feels like there is at stake.

For one thing, I have never done so many suicide assessments in such a short period of time. And it’s terrifying.

Each time I leave work after speaking with a child who is expressing that they want to die or want to hurt themselves, I feel empty and sad. It stays with me all night and often for days after. When one of my current clients was absent from school a full week after he shared his suicidal thoughts, my initial reaction was fear that something terrible had happened. Continue reading

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The honeymoon is over

A few months ago I mentioned how the period of unknown between a job offer and the start of a job is sort of like dating someone new. Although it can be nerve-wracking, the anticipation is predominantly positive and full of excitement (for most people I talk to anyway).

When I was waiting to start my new job, my thoughts focused on What will things be like? Who will my clients be? and I can’t wait to leave this job. I am so excited to do something I care about!  Will I really have my own office? I also had lofty, idealistic fantasies that seem ludicrous in retrospect (in case you’re curious: I accidentally spelled ludicrous like the rapper’s name at first. I’m a genius).

Not only is this period of giddy uncertainty a thing of the past, but even the starting-a-new-job excitement seems like it has faded quickly. As the title says, the honeymoon is over. Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that the job is terrible. It’s just that, in my right mind, I can see that a lot of its flaws shouldn’t be so surprising. My first day on the job was basically the first day of this program. What did I expect? Continue reading

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Missing: social work on/off switch

I assume that on/off switches were issued upon graduation from social work school and somehow I missed out on receiving mine. Perhaps I walked past that station while trying to find the cap and gown drop-off area. It’s possible. It was a hectic day.

To my credit, I paid a lot of attention in social work school when they talked about “self-care” and I have worked really hard to improve my ability to leave my social work self at work as much as possible. Easier said than done. If I were a Barbie, this would be a matter of changing outfits (well, except if I were a Barbie from a McDonald’s happy meal). UnFortunately, I am not a Barbie. Continue reading

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