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.
Coming from a position and an organization that I found very disappointing, I really want(ed) this to be different. I think my hope is fueled now by three things: 1. the kids (obviously). 2. the fact that this position is in-line with my career goals. 3. as stubborn desire to make it work. I really love working with these kids, but I don’t think the program has the necessary facility or support staff in place to meet their needs in the best possible way. The staff currently in place are great, but they don’t have enough support in crises to do their jobs the way they want to. Still, this job allows me to earn clinical hours and get the experience I want/need to get my LCSW and move forward in my career. My last job didn’t even come close.
And that stubbornness… well, optimism isn’t always the right choice. Recently someone suggested to our team that we reframe and approach this new program as pioneers. The idea is that we are in uncharted territory and each obstacle we face is a new problem to solve. At first, I only saw the awesomeness of the idea. I still do, sometimes. But I also think it’s flawed in one pretty obvious way: we aren’t the first program of this kind.
While I understand that our program is the first like it in this particular area, there is no reason we should have started this program without a foundation based in something that has worked for other similar programs. Instead, we started with a foundation based on a completely different program with a vaguely similar client population that happened to be run out of the same facility the year before. Because that makes more sense…
I’m not giving up on this job yet because I really believe these high levels of stress do not need to mean high levels of misery. But the staff of this program need a morale boost. Stat. And I’ve told my supervisor as much. Right now any positive words are met with words of hopelessness and disappointment. I want to be a pioneer, but I don’t know how much longer I can shout We’re on an adventure! if everyone else is shouting Turn back! There’s quicksand ahead!
Or something. I am going to leave this post short because I feel like all I talk about is how overwhelming this new program is. I still feel grateful for this opportunity. I’m just frustrated.