Category Archives: social work

Trailblazing?

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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Joking about social work

Remember July’s controversy over an audience member’s report of Daniel Tosh “joking” that she should be gang-raped during his Laugh Factory comedy show? After reading way too much about it, Jessica Valenti’s response article “The Anatomy of a Successful Rape Joke” stuck out in my mind and made me think about humor in and about social work.

I hope we can all agree that rape itself is not funny. No one (as far as I’ve read) responded to the Tosh situation by flat-out saying: Rape is funny. Period. In the same way, I don’t go around saying: Social work is funny. Period. Nor would I say I joined the field for the laughs. But I do think that making jokes and seeing/finding the humor in social work is useful and at times somewhat necessary for both my clients and for me. Continue reading

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