Category Archives: termination

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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Process Recorded Episode IV: A New Hope

A little while ago in a city sort of far away.…

It is a period of transition. Process Recorded, though a little frazzled, has arrived in her new city, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Pursued by concerns of what was left behind, Process Recorded races to gather information and prepare for meeting new clients, hoping to restore passion where soul-sucking aspects of her previous organization had caused it to fade…. Continue reading

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Not Another Transition/Termination Post

When you’re in transition, it seems like that’s all there is to talk about. Or maybe that’s just how it works for me. But I do think that people often define themselves by the big transitions and changes in their lives, whether only at the time or for a lifetime afterwards.

Most of my clients experience common childhood transitions as they move from elementary school to middle school to high school. But for a lot of them these milestones serve mainly as markers for greater sources of change. And although they can’t always remember what happened last summer, they remember the grade they were in when their parent left home and didn’t come back. And what school they went to when they first experienced the staying power of abuse, racism, or other injustice. They can pinpoint what they were doing when they found out a family member died. Or went to jail. And so on.

Sometimes transition is the baseline for the youth I meet. Foster care, immigration, or just frequent moves between states, countries or family members’ homes have contributed to constant change in the scenery around them. For some of these clients, routine feels more disruptive and unusual than the upheaval they anticipate daily. Temporary is understandable. Permanent is strange and unknown. Continue reading

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Happy Independence Segue!

While the rest of the country is celebrating declaring their independence from Great Britain, I am celebrating declaring my independence from a mediocre job.

If my life were a movie, this part would have a nice little segue, possibly with a montage. There would probably be some really awesome music. Possibly “Higher and Higher” like in Wet Hot American Summer. In which case Gene would definitely be with me the entire time.

Montage scene 1: I’m on the phone getting the job offer. This definitely includes slow-motion fist-pumping and quite possibly the hugging of a stranger (or two).
Reality scene 1: An unofficial offer hovers and finally leads to an official offer weeks later, which leads to many hoops and barriers to jump through/over to hopefully get to The Contract. Must have the precious… Continue reading

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A message from the social work Terminator: I won’t be back.

Termination is not the most agreeable topic among social workers, to say the least.

There are people who despise the term with a passion, people who spend their careers researching and writing about it, therapists and clients who own/embrace it, and social work students who discuss it like it’s an overrated Hollywood Blockbuster.

If my memory serves me correctly, social work students at my particular School of Social Work spent many a break between classes distraught over the unfairness of termination in social work field placements. I think it went something like: What a disservice it is to our clients! How terrible that we should float in and out of their lives with no thought to their well-being! What awful, terrible people must have decided this was an ethical thing to do!

I exaggerate, of course, and I do want to disclose that there were times where I joined my peers in their concerns. Perhaps in some instances it was a disservice, especially to the most vulnerable of our clients (or especially with those social work students who were not as dedicated… or studious… or passionate as others?). I still don’t know.

What I do know is that with hindsight, my perspective on termination at the end of a social work field placement has changed greatly. Although I have not written much about my current social work position (yet?), those of you who follow me on twitter know that it has been a fine but not great experience and that I hope to move on to another position soon. Given that I plan to leave, I have been thinking a lot about termination with my clients and more specifically, the absence of any termination process. Continue reading

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