Friday, July 29, 2011

Remembering the perks

Often I find myself getting an itch to move onwards and upwards. Or really, just onwards.

I WILL do this one day. Eventually my goal is to work in a hospital or someplace unionized once my son is in school primarily for the benefits and higher salary, but for now, my job is what it is, so when I find myself beginning to scratch, I remind myself of the major perks with my current employer:

First and foremost, I know my job, the population and the resources available very very well. This is important because we do not have a great deal of supervision within our agency.

I also know what to expect for the most part from those above me, which at times, is not much, but other times when it is truly needed, they will usually have my back.

I have a great deal of stability, and don't expect to get fired or laid off anytime soon.

While I have to pay out of pocket for my health insurance, I know that in most cases, if I went somewhere else that paid for this, I would probably make the same as I make now after I pay for my insurance, because it would probably come with a pay-cut. (I can't go to a hospital or someplace unionized yet that pays more with employer-paid benefits because I don't have my license).

Yeah. No LMSW yet. My social work license is not required to do what I do, though. Becoming a licensed social worker is something I have been putting off for a long time now and there's really no good excuse for it, outside of my sheer laziness around studying for the test, and getting all the crap together from various places you need to sit for the exam.

I also have a pretty decent team, and really like most of my co-workers. Many of them have also worked at my agency for years. We can rant to each other when needed too. This is a big one because environment is everything when working in human services. Our work is hard enough, if we don't get along with our colleagues and the team doesn't mesh, this is probably the best recipe for job misery.

I, for the most part, also know what I am walking into each day.

If anything unexpected comes up, I have many people I can turn to if needed to help me work through a problem if I don't know what to do, both inside and outside of my company. Another major one is I do not have to be on-call WOO HOO boundaries!!!!!!!!!

My supervisors trust me and respect me, and I am not micromanaged.

I could probably advance within the company if I wanted to. (Right now I don't want to.)

The office is a close drive to my home in a cute little town.

Most of the people I work with go above and beyond and really care about the clients we serve, even when the people we work with are being difficult or even impossible.

Overall, my agency is not perfect, there are some things I do not like, however, on a whole, they are a pretty decent place and are well-known and respected throughout the state.

I am sure there are a few more I could list if I thought about it more, but my little one just woke up.

Typing this stuff out has been really helpful............I've been feeling a little down that I go back to work on Monday, but at the same time, I am really looking forward to it. I am thankful that I am employed and I am also thankful that I can say that I really enjoy what I do and where I do it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I am

almost looking forward to going back to work.

Being home with a 2 year-old all day and night is extremely challenging.

I have a lot of respect for stay-at-home parents because I know there is no way I could ever do it.

I think I would go totally crazy and be in real need of social work services myself.

I consider myself very lucky that I have the best of both worlds.

I work a professional job during the week, that allows me to use my brain, be around other adults, yet also allows for flexibility to be home with my son if needed.

My child gets to spend time with his grandparents and his cousins while I am at work, which enables him to build special bonds with family.

I also have a husband that adores his boy, which is observed by his closely playing and interacting with him. They usually spend most early evenings together, allowing me to get some much needed yoga-time in.

My life is far from perfect though, and I really do struggle with the parenting stuff.

It honestly does take a village and having a supportive family is so valued and important when it comes to child-rearing.

It makes me strongly feel for the people too, who do not have this kind of network, yet, are able to raise their children well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

This social worker

is finally, officially on VACAY!!!!

And all of my big problems from earlier this week (i.e. wheelchair-accessible apartment guy) ended up working themselves out.

Because our job can be quite overwhelming and nuts and we do not have much supervision, a really cool service coordinator ended up quitting this week.

A new one started, and their eyes were like saucers taking this all in.

I will have mucho amounts of work to head back to on August 1st, but right now all I have to worry about is laundry and packing.

Hopefully I will be getting in another hot yoga class this afternoon and possibly early tomorrow.

Sunday we are heading Upstate for the day to hit my parents' pool.

Then we are meeting my sister and her boyfriend in the evening to drive down to his family's shore house in New Jersey for a few days.

When we are done with that, we will head back to home to just relax, with more local beach and yoga!!! (It doesn't take much to make me happy on my days off).

Happy happy everybody!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves. ~ Frank Herbert

Whether you are talking about yoga.

Your social work practice.

Or just life overall.

May the week ahead bring you a good sense of balance.

As well as any waves you face, simply let them roll in, then roll back out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beautifully Imperfect

More client housing drama

Just needed to vent because it's been a rough day.

So I've been trying to bring a guy who requires a wheelchair into the community for more than a year now. He's been in the nursing home even LONGER than that.

Anyways, back in May I met with their family member at a local apartment complex, and she put $$$ down to hold an apartment that we were promised was "totally wheelchair accessible" for 7/15.

The family member went to pick up the keys today and guess what?!

The apartment they had is NOT w/c accessible.

I am so furious. We are all going there on Monday with a nurse, to see if there is some "out of the box" kind of way we can make this work, but if not, my guy is pretty much going to be screwed until I can find him someplace new.

FWIW, we DID ask if we could look at the actual apartment he would have back in May, but were told we could not.

They showed us a "model" apartment instead, and were told that the apartment he would receive was exactly the same, except with widened doorways, accessible bathroom, and that it would be on the first floor so a ramp wouldn't be needed.

The actual apartment IS on the first floor, however, it has a large step and is positioned in such a way that a portable ramp most likely would not even work (at least not safely).

The manager seemed to feel really awful about the situation, and wants to try to rectify things, but he's also not the person we originally met with, and he does not know if he is going to be able to come up with a new apartment in the close future that would meet the client's needs.

Dealing with Emods is also a nightmare and a half and can take months.

I am just so freakin' angry I can spit nails right about now.

Exercising a right to make a bad decision

Going through this with a client right now.

I need to keep reminding myself that I have done everything I could do to help her at this point.

The rest is up to her.

She does have the right in the end (well, at all times honestly) to exercise her right to make a bad decision, and then (hopefully) learn from the consequences.

It's tough.

As social workers, we can't baby our clients or force them to do what we would like them to do (although in reality I know some helping professionals get tied up in this cycle, self-included at times).

We also have to put up with a lot of comments from the peanut gallery (AKA their natural supports and/or other helping providers) that we aren't doing our job, by doing enough to help the client.

It is what it is though.

All I can do now is wait for the other shoe to drop, and then be there to (again, hopefully!) pick up the pieces.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Importance of Networking

You always hear about the importance of networking, and I know to many, it gets annoying to hear this after awhile. Especially if you feel like you do not have a lot of business or personal contacts to approach about potential career opportunities.

I do have a positive networking story though that I would like to share. Take it or leave it :)

I posted a few weeks ago on a sorority email list that we are hiring at my agency.

I rarely keep in touch with any of these women anymore. Having graduated with my BA in 1998, I also do not actually know any of the younger alumnae.

Anyways, I had someone from there who I do not know personally, respond to my listing, that her friend who it appears lost her job due to a layoff this winter, was looking, and would I be willing to hand in her resume?

After reviewing the woman's resume and seeing she had the experience for the position, I did, and my boss ended up LOVING this person and basically hired her on the spot.

As a social worker, I feel like networking is one of the best ways to find new employment in our field.

I also think that if we have the opportunity to help someone out that would like a new job, we should.

I made sure to tell my supervisor in advance that I didn't know this woman at all, in case things do not work out down the road, but I am hoping that will not be the case.

I have gotten some of my best job opportunities, (including current employment!) through networking.

What about you?

Do you have any positive stories to share?

Where are some places or people you have networked with?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


when things are not going well, we really do need to speak up.

I got my supervisor's attention this week by just sending a quick email to say

"I'm feeling very overwhelmed".

Things that we have to deal with as social workers (or just employees in general) often suck and cannot be changed.

Sometimes, there is room for change though.

Is saying how you feel a risk?

Yes, absolutely.

However, saying what is on our mind, I feel is a risk well worth taking.

What do you think?

Is there something you were able to speak up about at work, and in turn, you were heard?

Did you see positive changes come from saying what was weighing on your mind or causing you stress?

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's that time again......

time for filling in the blanks.

So come play!

1. The best news I ever received was learning that my son was born. All of it happened so fast, but after having an epi and not really knowing what exactly was going on down was so nice to hear the words "He's here!".

2. Something I'm looking forward to is taking the last week of July off from work! Even if we go nowhere or do nothing, at least I will get a bit of room to breathe. (Although taking a vacation from social work always means you come back to twice as much work, but I digress). BTW we are considering going to the Jersey Shore for a few days.

3. Something I would never do is
act shady and unethical at work. There's already enough of that in the world.

4. If I could choose someone to be my life coach (famous or not, living or dead), I'd choose a bunch of my followers on Twitter. This has turned into such an amazing, supportive little community for me.

5. If I had to put a label on my style it would be simple and basic. I don't tend to go for trends or labels and I always go for comfort. A basic tank, flowy cotton pants, rolled up skinny jeans, flip flops, sometimes a colorful fabric headband and a unique pair earrings as a finishing touch.

6. One should always do the right thing.

7. I want to
head to the Friday farmer's market in a little bit, grab some grub and then sit outside in the sun. Later I also want to walk down to our local beachfront park to listen to a Beatles cover band.

Happy weekend all and namaste!