Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Would anyone be interested?

My SIFI class wrapped up yesterday and what I've been carrying through this whole thing is that it can be very isolating being a field instructor. Even though I have my classmates and professor's contact info, I will miss that weekly venting and sense of unity.


I was wondering if anyone has thoughts about, or would even be interested in having an online community of sorts to chat about issues that occur in the field?


Students would also be a welcome part of the group, because I know issues in field go both ways.


I am struggling with the fact that like dealing with regular clients, it would still have to be somewhat anonymous though.


Especially when it comes to the very real concern of having "difficult" students (and to be fair, challenging field instructors, ha).


It would probably need to be a private group, but overall I think it could be a positive thing. Also looking at it as a resource to share learning ideas and regular "case" presentations.


Go!!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Losing steam

It's been a rough holiday season so far around here.


There are many things I am thankful for, but life has still been tough lately.


Been going through a lot with DS. Playing the waiting game to get him to see someone.


And it also feels like every bill/event is coming due this month on top of Christmas gifts. Even without spending a ton, it ALL adds up. Again, I feel fortunate to have it, however, my little savings account is already pretty much gone so that will be a goal to get back on track with in the new year.


Working out/yoga also has not been in my life because of excuses but more related to the need to be around my son right now.


My job continues to be great but my student is driving me crazy. I am not really confrontational so I am trying to focus on their positives in the meantime.



I don't know about any of you, but I am just eager for this month to be over.




Saturday, November 30, 2013

In case you haven't heard



I passed my LMSW exam earlier today! And it was NO JOKE!!!!

I thought it was super hard and at MANY points, found myself just guessing on answers.

I think this was probably a combination of not focusing on some (or really what felt like A LOT) of the material in my studying, to how the questions themselves were worded.

I must've guessed correctly frequently enough because I surpassed the score required to not fail the exam!

I saw some other people on their way out who weren't so lucky :(.

There were a variety of exams going on in my center though. Before the test started, I was chatting with a nurse who was there for her second time hoping to pass.

Feelings-wise, I was super anxious and didn't sleep barely a wink last night and my stomach too was a mess. It was hard to even focus at times on the 170 questions that kept coming at me. I was so restless in my seat and just wanted to stretch and walk around.......

At one point, I even needed to get up to take a break because I've been struggling with a cold, which probably along with my nerves, lead to a massive coughing fit that I'm sure was disrupting some of the people around me.

It was probably a good thing in retrospect, but my timer also did not appear to be working either at my computer station, so I kept plugging along and ended up finishing in a little over 2 hours (you have 4 hours to take the exam).

If you are considering taking the exam in the near future, my advice would be to study your ass off for it. And then study some more. And then keep studying............do not let ANYONE make you think it's just some cake thing you need to do to be able to call yourself a social worker. It has now officially been my experience that you cannot go in blind (or just focus on your work knowledge) and think you will pass. Please believe this when people tell you. I'm not telling you this to scare you. If anything, I am telling you so that you can be prepared. And it also IS overall a scary exam that you SHOULD take seriously.

You really must have a great foundation of everything to pass this test. I also learned that in addition to having a strong knowledge base of all things social work (and somewhat beyond), you need to know the nonsense.

ESPECIALLY all of that boring stuff that we probably rarely, if ever, use in real life practice. Or if we do, we aren't thinking about what it's actually called ;).

Have you recently taken your licensing exam and passed? What did you think of it?

P.S. To the first person who is thinking of asking about it, I have NO plans to take the LCSW anytime soon. IF EVER. 10 years post-Master's was a huge accomplishment in itself for me LOL.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Student back on?

I got an email from the newer student yesterday and it looks like they are standing firm with the school and want to come onboard with me.

I sent them a bunch of readings and hopefully they will sit through orientation this week.

We shall see.

Whatever will be, will be.

I'm going to talk about the situation today in my SIFI class.


Then it's back to studying studying studying.

My friend LMSW is right around the corner..........yikes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Up early today

The automatic alarm in my head went off a little before 5 this morning (the regular time I get up during the week). I decided to go with it. Today, I am headed into my part-time office to write a service plan. It can be a real pain in the ass doing this kind of work on my "day off", however, right now, the money is too good to give up for what really amounts to just a few hours of work. If I'm really focused, I can write a full plan in about 5 hours.
Plus, it's usually for a good cause. This person I am writing to obtain services for, is on the verge of homelessness AND she has a child to help support.

I don't know how long I will continue to do this P/T work, but for now, it's a decent gig.

Fortunately, I don't "need" the money at the moment, but I am stashing it away in savings, because I know with DH's business, this is not always the case. And as we all know, it's frequently hard to live in most places on just a social work salary alone ;).

Do you do anything part-time in addition to your normal F/T position?

What kind of work is it?

I feel like for most social workers, it's become normal to work multiple places.






Saturday, November 16, 2013

2nd student update?

So I don't think I will be getting the 2nd student.

The school gave us both a very hard time because I could not wave my magic social work wand and have them start immediately.

I work for a large healthcare system and the onboarding process on average takes 3 weeks to 1 month.

From what I was told, they are now being forced to go to another placement that will take them sight unseen.

I feel bad, but there's also A LOT going on at work right now for me, new clients starting, my LMSW test is coming up and the program will be getting some other students from different (non-social work) disciplines so it's not all that terrible.

If I were in this student's shoes, I would be super pissed off with the school and look into trying to get some or all of my money back.

The thing that sucks though, is that even if the student decided to drop out and go elsewhere, they may need to take their first semester courses over since from what I have seen, a lot of schools don't credit you for them.

Obviously it's a money thang ;).

This has definitely been a learning experience though.

For those of you who field instruct, have you seen similar problems?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another one?

My school reached out to me yesterday that they are desperately trying to find a placement for another student. This person has been waiting all semester to start at a certain place and it's been one roadblock after another with that agency's particular "system". I don't understand how it takes so long, but have heard stories from fellow SIFI classmates of the same thing......several of them are only now having their interns start.

The Director of Field Placement told me that my current student actually recommended me and my agency (happy dance!!!), and that when my student talks about us, a lot of the other people in the class feel like it sounds like a really cool place (it is!!!). This new person heard about us this way and advocated coming on board.

In any event, I told the school I needed to speak with my supervisor first, and of course interview the student to ensure it would be a good fit. I also explained that it could be a month at best for the potential student to actually start so they will have A LOT of hours to make up.

In addition, I decided to meet with my current student as well to hear their thoughts again about how they feel things are going and if they would be open to having another student come in. They actually know this person obviously and stated they feel it would be a good match.

My concerns I guess are of course, more work for me and I also want to ensure that there is going to be enough for them to do. We are a very small program and primarily do group work all day long.

I was given some background info already about the potential student and they do sound very different from my current one, so it could also be quite positive on that note (again, sorry for the vagueness). There are still several issues I am having with my current student so having another person in their shoes there, I am hoping could help with these concerns.

What are your thoughts of taking another student on, those of you who have experience with field instruction?

Or even those of you who are students? I welcome your feedback too :).

My first placement I was with 3 other interns and just having their support/presence made a huge difference for me. I could see it being very isolating otherwise............

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

LMSW test prep

What part of the test prep did you dread studying? For me, it's all the different theories. I'm thinking it's probably because I don't do straight clinical/therapy work. I also honestly don't have a lot of interest in social work theory and therefore, they do not stick in my brain for very long. (And let's face it.........how often do we really hear people, professional or otherwise talking about this subject?!).

It is what it is though and it's still an important part of the exam. Any tips and tricks you social workers have taken to remember them all? The different stages and terminology especially seems so boring and becomes easily lost to me............

I should have some free time when I get to work this morning, I think I'm going to just suck it up and read through that material again..........maybe write them out old school style..........Ugh, I just want this test to be over with a passing grade not held back by these theories.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

P.S.

My friend I wrote about earlier on my blog decided to take the job.

Now I need to write them a letter of recommendation.

Anyone have some good formats for that?

I'm very excited for them. They actually got in touch with someone who works(ed) for the agency who confirmed it's not as bad as they were making it in their head :).

Dealing with difficult providers

I'm sure I've written about this topic before, but it's 5:30 in the morning and I've barely finished my first cup of coffee so I'm too tired & lazy to go back and look. Plus, this is a recurrent frustration I believe for most of us who are around the social work field long-term.

So yeah...........about them difficult providers.

I have a long history of similar exchanges with a certain agency who has been challenging at best to work with. I tend to think all things common sense go out the window with them and many of their staff.

In any event, I've been requesting paperwork for one of our shared clients for awhile from them to no avail and pretty much hit the roof yesterday when I got the finalized version back totally mincing my words about a client and downplaying major health and safety concerns that put them at risk under my watch.

After another participant recently had a serious incident for the same exact thing I've been requesting of them, I continued to see red.

I admit I did send them an email that was a tad bit snarky about their lack of follow up.

Which probably is not super professional.

And lead to the supervisor immediately being snarky right back, and especially defensive about their employee.

I did feel a little bad afterwards and responded as such.

At the same time though, I am thinking I shouldn't feel bad, especially if they are not documenting appropriately for the needs of the client.

I AM going to try calling them today with hopes of clearing the air (if they will pick up my calls).

How do/did you deal with similar? How do you keep it together when people you have to work with are in a much different place than you?

I do keep a paper trail, but I also want to keep my professionalism in check as well.

On my ride home from work last night, one of my ideas was to give it a day before I respond to something that immediately pisses me off like that......

Again, sorry for being so vague about the issue but I do try to keep things somewhat anonymous on here for obvious reasons.

Hope all things social work are going well for you guys this week.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's Halloween

It's Halloween. A lot of creatures will visit your door. Be open minded. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills.

The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues.

The child who does not say "trick or treat" or "thank you" might be shy or non-verbal.

The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have an allergy.

The child who isn't wearing a costume at all might have a sensory processing disorder or autism.

Be nice. Be patient. It's everyone's Halloween.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Asking for a friend...........

Would you take a job your gut is saying will be awful, so you can gain experience and make connections?

I know someone who has NO professional work experience and was finally offered a job. Their job search has been LONG and they have not received any significant interviews/offers until this one.

For them, it's with a very scary population and also the work environment does not seem great from what they described, for a whole variety of reasons (between the way the place looks when you first walk in to very unrealistic program expectations). The agency has also gotten some bad reviews from people who know them who work in our field.

Personally, I can definitely see the pros and cons of doing both, and advised them of such.


I also told them since they have no other offers on the line, they have the leisure to at least try the job out-----they could always quit and NOT list them on their resume if things are really THAT bad.

However, this person is VERY concerned about their physical safety (which may or may not be a real issue) and I advised them to have a meeting with their potential employer first and ask a lot of questions about this subject before accepting (or NOT accepting). The safety reason is probably THE biggest factor in their decision making.

Have you ever been faced with a similar problem? What did you end up doing? What would you advise my friend to do?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Have my test date

Not going to say when, but I just wanted to quickly share that it's official---I signed up yesterday for my LMSW exam.

I got a bit overwhelmed at yoga last night when I was supposed to be keeping my mind open and clear from thoughts, thinking about all the studying time I have ahead of me. And of course it doesn't feel like it will be enough.

I plan to sit down today and write out my schedule for study time (recommended is 100 hours/2 hours daily).

Any other tips? I am primarily sticking to the LMSW Boot camp strategy for studying, but could still use all the support and advice out there from those of you who have been there.


Yikes!!!!!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

LMSW Bootcamp class was fabulous

I am so happy I went to this class.


I had purchased the book in advance, however, going to the class and actually learning out loud the material that is in the book really put my mind 100% more at ease to sit for the exam.


There were actually several people who flew in from out of state to attend.


The class also teaches the same material that is on the LCSW exam.


If you are a social worker in need of taking your license exam, I cannot recommend this class enough.

Check them out here.


P.S. When I arrived home last night from class, my letter from the state was in the mailbox, approving me to move forward with registering for the exam. Things are getting real around here!!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Quick update

Just wanted to jump on real quick since I'm about to head off to my LMSW Boot Camp class, to update that things are significantly better with my student. Our meeting went very well. They have become a great deal more at ease and engaged with the clients. Even one of my difficult peeps took an immediate liking to the student and they spent most of yesterday chatting it up like old friends (for lack of a better term).

I know it's still only the beginning, but I have a lot more hope now that it's going to work out.

Most of the projects I have been giving them are to help open their eyes to how what we do is in fact "social work" and that so much of what we do is NOT 1:1 sit down on my couch psychotherapy-----although the skills we use are very, very close.

Have you run into similar issues with students thinking social work was just "therapy"?

What are some assignments that you've given them to broaden their lines of thinking?

Have you found they learned to love the work?

Happy Saturday all and send me good vibes that this class this morning is interesting and goes by quick!!

P.S. It was suggested in my SIFI class that we keep a journal of sorts outlining our experiences with the student so I thought this would be a great way to share with all of you what it's like. Obviously I am going to have to leave out a lot of details for confidentiality purposes.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Student

So I got a phone call yesterday from my student's practice teacher that they are not comfortable in their placement.

We are going to have a face to face meeting with the student to discuss.

I had a feeling. They've only been in one handful of days so far and it has been difficult to engage with them, and I haven't been sure how to even read them. They are a very quiet person but I have also been chalking that up to their being nervous, unsure of their role and just a little overwhelmed with what may (or may not!) be going on around them. In my program, tasks are not easily laid out. A lot of it is what you make of it---cultural stuff may be at play too.

Since I run several groups a day, I know how overwhelming that can be to someone who has never run them, let alone someone young and brand new to the field entirely. Because of that, I have been letting the student just observe a lot and a couple times they actually said "And this is social work related how.........."

I also told the professor that I suspect the issue may be that the student is a completely different cultural background from everyone else in the program, including me, an older female superior, which may be a huge part of the reason for their lack of comfort.

She was feeling the exact same thing.

The school DOES want to try to make it work because there really are so many learning opportunities where I am, and in the "real world" it's rare we can pick and choose who our co-workers and clients are going to be. Not only that but I work at a VERY desirable agency, so professionally, we could end up being the link to eventual employment.

So we shall see what will come of this. It's hoped that the student will be open-minded enough to see the bigger picture. And it is still SO SOON. Don't they say at a new job, on average it takes 3-6 months to start to feel at ease?

I have already decided however that if they don't want to stay, I'm going to drop the SIFI class for now and not request another student, until MAYBE spring semester, if not next year entirely.

And then I think I can see the benefits of having someone who is a second year student so will throw that idea out there too.

If you are a field instructor have you run into similar issues with new students?

Any advice?

So far I've given them a couple of tasks and assignment that I hope will help them to see how important my program is for clients and their families. I also hope that the assignments will open their eyes up a little more to the elements of social work that are VERY apparent.

I still haven't received back their first assignment however (one page summary of what they are hoping to get out of placement this year) so that too is concerning for me.

Perhaps they aren't the right fit if they are already this "difficult" (and I HATE to even use that term).....as we say as social workers....if we are doing more work than our clients.........

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hello again friends

Well my student started. They were only in one day because the school was closed the rest of the week for the Jewish holidays.

While they appeared to like it, I feel this week will be the true test since they will be there for the full three days.

I asked them if they see themselves returning and they said "they think so but will need to see". (Don't know how to interpret THAT).

I know with first year students, things can be pretty shaky in the beginning.

Just remembering back to my first placement, we had some people drop out the first couple of weeks, stating social work was NOT for them.

I also got to speak with my SIFI professor who was very understanding about my need to miss the first day of class. At first, she said "just leave your student some articles to read". I was like "I can't. I would need to leave them alone with the group for an hour. On their FIRST day. I don't think that is okay". She chuckled then and said I made a great call and should absolutely not come to class.

She emailed me the syllabus and I ordered and already received the book and have begun looking over my assignments.

It all seems pretty straightforward, and I am hoping I can stay on top of everything, because I feel like all things social work in my life are beginning to pile up.

I have quite a few service plans due for my contract job and need to find some time this weekend to just suck it up and get them done, because it's nice to be able to sock that extra money away for if we need it.

Speaking of money, my supervisor also told us we are getting a 2.something percent cost of living raise in October. It probably will only average out to be a few extra $$$ per paycheck, but it still made me smile from ear to ear.

It's SO nice to finally be working in a place where I feel appreciated.

And a place where I also have real supervision.

Every week we meet and she always asks me if I'm happy with my choice, because she's happy with my choice :)

It's like night and day people. Night and day.




Saturday, September 14, 2013

It's in the mail!

Mailed out my LMSW application this morning to the NYS Department of Education Office of the Professions.

Now I can sit back and wait for the go ahead to take the test.

And continue studying, of course.

My MSW student is supposed to start on Monday and I attended day 1 of the SIFI orientation earlier this week.

I am hoping they aren't going to be pissed with me. I am going to already have to miss the first official day of class. It will only be the intern's second day on the job, and as a program, we are not comfortable leaving him alone for even just the hour he would be alone for, with up to 15 clients, some who can be a handful.

I emailed the school yesterday and asked for them to put me in contact with the professor so I can get a copy of the syllabus and pick up the book to begin my assignments. Since I have to go through the secretary I am sure this is going to be an interesting response.........she's already been somewhat difficult to deal with. This is the same lady who told me I would be "breaking the law" if I took the SIFI class, since I do not yet have my license.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am convinced that most secretaries who work in college settings do not know what they are talking about half the time, and the other half, they purposely try to mess with students to stress them out even more. I remember those days fondly from undergrad and grad. Financial aide departments especially come to mind.....

Anyway, one of the other social workers attending though has told me we are allowed up to 3 absences. She has completed the 1st day already and this is what she was told by the professor.

Anyone else experience this before during your SIFI training?



Monday, September 2, 2013

Haven't disappeared

I just haven't had too many exciting things to share.

I'm moving forward with getting the MSW student in a couple of weeks. With that responsibility, also involves me stepping up my LMSW game. I've been studying like crazy lately for that. I also signed up to take a one day "boot camp" class in the beginning of October, and also purchased the study guide which seems pretty helpful so far (Now just need to make the time to sit down and read it!).

I feel fortunate that I do have a lot of down time at work which will allow me to study a bit for my exam.

The practice tests I've taken so far, have showed I need to focus on all that theory and psychology basics stuff, since those are a lot of the answers I either do not remember, or end up getting wrong.

I also have to learn what exactly the question is asking, and remember the role of the social worker, too. (i.e. first meeting with client, the social worker should do this......).


I have been eh-ish with keeping up with the gym lately, but I did manage to go the other night late (who wants to get up super early anyways?) and I also did finally return back to my yoga mat yesterday morning after taking the whole summer off.

It really made me miss being away for so long and I realized I NEED to make more of an effort to get back to my happy yoga place.

I can't believe the summer is winding down already.

What have you been up to lately?

Any exciting plans coming up this fall?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Look, another social workish post......

The convo was opened yesterday with the Director of Field Placement from my graduate institution and believe it or not, if things go as planned, I could have my first student as early as September!

I'm super nervous yet excited!!!


I was also told that I MUST stop putting off sitting for my LMSW exam, and get the ball rolling now, if we make the commitment to each other for me to become a field instructor.

Yikes! Things are getting serious around here y'all.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Work stuff

So if you follow me on Twitter these days, you've probably heard about my latest work debacle. (Otherwise, everything continues to be super-great, no complaints :).

Recently, I was offered a volunteer who is now with me for the majority of the week.

It's been an interesting transition, because I've never actually worked much with volunteers before.

This one also is with me so much, it's basically their job minus the pay.

They have a lot of education under their belt (in a helping profession, but not social work).

Overall, just their presence is helpful for me, because they are extra support and I can take a pee break now if I need to LOL.

Lately things have been getting weird though for a variety of reasons.

At times I think my peeps (and even some of the students in the other disciplines/ client family) confuse them with being a patient themselves since they have a noticeable disability.

Also, because of their education/credentials, there has been some role confusion with how they should introduce themselves/interact with the clients.

Since my program is small, and I don't have a ton of paperwork or anything, and I already have another volunteer who files my stuff, there's really not a whole lot I NEED them to do for me.

There is a ton of down time where they are really just sitting around, blending in with the group.

Due to that, I think things have gotten a little tense lately and it's been bothering me. A lot.

We must have ended up being mind-readers though, because I had been planning to address these things this week with the volunteer, but they came to me yesterday and we ended up having a great conversation. I feel a clearer role and boundaries have now been set.

I have decided to let them come up with some group ideas of their own, which we can lead together.

I have asked them to notify me immediately about any boundary issues, or anything in general that is bothering them. (And they actually requested more supervision since they are new to the helping professions and my client population).


On another related note, my supervisor also gave me the green light to begin exploring obtaining a social work intern of my own. I have contacted my grad school and have been emailing with the Director of Field Instruction..........just waiting to talk to her on the phone now about where to go from here.


Have you ever run into similar issues with volunteers?

What are some things you have them assist you with?

Have you ever done field instruction?

I love hearing from you guys about this social work stuff!

Happy almost Friday friends!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paying out 'o pocket

The job I have can best be described as teaching, except I am in a classroom for "adults".

In any event, I am not spending tons, but there's just not $$$ really to reimburse me for stuff that makes the program better. My boss told me to stop laying out $$ because I probably would not be reimbursed.

(i.e. I just signed up for a movie subscription, once in awhile I bring in snacks for the clients to make, etc.).

I used to work at an agency where I was reimbursed for everything, so I find this weird. I also work for a really large system now which makes it doubly weird, but I guess that's the bureaucracy...........

Do you have similar where you are?

Obviously I am guessing if you are a teacher, this is the norm. LOL (or not).

Note: There is a small amount of $$$ but we can only use it certain times a year, and by then we are out of everything that would enhance the program. I could also have my clients do a fundraiser or ask them/their families to donate stuff, but I kinda feel that's not right, especially for people who are on a super-limited budget and faced with other hardships.

Thoughts?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Since I don't have much at all to say.....

Here are some butterflies from Pinterest to make your day.

Still don't know how to directly upload from that site.

It always gives me issues, or I am just technologically impaired.

Anyway, it's Thursday already people!

This week is moving by fast.

And can you BELIEVE it's already August 1st? Where is the summer going......

Still enjoying my job, and coming up with lots of fun things to keep my clients engaged.

The program is also growing which I am loving and my supervisor has also praised me for.

This weekend I am going Upstate to visit family for a few days so it will be nice to get out of town.

How are things in your part of the world?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It will take just a few seconds to read this and
change your thinking..

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same
hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an
hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from
his lungs.

His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on
his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their
homes, their jobs, their involvement in the
military service, where they had been on
vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the
window could sit up, he would pass the time by
describing to his roommate all the things he could
see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those
one hour periods where his world would be
broadened and enlivened by all the activity and
colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while
children sailed their model boats. Young lovers
walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour
and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen
in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in
exquisite details, the man on the other side of
the room would close his eyes and imagine this
picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window
described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band -
he could see it in his mind's eye as the
gentleman by the window portrayed it with
descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring
water for their baths only to find the lifeless body
of the man by the window, who had died
peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital
attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man
asked if he could be moved next to the window.
The nurse was happy to make the switch, and
after making sure he was comfortable, she left
him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one
elbow to take his first look at the real world
outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window
besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have
compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this
window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and
could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage
you.'

Epilogue:
There is tremendous happiness in making others
happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness
when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things
you have that money can't buy.
'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The
Present .'

The origin of this letter is unknown, but please
pass it on.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gyming it

Started officially last night and I love it!

Have my 2nd session with the trainer tomorrow. At 5:30AM!

Need to be there a little earlier to do my cardio to warm up.

I also met with two trainers last night to talk about easing into a routine (their philosophy to keep you realistic and motivated) and improving my nutrition.

One of them also told me what I basically already know........if I can cut out carbs (especially bread and pasta) at least every other day combined with 30-45 minutes at the gym, I should drop 20 lbs. pretty quickly. Even within WEEKS not months.

Oh, and water. Need to totally up the water intake. He said for every cup of coffee I drink, I need to drink two cups of water after.

So we shall see. There wasn't a super sales-pitch. They are giving me another free session with a different trainer to see how I like him. But signing up with one is bank. Even more expensive than yoga, which I didn't think was possible. Need to see if this woman who teaches there is still willing to give me a few free sessions.

Have you ever paid for a trainer? Do you think it's worthwhile? Note: If I do decide to go with a trainer it would have to be very short-term because the prices he quoted me were pretty outrageous (I bet this is how they keep their monthly membership cost so low).

Small steps. Small steps.......

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wow it's July

How did that happen?

It seems like summer crept up on me so unexpectedly.

I am used to my new job now, and getting into that whole routine. Only thing that's anxiety-provoking is that although I am getting paid the same, I need to get used to a bi-weekly pay schedule instead of weekly. (Any tips for me?)

I haven't taken on any new work at the old job.

But I also think that's because the referral source is so backed up, that I haven't been offered anything else to take on.

I completely lost my yoga steam. The time commitment and being away from my son when I already have limited time with him, is the major thing I believe that was getting to me, because I NEVER regret the class when I do go.

Instead, I decided to join the gym again. I have one 2 minutes away from my house that also has childcare AND child classes at a ridiculously low cost vs. what I've already paid for yoga. So he can go with me!! I start up with a trainer this coming Monday. (Decided to enjoy the holiday weekend and go in full steam in the new week LOL).

The hours are great too(4:30AM to midnight)AND I can pay monthly and cancel at anytime.

This time around I'm looking to take advantage of all they have to offer instead of just doing boring stuff like the treadmill and a few weight machines, which I think is the quickest way to lose motivation with the gym. I'm going to try to get up early too, so I can be done with it for the day and relax and be lazy when I get home from work ;).

It's my goal to try some of their classes and eventually complete a round of crossfit, even if I feel like a fool doing it.

I still have my yoga membership so I will try to keep that up on the weekends and in the fall again when the weather gets cooler.

I'm going up to PA to see my sister for a few days next weekend so I'm looking forward to that. My parents are also going to keep my son from our visit to PA for about a week or so while everyone else in the family is at Disney (We opted out because of funds, lack of desire to go and well, I did just start a new job so am missing this thing called vacation time).

I have also sent in our first payments to the architect so we should be starting upgrades on our house very soon. (Take that Sandy!).

The plan is to put in new siding and windows, move our front door, add on a covered front porch, knock down our living room wall to make an open floor plan, and lastly, install my dream kitchen.

Sheesh. As I type this out I guess I can see that I do have a lot going on, even though it doesn't always feel that way.

How's your summer going so far?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Not much news is good news

I can't believe I've been at my new job for almost a month now.

I'm starting to get to know the different people in my groups and have come up with some good (and not so good) topics and activities to work on with them.

Amazingly, each day I have a good chunk of alone time, so I utilize lots of websites, books and just my own brain power to come up with ideas and then I organize stuff to use later.

I also got an old school planner to lesson plan my week.

The lack of stress and continued support for one another continues to astound me.

Yesterday someone bought the entire department lunch as a form of employee appreciation. This stuff has happened on several occasions since I've been there.

HR even sent me a survey to fill out, to ensure my experience as a new employee is going well.

The MAJOR perk is that I receive benefits again after only 30 days of employment, so I should *knock on wood* get out of paying over $1600 a month for Cobra. (Who the hell has that kind of $$$$????!!!!!!!)

I think things are going SO WELL in fact, that I have no motivation to do anything else but relax on my weekends and evenings.

Which is making me feel that I probably need to give up this P/T stuff I've been doing on the side.

A major reason for this (besides my own lack of moto) is there's also been a lot of changes in a short amount of time going on with those programs, so completing the work is not as easy as it once was for me. Some of the changes (usually staff/bureaucracy related) anger me so much that I have said fuck it on some occasions, letting the work just sit there, not caring if I get paid.

I also have this strong belief in not mixing the two in any kind of way, which limits my ability to follow up on things when I am at work during the day.

My new supervisor knows I am still doing work for them, and I don't think she cares one way or another, but even though I do have down time to make a phone call or follow up on a form, I just feel unprofessional about it.

I actually had a conversation with her in supervision last week that I am aiming towards giving it up once I finish the major stuff I am working on right now.

I still don't need to make a decision for a little bit so we shall see what happens.

How are things going in your neck of the social work woods?

Have you ever struggled with a similar issue when it came to P/T work, even though the extra cash would be nice?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

And week #2 down



I absolutely STILL LOVE my new position.

The woman retired yesterday who was formerly in the role, so I am looking forward to being on my own this week, even if it's a little anxiety-producing.

This weekend, I have to sit down and plan out each of my groups.

I also have to tackle some work for my P/T gig through the old place.

NOT looking forward to that, but I can't frown on the extra cash when it's done (and the work is not difficult---just writing up plans. Getting started is the hardest thing!!).

In between I need to find time for yoga (summer challenge starts today; I signed up for 30 classes---wanted to aim realistically, if I complete more, that's even better).

We have a family birthday tonight.

Other than that, just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather.

What are your weekend plans?

Also still looking for fun group ideas if you have any.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Just a quick hop on

to update about my first week.

I love, love, LOVE my new position.

The clients are terrific, and truly want to be there which seems to make all the difference in the world.

My co-workers all seem stable and positive too which is beyond priceless to me.

I am so looking forward to the creativity of the position.

I am leading groups in a day program, so I want to start doing "lesson planning" in advance so I can keep everything fresh and interesting for everybody. Right now that doesn't seem to be going on, and I think the program is TOO laid back as a result.

I have a notebook where I've been writing down ideas, and I also have gotten some good suggestions from the members.

I definitely will be using my library again for resources, and I plan to lead some arts/crafts stuff and have in guest speakers and even musicians.

The population I am working with is adults who have severe brain injury so memory and daily living skills are the big things we work on.

Do you teach or lead groups? What are some ideas that you and your clients enjoy, if you don't mind sharing?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Started!

Well I have begun my new job.

I have only attended 2 days of orientation, but so far, I am feeling pretty confident that I made the right decision by leaving my previous agency.

Everyone I have met who is employed by the new company seems very passionate not only about their duties, but overall, our employer. I keep saying over and over that it's so refreshing to see people who are just so plain nice, who also portray a second nature confidence about what they do and who they work for. I need to pinch myself, because I feel like I'm in that episode of Roseanne where David gets the job as Hans the Hare. (Note: one of the speakers even said it is not unusual for family and friends to start to think that we are being brainwashed because the environment is so much about creating positivity).

The past two days have been based heavily on establishing and maintaining a healthy job environment, working together, not throwing anyone under the bus and especially going above and beyond just basic tasks of our job description. There was a lot of talk too of employees who get the most recognition for this kind of thing, and they are often not who you would expect (think janitors, parking attendants and food delivery peeps). There are also a ton of incentives (financial and otherwise for just being nice and overall "hospitable").

While a lot of it can be just a good front right now, overall, I really do like what I see and feel it's believable, just by the vibe I got today walking around the main hospital campus when I wasn't in training mode. People I passed in the hallway and outside smiled and said hello. (Gasp! This rarely happens anywhere as a New Yorker). Several times employees stopped me to ask if I needed assistance. The man in the elevator had a conversation about the weather and what my plans were for this weekend. Fellow employees eagerly struck up conversation about who I was and what I would be doing.

And I totally get now, 100%, what has been missing in my previous work environment.

Tomorrow is my first full day on site where I will be working so I cannot wait to report back!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday! Friday!



It's down to the wire over here as I work with HR at my new company to track down last minute things that I *know* have been sent, so I can ensure that I can attend orientation this coming Monday.

I have quickly realized that this will be one of the frustrations of working for a large employer, with endless departments and people I have to go through to get one little thing completed.

Do you work for a large system where you are faced with this issue? What are some of your suggestions? (Besides save everything, email, fax and call numerous times to ensure it's been received).


Happy weekending everyone!!! Hopefully I will be at orientation bright and early Monday morning (starts at 7:30!!) and have good things to blog about.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ha ha.......& last week countdown




For some reason this pic reminds me of my current job.

This week, I am on the final countdown of full-time.

I start orientation at my new company on Monday.

I will still be around my current, but I will only be working limited P/T which is a much better deal for me.

MUCH better.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013



“Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it." -Mahatma Gandhi

Disclaimer: this was taken from Pinterest but that site is acting pretty wonky lately and I don't know how to link stuff up easily anymore.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Work is weird lately

So mostly everyone is aware that I am leaving, although my supervisor did forbid me to really tell anyone until *he* is ready to share the news.

I get it. If employees hear of a long-term co-worker moving on (I've been at my current place for 5 years), it often breeds panic amongst the team. People get scared about everything from potential new duties they will need to take on, to lack of their own job security.

And if referral agencies know, it too can instill a sense of fear and wonder about continuing work with the company said employee is exiting from.

I have however realized that life is going to go on, with or without me. (Note: supervisor said that he would be happy to have me stay, on a fee basis to write treatment plans for him, which works well for my wallet).

I think most of my co-workers who know have already forgotten about my leaving and are on to their routine daily tasks and activities. Someone else is already taking over most of my F/T duties.

The strange thing though is that all of the higher ups are not really even addressing the fact that I am moving on. In fact, no one has even acknowledged it. While my direct boss has, he still is not really addressing it.

I don't know how to read that.

I understand it on a variety of levels, but it's still hard to go from being the go-to person most of the time, to complete silence.

I guess this is the joy of working at a for-profit. Anyone really is replaceable.

And definitely do not show any kind of emotion about it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Feel what you feel

I had someone blast me on Twitter last night for the feelings I had about what was going on up in Boston.

It wouldn't be the first time someone has alluded to the fact that what I do for a living should make me feel differently about a person and their behavior.

It wouldn't be the first time someone has tried to shame me for my beliefs.


This kind of thinking annoys the living crap out of me.


There are clients I know many of us come across daily that we can't stand for whatever reason, and populations we KNOW we can't work with.


I don't think it makes me or you any less of a "social worker". In fact, it makes me and you HUMAN.


I am not going to feel bad, or apologize for the way I feel about certain people.

I'm not going to feel bad and pussy-foot around certain people's actions being disgusting and unacceptable.


Yeah, we all know our mental health system is broken, but honestly, I don't think that's always an "excuse".

Some people just do really awful things and all the medication and psychiatrists in the world are not going to change them.


The end.




Friday, April 19, 2013

In case you missed my Twitter announcement..........

I got the job!!!!!!!


And I survived the hard part of telling my employer. (A current co-worker actually had to talk me through it I was shaking so bad).


An amazing company (#1 employer here on Long Island!).

GREAT benefits (I am actually taking a pay-cut, yet will still be bringing more $$$ home because they contribute so much towards family health insurance).

A very professional, supportive environment (I will be working closely with doctors, psychologists, OT/PT/SLPs for a well respected program in my niche area).

M-Fri 8:30-4:30 schedule and up to 27 days off a year. (Not just the 6 major holidays I get now).

Stable clients (no incidents in over 7 years!) and lots of downtime to work individually with people and on paperwork.

I will be learning new skills (running groups).

DIRECT DEPOSIT!!!! (This is HUGE for me).

And probably a bunch of other things that I will learn about when I begin my orientation.

My first day is at a major restaurant/catering hall on 5/20. The 2nd day is at the main hospital. The CEO attends (my current barely says hello to his employees), and we learn all about the company.

Then on my 3rd day, I will begin by shadowing the person in the role currently for about a week and a half (What, I'm actually being given real training and not being thrown into a role face first?!!).

I also think my current job is going to let me stay on very limited P/T and I will write plans and such from home for extra $$$$. I am going to see if they will also let me keep the laptop & IPhone too so I don't have to pay out of pocket for new ones ;). (Note: they also said I can always come back and alluded to counter-offering but I think my boss knew my mind was made up and not to push it).


I have heard of MANY people lately who like me, felt like they were stuck in a slump, getting offered new jobs. I hope that some of this positive is passed onto you if you are in this situation right now. The interview process, difficulty reading the potential employer and the WAITING are definitely the hardest parts of the game.

On that note though, I also truly believe now in the power of positive energy (even if it's from people online!), because I had so many who I've never even met, sending me happy thoughts from Twitter and a couple other social networking sites.

So with that said, here's to the next chapter of my life!!!!


Happy weekending all!!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Waiting is the hardest part.............

It's going to be a really long week.


I hate waiting for the outcome of a major decision; especially one that is out of my control completely.


I spoke with my mom about it and she said it really is up to fate at this point; and that whole clich├ęd everything happens for a reason saying that they used to tell us back when I was pledging my sorority in college, having to do things that no one would probably be able to get away with now ;).

So that's where I'm at on this Monday morning.


I had a pretty relaxing weekend and the weather is FINALLY starting to become nice here on the East Coast.


I have decided that I am going to throw myself into my work today and that whatever happens, happens. (There I go, another saying LOL).

Do you have anything you are currently waiting to hear back on?

How do you handle the waiting game?

Has the decision worked out for the best, whether it was in your favor or not?

Friday, April 12, 2013

So I had an interview.....

My first in what seems like forever, and it was for my DREAM place to work. A well respected hospital system, for a fabulous program. The money and moreso, the benefits I have been told are amazing.

But in any event, I really do not know what to think about how it went.

I got to the first interview with HR early because I suspected I would need to fill out paperwork (Yep).

I was supposed to meet with the HR person at 1 and she did not come over to get me until about 1:15.

My time with her was limited and somewhat cold/tense. She asked me about 4 behavioral-related questions (Ugh!) and then basically escorted me to the elevators so I could go on to meet with the Director (who I fortunately happen to know and feel comfortable around).

When I arrived at the program site, the woman I would potentially be replacing, who I have worked with on shared cases before, came over and gave me a quick squeeze and wished me luck.

The interview with the Director was a lot warmer and laid back.

She asked me several times how serious I was about leaving my agency, if they had any idea I was looking to leave, how reliable I was and when could I realistically start, because she would need the person she hires to be able to shadow the current worker for at least one week.


She then went on to tell me that I was the 8th candidate interviewed and she had more people scheduled for next week. (Sigh).


No mention of salary/benefits was discussed from either person. The Director actually told me she was not allowed to discuss this topic; only HR can.

I left there feeling very confused and in a sense, defeated (?????). It didn't help that I decided to go back to my office where I was faced with great negativity from current co-workers.

The rest of the day I ended up just feeling sad and "stuck" for lack of a better term.

One of my references, who is a powerful, well-known, respected person in my field, did text me the night before the interview to say he was going to call the Director and put in a good word for me.

When I got home last night, I emailed both people I met with to thank them, and I plan to send a hand-written thank you to the Director.


All I can do now though is wait.

Friday, March 29, 2013

blog neglected

I feel like I haven't had too many exciting things to talk about over the past several weeks.

Life lately has been pretty predictable. Which as I always say, is pretty good in many ways.

I didn't end up completing the 20-class yoga challenge this month, however, I did complete 12 classes which is on average 3 a week. This is more than I've done in awhile, and it would be more than that if we weren't going away this weekend.

While I love Bikram, as a full-time working mom, finding the time to make the TIME committment is probably one of the hardest things about this yoga.

I usually leave at least 30 minutes before class, which is then 90 minutes, frequently runs over, and before you know it, I'm away from home for close to 3 hours.


While I am so NOT a gym person, I've been considering the idea more and more for the days I just don't have it in me to devote that much time to this one thing. I may still do it IF I can get my ILs to join me. There is a gym nearby that even has childcare and has super early and super late hours.

So we shall see............


On the workfront, one of my favorite colleagues contacted me last night to say that he is considering coming to our agency as a Director of one of our programs. He is a pretty cool, down to earth guy and a true social worker both on paper and at heart. I really think it would be wonderful if he comes on board, however, he recently started another job that he enjoys, that is not stressful and that pays a lot. He feels in order to come to where I work, they'd have to top his current salary by a great deal more. Please wave your magic social work wands that the powers that be come through on this. If there's anything we greatly need at my job right now, it's positive leadership and who better than a social worker to fill in that role?! He'd also be my new supervisor. I can't remember the last time I was actually supervised by a real live social worker. Probably grad school and that was back in 2004!

Also speaking of work, my social work BFF just moved into my office with me this week so having that support is wonderful, as well.

Anyways, just wanted to do a quick check in.

What are you lovelies up to this Spring weekend?

As I mentioned, I'm headed Upstate (New York) to visit the family. I'm excited to be going to a real live farmer's market and farm-to-table restaurant tomorrow. Stuff like that is really hard to come by in the suburbs of Long Island.

Happy weekending!!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

spot on!


I'm taking part in a 20-class yoga challenge this month.

And while I may or may not make that goal, this is absolutely 1000% spot-on about my practice.

If you have a Bikram/hot yoga studio by you, I can't recommend enough that you check it out.

If you live by me, I'll even be your first time yoga buddy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another good resource

I keep meaning to share this site, because I use it frequently for work when I need to find a doctor/specialist for a client, especially one that accepts their insurance or speaks their language.


Zocdoc


You can even set the appointment up for them online and receive reminders.

I don't think it's specific to the NY/LI area either.

Although, like everything else, resources unfortunately can still be scarce, and you may still be met with that big fat 0 when you punch in what you are looking for.

I've learned that in my own personal life, trying to find an OT for my son.

I finally did find one yesterday, who I actually ended up randomly meeting face to face when she took a trial run to see how long the drive would be from her last student.

We need to keep on keepin' on finding the needed services and supports for our peeps.


Creativity is often key, as well as just stalking our other social work friends or other people who utilize similar services for themselves or family.

Happy almost weekend all!

Today is our long awaited staff meeting day which means I will either need a strong drink immediately after, or I will be hitting up the yoga room. Maybe both!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

life lately

I haven't heard anything about coming in to interview for that job I recently posted about.

While the salary and benefits are great, I think I'm definitely still leaning to remaining in the crazy of my current employer, even if the other place does end up calling.

I've sent out several resumes lately to different agencies, for shits and giggles and haven't even gotten a response. Thank goodness I don't have to leave my employer.

I feel bad for people who need a job in this economy and can't find a thing. This is what keeps me grounded when things get hairy at work.

It's frustrating, because the "social work" job listings I get daily are really for RN case managers. *Sigh*.

In other news, there's nothing really new on our homefront. I have a renewed love-affair still going on with our little house, since superstorm Sandy.

We've been talking about starting some major renovations, but DH is still so busy at work, so the timing gets pushed off, and it remains just talk.

I'm fine with that though.

I had another CPSE meeting this week with the school district for DS.

The committee actually approved him to receive 2 OT sessions a week, starting now.

I was actually pretty surprised, as I heard OT is one of the most difficult services to get.

He is doing really good as of late, so I can certainly not complain.

Transitions can still be difficult and he had a major melt-down in Target again yesterday where everyone starred.

School he is doing great though, and the teacher actually has told me that she is really surprised we felt there was anything going on that warrants services.

I don't regret the decision to refer him though.

We certainly pay enough here in school taxes, might as well get something positive from it.

Happy weekending all. What's new in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Source: quozio.com via Social on Pinterest

Decisions, decisions

Just looking for advice on what has helped you when you were faced with having to make a decision about taking a major chance at something.

Background:

Yesterday, a potential job opportunity has basically fallen into my lap.

Some of the pros are it's a salary increase, the benefits are so much better than I have now (they pay for the majority of family health insurance, have so many more days off) and like my current role, I could create my own schedule, work from home, etc.

The person who is in the role now called me twice and spoke to me for about 30 minutes about it and was texting me all day encouraging me, as they see me as one of the top 3 for the spot. In their words, the other 2 don't have as specific experience for the job and would require a lot more training.

I have reservations though for the following:

1.) It is the go-to Director person for my region. I don't know if I am qualified in my mind.
2.) You have to deal with a lot stress with clients/client family/CEOs of major companies when you need to tell them NO.
3.) The person I would need to report to is difficult at best, and often the reason for client/client family/CEO issues.
4.) I have known people to take the role in a different region who have left the position after several months, related to reasons 1-3 (plus it is a lot of paperwork).
5.) Person in role now told me that their biggest stressor is dealing with threats from unstable people, especially in today's world of Sandy Hook and similar. My name would become well known. In both a potentially positive and potentially negative light. It would not be out of the realm of possibility now that you could google me and find crazy things unstable people may write that are not true.
6.) I am very comfortable where I am. My boss has had this position before too at one point and I don't know how he would take it if I left for this (he lost his position because his contract expired and it went to a different company. His role now is much better/higher paying anyway).
7.) With budget changes I don't know how long a position like this will exist. As I stated above I am very comfortable where I am, and no one knows where you end up once the contract ends. The job market these days is very scary. (Note: My boss has been known to take back employees who have left for something that did not work out. I of course would have this discussion with him if offered the job).

They are supposed to be calling me this morning to set up an interview which of course I will go on.

Have you ever been in a similar position? What helped make your decision easier?


NOTE: DH and his family feel I should go for it. My parents feel that there's something to be said for stability and low stress.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


This is my go-to saying.

And I know that it annoys the hell out of some people.

There are so many things that we can't change though about a situation.

You can suck it up and deal (maybe even laugh along the way about all the craziness) or let it over power you.

I think sometimes when we give in, in a sense, maybe the issue really is not as bad as it seems.

And it's not even like we are really giving in.

Acceptance can be a healthy solution.

Monday, February 4, 2013

timely



especially because I'm sitting here, having anxiety about the office this morning.

I think I can manage both, by the end of the day.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Because that's what it's all about

Earlier, taking 2 people who have been in a nursing home for years, (one who is about my age btw), to sign leases for their own apartments reminded me again why I do what I do. I think this was the first time I really saw the one smile and not just sit and cry to me, about how no one cares or wants to help. While they actually did cry again, these were finally tears of joy. With that said, I urge you all to appreciate what you have and to stop to think that not everyone is looking to get over. Some people just want a chance to have a somewhat normal life.

~My Facebook status du jour

Friday, January 25, 2013

Views of those in need

I don't know why, but all of a sudden, people who post anything negative towards those in need, and their perceived views of who is "getting over" are, well, really getting to me.

During the whole election this stuff didn't even bother me.

Maybe I just blocked it out, but more than likely I was just dealing with my own stuff like this and this.

In a short number of days though, I have begun to write people out of my life.

People I used to be good friends with.

I have found that I can no longer take comments and those god awful somee cards poking fun at or villifying the poor and vulnerable.

I am tired of people making comments about Sandy Hook being made up to support the gun agenda, or about how they are sick of seeing people on welfare spending their taxpayer money on the latest IPhone and drugs.


It is my personal belief that unless you live through hardship, you see hardship every day like social work professionals or you have to depend on a system (or lack of!) for any kind of help, you really are not going to understand how the real world works and will buy into these ignorant statements and "jokes".

But no matter what I say to stand up for people, I seem to be painted as the delusional one.

The person who needs to agree to disagree.

I work in home care so I know there is fraud that goes on, but more often than not, these people are few and far between.

And in many cases, big business supports this since they are making out financially too ;).

People have said to me, why even bother responding, because you can't argue with people who have these kinds of beliefs.

And I know that to an extent this is true.

But, if I can educate just one person of the realities of how things are, then I think it's worth the debate.

And it's also been worth it to decide that I probably won't be attending my high school reunion now, since I was on the fence about it before LOL.



Spreading the social work connection

A fellow blogger recently posted about a new social work forum they have created. I think it's such a great idea, and who couldn't use some more support in our ever-isolating field? For me, I have found that the best out there, usually has been from my fellow online peeps. I also personally love the name "Burned Out Social Worker forums". Ha, I think we can all frequently identify with that.


Here's the link. I think you must log on and join. Jump in and get some discussion going this weekend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm being a wuss


It's cold and rainy and I even hear sleet going on.

Of course now I don't want to go to work today. Wish I could just roll over in my bed and sleep the day away.

But alas, that's certainly not reality.

It's social work law, of course, that the day I volunteer to go to a provider meeting, the weather is awful. Which means bad hair day around other super professionals and that I have to drive in this mess. I don't know which one is worse.

Please bear with me on my whiny Wednesday.

And maybe we can help each other through it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Misinformation, entitlement and unnecessary stress

While social work school was several years back, I still remember having drilled into my head the importance of A.) referring out a client to appropriate providers when their needs exceed what I can provide and B.) never telling a client something unless I am absolutely sure the information is accurate.

Especially when it comes to the systems of which we work, information can be complicated for someone with even a Master's degree and experience in social work to understand. As a result, there's often a great deal of "mis" information out there about services and supports a client may or may not be entitled to.

I was actually on the receiving end of this kind of example yesterday, and I quickly became "that mother" on the telephone as a result.

You see, on Wednesday night, I received a mailing that it was time to register my son for kindergarten next year, as the school district noted he is in their Pre-K program.

This is inaccurate. My son is not in Pre-K. We do however want him to be in Pre-K next year.

The only affiliation he has with the district at this point, is that he is receiving services through their CPSE program because of his special needs.

Yesterday morning, I called the student services department and the woman I spoke to kept saying to me "he is in Pre-K. He's on our record". I kept having to re-direct her, that no, he is not in Pre-K. But he IS receiving services through CPSE. I also indicated that I did not think he was ready for Kindergarten just yet, and I was pretty sure he wouldn't make the deadline anyway, since his 5th birthday is after 12/1.

After going over this about 4 more times, her response was "Oh, well than CPSE needs to meet to let you know if your son is entitled to Pre-K again next year.

My blood pressure was starting to escalate, and I asked her to transfer me to the CPSE department.

I've probably talked about her before, but the woman who answers the phone for the CPSE department was probably there when I was in elementary school. And I'm in my 30's now.

Right away she started on the same schtick, with the entitlement piece and the CPSE committee needing to come together about my son. With her crass response, you'd think I was asking her to split her weekly paycheck with me because that is where the money would need to come from to send my child to Pre-K "again".

At that point, I asked to speak with the woman who is in charge of the CPSE department and Assistant Granny sarcastically responded by saying "Dr. W is in meetings all day. I will take down your number and see if she can call you back. But remember you need to have a meeting to decide if your child is entitled to Pre-K".

Now enter my ranting about administrative departments of childhood educational institutions with friends and family for the next hour. Disclaimer: Teachers I love. Teachers this is not directed at you ;).

In any event, Dr. W did end up calling me back not too long after.

And she told me that both women were wrong in the way they presented information to me.

She indicated that as I thought, DS did not make the cut-off date for Kindergarten anyway.

She also stated that Pre-K and CPSE had nothing to do with each other (although I think in some peoples' minds, they do since both cost their own money for services).

She added that Pre-K registration is not until April, either, and the packets have not even gone out yet.

Lastly, she said she had been reviewing my son's file that week since he recently completed an OT eval, and shortly, she would be scheduling a CPSE meeting to discuss the results.

She ended the call by saying that if we had any problems getting DS enrolled for Pre-K to call her up again personally.

I guess where I am going with this, is that dealing with issues like this can be stressful for parents. And upsetting for the client on the other end of the phone who is facing some kind of problem they are seeking support for.

It is not helpful when people respond with inaccurate information. Or reflect their own feelings about who should and shouldn't be receiving something.

I know what it's like dealing with annoying people who have a strong sense of entitlement. I am aware there are days where they all blend into one super-sized pain in the you-know-what. But there's also a time and a place where our thoughts need to stay inside our heads (or inside our computer blog).

Life would be a lot easier, if instead of trying to fudge an answer (or give a response that may be accurate in a different scenario), we just told the person that We (or XYZ person) would get back to them shortly with an answer to their question.

Still not always the answer we want to hear, but certainly better than getting the wrong one, or the wrong one mixed in with our own jaded feelings about clients.

On that note.......

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!! HAPPY WEEKENDING!!!!!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

true.


I've been stressed out lately.

I think people around me often have a profound effect on me.

I need to remember this sound advice.

I also need to get back to my mat.

It's been another crazy week.

This weekend, I want to try to hit up 2 if not 3 yoga classes.

How do you deal when people all around you are gloom and doom?

Are you influenced by this kind of behavior?

Positively or negatively or both?

Happy almost weekend!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

a little positive for the new year......

by Hanne Blank

Happy New Year to you. I’m glad you made it.
I’m glad, because I know what that means.

It means that every time you thought “I can’t,” you figured out some way that you could. Oh, not a way that you could always do the exact thing that made you stop in your tracks and go “I can’t.”

Though sometimes you did exactly that, ’cause you’re that kind of rockstar badass.

No, you figured out some way you could get close enough for jazz. Or some way you could change the conversation, or finagle things so that something to which you could say “I can” could fit where the thing that made you say “I can’t” had been.

Some days that means that you just find somewhere to sit still and keep breathing while your world falls to ashes and the minutes pass.

Some days you do that with your eyes closed. Sometimes that’s what you can.

But you do it. You did it. Every time, all year, you did it, whatever it was.

You found “I can.”

You did it while you found out that the Beatles lied to you and love isn’t all you need. You did it while you bled and while you cried.

You did it while you wondered where the money was going to come from. You did it while you learned the hard way that a loss you choose is still a loss, not just the losses you didn’t choose.

You did it in line in bureaucratic offices and medical clinics and at the post office. You did it while you made an impossible decision. You did it when you were beyond caring. You did it when you cared so much that doing anything at all was terrifying.

You did it while you did things you knew were going to hurt. You did it while you hurt yourself, on purpose.

You did it while you were exhausted, while you absorbed that news, while you listened to that diagnosis, while you waited to hear something that would change things you weren’t going to be able to ever change back. You did it while you rode the train. You did it while you drove home. You did it while you dialed that phone number that time, and waited for “hello?”

You did it in the dark and you did it by your wits and you did it alone, because all of us ultimately do. You also did it in broad daylight and with the help and love and strong backs of others helping to make it possible, because all of us ultimately do that, too.

You did it the way only you know how. You did it. You found “I can.”

You did it as many times as necessary.

We both did.

Well played, my friend.

Thank you.

Happy New Year. May the worst day of the upcoming year be only as bad as the best day of the one just past, and may you always find the way to “I can.”