Posts Tagged ‘work’

More change

Regular readers of this blog will notice I’ve had several changes of field in my career. Sometimes it’s boredom, sometimes it’s stress, sometimes it’s lack of support, sometimes it’s fear of commitment that drives me from one job to another. The time has come again. Can’t put my finger on the why – it seems to be all of the above, and yet …

I love this organisation. I genuinely love the people I work with and the work that we do. I am passionate in this field and love what I do. I’m also not scared of change, and love new challenges.  This role is very limiting and limited – as a manager of sorts to one measly program, supervising a (very) small team, and conducting business on a fee-for-service framework (which is dictated by the funding body) resulting in fewer clients and needing to ‘hunt’ for them, I feel I am not utilising my strengths or learning anything new. I’ve essentially become quite bored with the job. The only thing I seem to be doing is micromanaging people, and I feel little scope to do other work.

So after some consultations in external supervision and with my psychologist, I have come to an uneasy decision of starting to look outside for further stimulation. I want to get back to casework, client work, case management or anything hands-on really. I thought that management will be busy and intense and fun and a bit of a break from ‘managing’ clients – but in actual fact, it’s not that fun at all. In essence, you’re still dealing with clients. All of them. AND the case managers who work with them. It’s tripled workload, and none of it entirely fulfilling. My time supervising my staff whets the appetite. I hear about the difficulties the clients are facing and in my head runs a thousand different scenarios, techniques, strategies – how would I have worked with this client?

Damn I miss it so much!

In other news – and something I have yet to explore via this blog – I am committing to take a year off to travel next year (from about Aug/Sept/Oct – nothing in concrete yet, other than the plan). This somewhat puts a spanner in the works in terms of locating more work. If I leave now, I could probably get a 12 mth contract. If I leave in Jan, the likelihood to get a 9 mth or equiv position will be harder. The idea of temping or locum work is not ideal, but could be my only option. Ideally I’d like to stay where I am and just do casework but there’s no funding in it, and if I stay in this program, even if I take a demotion or return to substantive position, I’ll still basically be doing all the same work as there will be no one else to do it.

I thought about going back to mental health. As a clinical case manager. Again, it’ll require a certain amount of commitment, commitment I can’t guarantee to give. It’s still a year off but so much can happen in that time, at the same time how much should I hold off on my dreams for the sake of a good job… Tough life questions.

This often happens. Crossroads seem to occur more often than not in my life. In the past 7 years since I began this profession – new relationship, new job, move house, stress, unemployment, new job, anxiety, new job, break-up, move house, new job, court, promotion 1, promotion 2, new relationship,  move house, break-up, move house again.. new relationship.. and now the question mark around new job.  It’s all life, I suppose, this is completely normal to have change happening all the time. The difference now is, I don’t have a black or white answer. There are more options than not, and making a decision now when shit hasn’t hit the fan is in fact, the scariest decision of all.

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Motivation

I believe I’m a pretty creative person – or at least, I tell myself and others that, but it’s been a long time since it’s been proven as the case.

I can spend hours stumbling, browsing, reading blogs, finding inspirations, looking through etsy – with that perpetual thought “I could do this!” but I never get around to doing it. For the past 3 years I’ve had the same things written over and over again in my aspirational list of things to do. What the hell is stopping me?

I suppose in some ways this can easily manifest itself in my work too – putting off things that are too hard, avoiding the challenge, or fear of asking the question that stands out most in your mind. It’s a block, and I put it down to lack of motivation – and deeper still, a lack of self-esteem and confidence.

So today I am choosing to better myself. To step outside of my fear of getting involved, and to challenge myself out of the “I will fail, so why bother” mentality. I’ve already loaded my new (old) Lomo camera that I bought about 6 months ago and never used. It’s loaded incorrectly, but so fucking what. We learn from our mistakes, and I need to start practicing what I preach.

I’ve also been tangentially surfing the web about all of the above little things – and I came across something that may interest any readers that are bloggers, or are considering to become bloggers, or just like writing and need something to kickstart the words.

This blog is actually useful for many other things, but the writing exercises post I think I might actually make use of. Hope you guys find it useful too.

I think I may need to put another page on this blog of all the things I actually want to achieve this year – and further on – so that at least it makes me feel as though I should make some attempts at proving myself to myself  that I am capable.

Ugh, motivation. Now I am sitting here with a billion things in my head and I can’t think of anywhere to start!!!!

Sick = time off = way more shit to catch up on upon return = sick (etc)

I got home from work about half an hour ago, and I lie in bed praying to some spiritual force that I do not get the lurgy any time soon. I say this partially out of my hypochondriac self which builds mountains out of two sneezes and a cough. Partially out of the absolute worry of missing time of work at a specifically crucial moment right now (2 case conferences over next 2 weeks, for starters).

It made me wonder about this interesting 9-5 conundrum of a world we live in. I suppose it is not specific to the field of social work, I think it may as well apply to any high-stress job that requires you to think on your toes consistently and frequently. How often we push ourselves to the point of burn-out, or actual physical sickness, to be rewarded with so called “sick days” to cure ourselve = take the time off of our work, heal. But there is a Catch 22, isn’t there.

I think I, as well as many others, tend to go into that wave of anxiety when I’m ill and not at work. The random thought processes of “I should’ve gone in”, “Maybe I could do some of this work now”, “I’ll just make a couple phone calls”… within the first day of being off sick.

As my time off increases and the sickness intensifies, the anxiety reaches the level of “Holy Shit the world is ending without me”, “What the hell did I do to deserve this”, and the inevitable:

“HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO CATCH UP?!!”

As much as we want to use the time off to actually get better, our minds will no doubt wander to the goings on at work, and create a picture of the completely unachievable backlog of work that will greet us on our return. I sometimes get more stressed about going back to work than I was just before taking the time off to recover. The way I visualise my job after a bout of sickness – like a tip, and you need to sort out recyclables and rubbish, but to varying degrees of urgency. Say for example, that hidden underneath some of it is some serious nuclear waste that would probably need to be taken elsewhere STAT. Ha. And I suppose add a computer, e-mails, report-writing, case-notes and phone calls to the tip scenario and you pretty much have a recipe for another episode of burn-out.

So – this is me just riffin’. It’s been ages since I had time off for anything other than anxiety-related issues, but now that I’m feeling twinges of a problem, I’m having a bit of a freak-out. I have way too much to do, body. Please just heal yourself now!

On a completely different hand – I wonder what daytime TV is up to these days?

Piggy in the middle at work = not fun (2)

If you are wanting to read this post, I recommend you go to the previous post (1) to get a background. Otherwise this won’t make much sense at all. But warning – it’s a long winded tale of office politics and drama, with no clear resolution. Just a wonderful examination of how fucked people are.

Later that Friday that I worked from home, I got a phone call from Suzanne, saying “Don’t worry, everything will be ok now, I’ve put Philip on suspension.” Because, duh. That’s how you solve a problem. “On suspension pending investigation of the incident.” What incident? Oh. Philip ‘intimidating’ me. Grr. I started to see red. “I will need you to write a statement about what occurred.”

Yep. Whatever. I’m not writing a fucking statement. You’re not involving me. You’re NOT. Involving. Me.

me: “Ok”

Idiot. Sitting duck. But hey. She’s telling me to do something as my manager. I don’t know the protocols. So I agreed.

“As long as it is never shown to him.” She agreed.

Later on that weekend, I discussed this silly statement business with a few friends. They were all on my side and agreed that I shouldn’t have to write a statement and why the hell was Philip put on suspension anyway?

Monday rolls round and I was called into Suzanne’s office first thing. She told me to write the statement. I said I didn’t feel right about doing it. She asked me why. I said I didn’t know, I just felt objectionable towards doing it. She then proceeded to outline and highlight every single one of Philip’s faults. How much he’s blundered in the past. How he has intimidated her. How he just doesn’t give a shit about his work or the organisation. Sure, I can agree with all of these things. But why is he being put on the chopping block for this one meeting? Should it not be a collection of all these things more so?

Suzanne: “Yes, it’s not just your statement, we have a whole range of documentation and evidence that paints him in this light. Oh and I need Paulina to put in a statement too. In fact, I’ll be getting everyone present at that meeting to put in a statement about how he was noncompliant, and then you can put in an additional one about how badly Philip treated you the day after.”

Ok. So it’s not just me. You’re involving other people too. Paulina is the girl I mentioned in the previous post, who has only worked with us for a couple of weeks and has no real clue about the dynamics and tension in the office. Doubt she’ll want to get involved.

her: “You and Paulina, you can work on it together. You can collaborate and prompt each other. If she doesn’t remember details, you can tell her what was said and she can write the same thing in hers.”

Um, what? Collaborate? That’s not collaboration. That’s putting words into her mouth.

I walked back into my office, where Paulina was doing her work. Suzanne followed me in, and closed the door.

her: “This is about what happened last week at the KPI meeting. I want you both to write a statement about what occured and how Philip wasn’t contributing.”

Paulina: “We have to write a statement? Can I choose not to?”

her: “No.”

Paulina: “So we have to do this, even if we don’t want to?”

her: “Yes. I am your manager and I am directing you to write this statement.”

Paulina’s husband has contacts with workplace lawyers, who know all the gory details of what work can and can’t order you to do. She called him, who checked with the lawyers, who said WTF dude, you don’t have to do anything.

Paulina made me question my ‘lying down and taking it’. I never wanted to write a statement, but I was fearful of the consequences. I was genuinely scared of Suzanne getting either shitty with me or starting to question everything I had told her. I knew I was too far involved in this. I had no choice or say in the matter, or at least, it really felt I had no power to say what I wanted to say without that fear of the consequences. I had already told her everything I had. I couldn’t go back on it. And she would pull me up on that. “But what about all the things you told me about?” Besides, I actually agreed to writing the statement Friday afternoon. Stupidly.

After much deliberation most of the day, seeking advice from everyone I knew and doing NO WORK WHATSOEVER as a result, I penned my statement. I handed it in. Paulina penned hers, also fearful that she would get the sack or some other shit if she didn’t follow orders. Her statement was the most basic, non-descriptive thing, that really didn’t show what happened. She was of the opinion “you want my statement? Here it is. That’s how I saw things, that’s the way it was. I won’t change it.”

After handing both my statements in, Suzanne asked me into her office again. This time I bawled my eyes out. Guilt weighed heavily on me, also the fact that I was doing her dirty work for her. If she wanted Philip out, she should (and could) do it herself, why involve me? I got so angry. Why the hell was this happening to me. Besides, the whole thing looked like it really wasn’t going to achieve anything except anger and frustration – on everyone’s parts. Philip has a real case for unfair dismissal. There isn’t much in either statement that would warrant firing anybody.

her: “Why is it so hard for you to do this? Is it because of what happened at your previous job? And that you weren’t treated fairly there?”

me: *WTF? No, it’s because you’re a manipulative bitch using your role to intimidate people into doing things they don’t want to* “Um. No.”

her: “Then why?”

She started to make me feel guilty ABOUT FEELING GUILTY. Had I done something wrong by her, by not being all “Ding, dong, Philip’s dead…”? ??

Jesus. Basically, I cried like a baby, and never felt good about putting the statements in. She assured me once again that I’d done the right thing. “I know you’ve done the right thing” Of course I have. Because doing the right thing makes you feel really shitty inside, and makes you feel as though you’ve gone against your very ingrained values.

The day finished. Needless to say, I barely slept.

Tuesday.

I was under the (mistaken) impression that this was all over. I didn’t have to do any more. I had done my bit. Not so.

Suzanne calls me into her office. Closes the door.

her: “So. We’ve spoken to our employer advisory body, and they’ve read the statements. They say that yours isn’t strong enough.”

WHAT?!?!

her: “So I need you to rewrite it. Give all the gritty details. Be honest. Be true to what happened. Expose Philip for the person he is.”

UM???

her: “Oh and another thing. Our evidence doesn’t stack up. We’re basically relying on your statement.”

Relying on my statement? It’s on my shoulders?? You’re actually, definitely, unabashedly, unashamedly USING ME.

We discussed this for awhile. I cried. Like, really, stressful, affected, frustrated and annoyed tears. I could see that this day was going to wind up worse than the previous.

Insanity. She started to emotionally blackmail me. Is blackmail the right word? “Would it make you feel any better if I said I didn’t want to do this either? Would it make you feel any better to say that he possibly won’t get fired because of this? I’ve got pressure from the CEO. This is hard on me too. You don’t understand. I tried to make him change, I really did. I was so good to him, but he knocked me back. He didn’t want my help. So you’re not alone in feeling frustrated. Rewrite the statement. And I want it by 12. We have to send it to the employment advisory body because they, Philip, the CEO and I are meeting on Friday and we need to give him 48 hours notice.”

*stunned. silence. Except, of course, for my tears*

her: “Here’s the number of the employer advisory body. Call them. Tell them what happened. Get advice. I’d really like you to rewrite the statement. I know you’ll do the right thing.”

There it is again: the right thing. My moral compass is currently on the North Pole. It’s spinning and spinning and is getting confused by the constant magnetic forces which we can call Suzanne.

I go off into my office and stare blankly at my computer screen. The backlog of work is building up higher and higher. I will need to work late for the rest of the week to catch up on it (for the record, that’s what I ended up doing). Write another statement? After all the anxiety I felt writing the first one? I call my partner for advice. He says write it, but be really objective, to the point, don’t put in anything there that you don’t feel reflects the situation. I call the employment advisory body and I tell them what’s what. The lady says I haven’t reflected that in the statement and I need to rewrite it. I tell her I was placed in an awkward position and I never wanted to write the statement in the first place. “Oh ok. *ponders* I will call you back” and slams down the receiver. I have no idea what that meant. Does that change things now? Does that mean we have no case? I hope desperately that the lady is going to call the CEO and say there’s no hope here. I tell Suzanne that this lady’s calling me back. After 2 hours having not heard from her, Suzanne cracks the shits and calls her, and this lady says that she said all she had to say. She wasn’t actually gonna call me back. Right.

So I write the statement again. Then I get a phone call from my ex-boss/good friend Elizabeth, who is infuriated after I tell her what’s gone on. Don’t rewrite the statement, she says. Call Pat (my psychologist). Ask her for advice. Don’t rewrite it. In fact, retract the previous one. I start to get really, really confused. I feel my control of the situation (whatever control I had) completely slip. I have no direction. I don’t know what to do. I call Pat and give her a 5 minute background. This is not thorough enough and I find her comments not very assuring. She basically tells me to write what happened, hand it in, and get over it. Get back to work. Hm. Helpful.

Elizabeth calls me again. Says WTF, Pat (who she sees also) would never have said that if she knew the whole story. Call her back again. Get an appointment this evening or tomorrow morning. Don’t hand in that statement without some independent advice.I call Pat’s office. They tell me she hasn’t got any appointments available til halfway through the next day.

It’s 3.30pm. I walk into Suzanne’s office to ask for advice on a client who I had a very important hopital family meeting with the next day. She asks me whether I’d written the statement yet. I said I had, and it’s signed on my desk, but I want to get independent advice before I do anything. Do I have to give the statement in now?

her: “Yes. Because we’re running on a timeline. We need it now. *long, silent pause as I look blankly at her wondering whether she realises how much she’s disempowered me* Ok. Fine. You get the advice.

me: *buckling, tears brimming once more* No. Never mind. I’ll give you your statement.

I turn my back and walk out, grab the statement off my desk, take it into her office, throw it on her desk and leave. Suzanne then comes back into my office and asks me whether it would make me feel better talking to the CEO. Frankly, no it wouldn’t. I know you’re both banging the same drum. What would be the point? I agree, and then have a pointless discussion with the CEO. I tell her I feel used, manipulated, taken advantage of, that I was a pawn in Suzanne’s game with Philip. But what did I get from her? Nothing but echoes of Suzanne, punctuated by empty reassurements that nothing I write will be read by Philip. Sigh. I have no way of winning. I hand the statement to the CEO, and walk out of the room. I then go talk to another work colleague, who I’ve let in on the whole thing from the start. She’s also on my side. The conclusion we drew to is that I pretty much can’t trust anyone here (at work) anymore.

4.50pm. Suzanne has come back from the CEO’s office and asks me into her office. Her face looks deflated. She tells me that the CEO and her have decided to withdraw the statements. They’d been told by the employment advisory body that if I can’t consent to showing my statement to Philip, then they have no leg to stand on. Then she makes some half-arsed attempt at using “how this made me feel, how much stress this put me through” to further justify this decision. Yeah, if you truly felt that way, the litres of tears prior to this moment would’ve prevented you from taking any further action. She tells me “It’s ok. I’m not concerned. One way or another, I’ll get him fired. He’ll trip up somewhere along the way. But you have to promise me, promise me, that if he does anything like this ever again, you will tell me, and be prepared to fight this time.”

me: “Yep, I will”
inner thought process: “You can bet your life on it that I won’t.”

So that’s where it stands. She withdrew the statements. And I feel like I can’t trust anyone there at all. I just want to do my job, which is the most important thing here, and has been lost in all this hoop-lah.

Fellow workers, social workers, or anyone at all. Please learn from this, like I have, and feel free to comment, as it will help me get over this mess.

Piggy in the middle at work = not fun (1)

How do I even start to update people on what’s been happening of late. Every time I attempt to do so, it turns into an hours-long discussion about how fucked people are to each other, and how inappropriate my manager currently is. Not to mention how used and manipulated I’ve been in the past 2 weeks.

I will try my best to describe things in detail without going onto tangents. This, for me, is hard. Stick with me.

My manager, let’s call her Suzanne, is an intimidating lady. On my first day of working at this job, as I may have mentioned in a previous post, she sat me down and proceeded to tell me about how shit everyone in the organisation is, and how basically we’re looking for fresh meat to replace them. Every character flaw, every nuanced work style, all put down. This is a woman who will say she works by people’s strengths, yet sits and bitches about them non-stop and looks for ways to see them gone. Have I illustrated her well enough? Good. I’m sure I’ll flesh her out, so to speak, as the post goes on.

Meet Philip. He’s an imposing figure, stands tall and strong and works a second job in security. He came to the country last year, but isn’t too impressed by it and is not afraid to tell everyone that is willing to listen. And everyone who isn’t willing to listen, too. Now, he doesn’t help himself at work by not following management and direction, and he has a very direct and childish, immature way of showing it. He’ll have these little bitchy fights with Suzanne, and doesn’t get why some things at work have to get done: i.e. paperwork. Reports. Updating client files. Writing care plans (even though I’m just as lazy in that regard, I do understand the need to do them). It’s kind of accepted by other team members that “That’s just Philip”, accompanied by a laugh that implies not being bothered with attempting to convince him otherwise.

A couple of weeks ago, we were instructed during a team meeting to update our KPIs. Suzanne instructed us to do this. She later pulled me aside in private and asked that I don’t play a lead role in the writing of these KPIs. She wanted to see others put their bit in. I reluctantly agreed to this, but wasn’t atuned to the fact that this was the first step in many that would eventually see me ‘caught in the middle’.

The meeting went ahead, and long story short, I was pretty much playing the lead role. As soon as we started, in the big meeting room, Philip vocalised his absolute disgust at having to do this exercise. He bitched and moaned about how it was a useless task, more paperwork for no visible cause. I turned to him and said “Seeing as we have been directed by not only our manager, but the CEO and a Project Manager, I’m guessing there must be something pretty important about doing this.” He waved my comment off. Not long after this comment, I stupidly offered to be scribe. Because I can write good in English (see?). We then moved to my office, because I prefer to type rather than hand write everything.

We sat down by my computer. There was a lady who has worked with the organisation around 7 years, who was mainly helping me; a girl who had only just begun with the organisation and who had pretty much no idea what we were doing, and Philip. Philip sat behind me and the other two, practically reclining in his chair, looking bored and uninterested. Twice I pulled him up on his inactivity and lack of input. Both times he remarked how stupid this was, that he had better things to do with his time, and didn’t have anything to submit to it anyway. I even responded saying I have more important things to do too, but we were asked to do this, so let’s do it. 10 minutes after the exercise began, he picked up his shit, and relocated to his office. He asked us to tell Suzanne he was ‘still working on it’.

Suzanne waltzed past twice, and both times noticed he wasn’t helping. She cracked the shits the second time, asked us to save the document, and forward it to Philip and another case manager who wasn’t present during this meeting. “You ladies have done enough work on this. Let Philip and Brenda finish it off.” She then made an arrow movement pointing towards her office, as she was looking at me.

I walked into her office, she asked me to shut the door.

her: “What happened?”

me: “Um. We started writing it but Philip wasn’t really helping out. He told me he couldn’t be arsed doing this exercise.”

THIS IS WHERE IT ALL GOES TO HELL

her: “Jesus Christ, I knew I couldn’t fucking trust him, he’s such a fucking waste of space, he doesn’t follow any fucking direction. I’ve had it up to here with him, this sort of behaviour just fucking shits me.”

me: *tumbleweeds*

her: “Why the hell did you not take a seat back from all this?! I asked you not to take the lead role!!”

me: “I don’t know. It’s not my style to sit back and not do anything.”

her: “That’s just not good enough. Bloody hell. I’m fucking over this. He’s gone. I’m getting rid of him. I’m going to write a memo to him and say that Case Managers have expressed frustration due to his noncompliance to the task.”

me: “I’d prefer you didn’t write that. He’s going to know that it was me.”

her: “No he won’t, I’m not mentioning your name anywhere there.”

me: “Yeah, but I was the only one that actually said anything to him about how he wasn’t contributing. It’s going to be a bit obvious”

her: “No it’s NOT. It’s plural. Besides, I expressed frustration too.”

me: *shrug shoulders*

Whatever. I had no say in this. It was pointless trying to argue with her.

The next day, Suzanne told me she had written the memo and put it into his pidgeonhole. She told me that if Philip were to come up and confront me with the memo, I was to deny that it had anything to do with me. I had the same argument with her about how obvious it was that it was me. Besides, the other two were kind of on his side. They don’t see that his inability to follow management direction is actually incompetence. But once again, she says, PLURAL. As if that word actually means anything here.

Great. The whole day I am shitting myself. Don’t know whether he’s read it and not saying anything, or just not bothering to go to his pidgeonhole. It was the latter. He only got the memo at 4.20 that afternoon, after Suzanne planted it on his desk. realising he hadn’t picked it from his pidgeonhole. I could tell she was getting anxious (and excited) about him getting it. Baiting him.

He opened the memo. I was working at my desk at the time so wasn’t paying all that much attention. He walked into my office, it was just me & him, him towering over me, pointed to the memo and said in his mother tongue “This thing about frustration – that’s you isn’t it?”
Put on the spot, sweating bullets, face turning red, heart in throat. I can’t physically lie when I’m under pressure like that. I can’t manufacture or even spin a slight falsehood.

me: “Philip, you really weren’t contributing at all in that meeting -” he cuts me off and in a blur of words

him: “I wasn’t contributing ok so you were frustrated.”

me: *stunned silence and trying to find the words in the language that make enough sense to defend myself but it didn’t really matter because he had basically turned his back to leave my office* It wasn’t just me!!!

him: *already in the corridor but still responding* Yes it was, I know the other two didn’t feel any frustration.

He goes back to his office.

BANG.

Ok. My anxiety levels hit the roof. Suddenly my mind was awash with things I could’ve said, and trying to translate them as fast as I could into the other language. Too late. I couldn’t defend myself. It would look stupid. A rash started to form across my neck. PANIC PANIC PANIC.

So I called my ex boss/good friend Elizabeth and said…

I don’t know why I’m feeling so fucking anxious he just came in here and said these things and now I don’t know what to do and Suzanne used me in this situation and I just don’t feel right her right now I really have so much work to do but I don’t know whether I can tolerate being in the same building as him

her: CALM THE FUCK DOWN. Pack up your shit, get out of the office, and do not come in the next day (Friday).

Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. That’s simple. Ok. I can do that.

I came home and blurted it all out to my partner. He got angry, and said it was a good idea to call the CEO the next day and explain the situation to her then. Someone above Suzanne, who would hopefully see that this was a fucked situation.

The next day, I called the CEO. I explained her everything. I told her how stressed I was about this. How I didn’t want to come back unless the situation was resolved. How much this whole thing was stressing me out. How I felt caught in the middle between conflict between a manager and a worker. How I felt intimidated and how much this could have been avoided had I not been roped in. How I was scared of the repercussions of what had happened.

CEO? Totally. Didn’t. Get it. She’s buddybuddy with Suzanne, so that’s one down side. Another is that all she heard was “Philip intimidated me, and now I’m scared to come back to work”. She said that this behaviour was not on. He’s an incompetent worker and we’ve had problems with him from the start. I said all I could say. But at the end of the day, she really was just echoing a lot of what Suzanne had said. I was getting nowhere.

This post has become epic, so I will continue it in a second part. Hang in there.

I had a list – Part Deux

Ok so maybe the last post was a little off-topic. And a little uncharacteristic. I don’t much like going through the insanely tedious minutae of my life – especially when it concerns ‘stuff’ that ‘happened’ that was ‘throroughly unreadworthly’ (please excuse my own interpretations of words).

The point I wanted to get at – one of the many – was that my life pretty much revolves around lists, and I’m not sure why. I love doing them. I love crossing things off. It happens rarely, and sometimes I think I just like the torture of compiling a list, seeing face-to-face how ridiculously unorganised I am, getting depressed, and going back to the chaos of my existence.

In work, lists are endlessly useful. Again, there’s still that sense of masochism putting one together, but it does show others exactly how busy I am, and to please stop pestering me with bullshit things that can honestly wait. In a one-month period, I was able to whittle down a list 4 pages long, into 1 page (double-sided). Naturally, the least-pressing but still important, and mind-numbingly boring/irritating/involved get left last. For me at work, that’s putting together case plans. Embarrassingly. I have it in my head. And on a majority of occasions, care plans have already been written and I only need to edit them. BUT I DON’T EVEN DO THAT!!

I can’t seem to discipline myself to do them all and have them done and not have to worry about them. But as with the life of every social worker, some other ‘can’t wait’ task presents itself, and you need to run out the door, still compiling how best to put “Mrs Smith is a crazy toothless bearded cat lady and needs to be locked up” in the most positive, life-affirming, strengths-perspective way.

Outside of work, lists really don’t serve much of a purpose other than to get out the shit that’s in my head at this exact moment. About 10 years ago, I wrote a hell of a lot of poetry, short stories, musings, thoughts and commentary on life in my little notebooks. Now, it’s nothing but lists. Usually written on a monthly basis, mostly around my period when I start to realise how much I hate myself and my disorganisation, then the book closes and may as well never have existed. The progression is quite sad. Functional? Hardly. Sad? Definitely. What happened to spontaneous me? When I didn’t care what I had to do in the coming week? When all I needed to do was write a couple essays and make sure I was home for dinner? Oh that’s right. Age.

Sigh. I won’t bore anyone with the tedious ramblings of regrets and time lost. It’s been done before to a nauseating level by all manner of hack writers and bloggers (mostly of middle-age, with 248 kids and a mortgage, none of which describes me). Not to say that I’m gonna put an interesting spin on things, I’m really not. But it is dull, and monotonous, and not the point.

Yeah, what the fuck is the point, you ask. I suppose I’ve realised within the writing of this blog entry that my unhealthy obsession with writing lists doesn’t actually serve much of a purpose outside of work. Let’s face it, the stuff that needs to get done, gets done, regardless of whether a list exists or not. Paying rent. Paying car registration. Cleaning out my jewelry box (see previous post). Writing a fucking blog entry. Joining a gym. Yep. Sooner or later, it does happen. But for now, why don’t I just sit tight and enjoy whatever kind of ride this is we’re on.

Getting lost in the whirlpool of life is sometimes a good thing. Being busy, but having the foresight and curiosity to stop and smell the roses occasionally (or to flash a stranger, to eat something you’d never think of eating, to try something completely new, to be spontaneous) makes life freer, and more sense to rip up lists and just live in the now.

This job is killing me. Very. Slowly.

I write this as I am very close to dozing on the couch after an 8 hour day that follows consecutive verrrry long days. I took a day off on Monday because it really hit me. Call it hypochondria, my body catching up with me, mental health day, I don’t know what. I did actually have pains in my belly, a splitting headache, and no desire to go to work, so you can figure it out.

I didn’t go in, and instead actually did a few things I’d been putting off/had no time to do, namely clean up a bit around the house, and wash my clothes. A sad moment when you realise you haven’t done these things in around a month.

The reason I write a few words tonight is that I’m very unsure of my direction at this agency. I’m being pushed, or even groomed, to take a future position, more responsibility, etc (i don’t know any intricate details other than the Team Leader telling me she has ‘big plans’ for me), and I am not at all interested in what ever this may be. Not at this place, no way, no how.

So why am I shying career advancement and possible payrise? The place is not entirely above-board. There is a lot of infighting, competition, backstabbing, bitchiness, and no support. None of this is directed at me, but regardless I’m unsure I want to be part of an organisation which specifically targets and excludes certain people. I find it a little ironic that in an ethnic-specific organisation, where there are only 2 out of around 60 workers who don’t speak the language in question, one of those two is managing to get onside with the CEO and using the CEO to silently trying to push some people out. I’ve heard stories from both sides, but I’ve only now realised I really gotta keep my mouth shut and not play sides. EITHER side.

The team leader is that one Anglo worker mentioned just before. She pretty much has it in for a male colleague. This male colleague also believes he’s being discriminated against by her, although he’s not making things easy for himself by trying to push the boundaries and test many people’s patience regarding service delivery. This is what happens when someone of no experience gets a position as a case manager. I can understand his side of the story. He’s frustrated, he’s been picked on, he has a mark on his back and they want to get rid of him. I can understand her side of the story. She’s a team leader, she’s managing him, she needs to make sure that certain administrative targets are met and that clients needs are being met in a timely manner. The CEO has sided with the team leader on such a scale that she even accused this male colleague of having a ‘bad upbringing’ (pretty low and unprofessional comment, I would say, for someone who’s always proclaiming certain people’s work is unprofessional).

So Male Colleague (I really should’ve thought of pseudonyms but I’m too fucking tired) is pulling out all stops on the Bullying & Harrassment Express. He’s joining a union and mounting a claim. He’s collecting evidence of every sort. I’ve seen how this works on the other side of the coin – my boss from my previous employer had a claim made against her, and then subsequently thought of filing one on HER boss! It’s a terribly complicated process, with little gain.

I can see how easily I could be thrown into the mix, and quite frankly, I don’t want to be part of that mess. I don’t want a lick of it.

I’ve been advised (wisely) by my partner to butt out. Not one word about anything to anyone, just MYOB and get on with the job. I turn a blind eye to her comments about him (also unprofessional, mind), and his comments about her. It doesn’t admonish the fact that on occasion I had given time to her whinging, and his as well. But what can one do? What’s done is done.

A final note on a previous post:

I went back to my client with MS, with an interpreter, and re-did the terminal wishes. Explained everything thoroughly. He changed his mind completely on his last terminal wishes, but at least I feel confident I went about the right procedure. Since then, I contacted the carer to organise a meeting. She kept making excuses and then went on holiday, and we’ve heard nothing until today. Today, my client was admitted into hospital with yet ANOTHER chest infection. Put on IV antibiotics, and expects to stay for the rest of the week. For me, it’s becomming more and more evident that the time is drawing nearer. And today, I had my first real freak-out that this may very well be my first client to pass away (whom I’ve had contact with). In the aged care field. And the most fucked thing about it is that HE’S 53. He’s younger than my dad. I know it’s just age, and he’s just generally a lot sicker than most of my frail 80 and 90+ clients, but the psychological link of someone so young to be in such a state freaks me the fuck out.

Not to mention – I have a good friend who was diagnosed with MS a few years back, who hasn’t reached 30 yet. As with most illnesses, it affects different people in different ways, but ultimately, MS is a terminal illness. Eventually, everyone that has it has a rapid decline. The thought of this good friend of mine in that position, well, like I said. It all really freaks me out.

Anyway. I really gotta learn to update more, but as previously stated in earlier posts, it is hard for me. I love writing here and it eases my mind somewhat, but to build up the motivation alone is a struggle. Maybe I’ll have a ‘blogging day’ or a silly computer alarm-clock thingy that rings to remind me I have this place to talk about shit. Because honestly, there is a lot more going on than just work. And there is a lot more to life than work. But writing it all down helped for years when I struggled through shit, and god knows I need that little bit of help now..

Over and out.