Well hello there!
I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I was just too busy and kept missing the blogging deadlines. :) But one of the reasons I’ve been so busy is something that I’m super thankful for, so I wanted to make sure that I got my blogging done on time this week since that’s what we’re sharing this week!
If you’ve been reading my blog for any part of the past seven years you’ll know that I had a pretty rough job in social work. My job required me to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round to my clients. I used my personal cell phone, personal car, and was expected to be ready and available at all times in case a client had an emergency. Although I learned a lot from the job, it was all kinds of awful. The job itself was set up to benefit the clients with the least bit of support for the workers. We were often put into dangerous situations with little to no backup, asked to perform miracles without the appropriate training, and put our own needs and the needs of our families on hold for clients.
But guess what?
I got a new job!!
As I’m writing this, I’m in my third week at a new job that is frankly a whole new world.
Before, I was working for a religious non-profit. For the most part, the religious stuff didn’t get in the way, but there were certainly some things that I wasn’t “allowed” to do because of the agency’s beliefs. And well, it was never real comfortable working for a religious agency who at any time could legally fire me based on my sexual preferences. Now, I work for a school district so there isn’t any religious stuff hanging over my head. It’s still legal to fire me for sexual preferences but I worry about it a little less now.
Before, I was on call 24/7, now I work 8:30 – 4:30 most days, don’t work weekends, don’t work holidays, and am not expected to answer my phone in non-traditional hours. Before, the focus was always on Utilization (aka how many families we could serve each month and keep our numbers up), now the focus is quality of service. Numbers are still important here, but so are the workers.
At my old job, eight case workers shared four desks, had no storage place in the office for things, and our office was the size of a medium bathroom. Here, I have my own desk, my own bookshelf, my own filing cabinet, and four workers share an old elementary school classroom. (We even have the little in-room bathroom, but we don’t use it. LOL)
I’ve had so much training in the past few weeks, that I feel like I’m back in college again (which I love… I loooove training and learning new things). I’m also learning how much my old job just didn’t do. This job will pay $100 a year for professional memberships and contribute $400 per year to education outside of required training. This job has something called Reflective Supervision which is an opportunity for us to talk about the job with a licensed counselor once a month. In my old job, when I was pretty sure I was suffering from Secondary Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue I was told to “take a long weekend to refresh.” If we talked about professional development in my old job, it was pretty much up to us to figure out how we’d get that training and if it didn’t have to do specifically with the job or wasn’t already offered by the State, there was no chance the agency was going to put any money into it. Now, I’m learning about Infant Mental Health which is fascinating, and about how I could get an endorsement in it too!
I honestly can’t explain how different this job is and how much stress has been lifted from my shoulders. Granted, I don’t have any clients yet and won’t for a while because I can’t get into my first big training until January, but just the environment alone is amazingly different. I already feel like I’m part of the team, I feel valued, and I feel like I’m in the right place. Oh and well there’s the pay… The money I was making while being expected to basically have my job be my main focus in life was ridiculous. I’m getting paid so much more a year to still help families, still do home visiting, but not be on call, not work nights, weekends, and holidays, and have actual structure and guidance to what I’m doing. The mileage reimbursement over the past seven years ranged from 28 cents per mile to 41 cents per mile depending on gas prices. Here, we go by the federal rate which is currently 57 cents per mile.
I’m still getting used to things, obviously. My body hasn’t had to work a normal work schedule in a long time, and it’s fighting me for sure. My tendonitis is like “Let’s flare up every single tendon right now! That’ll be awesome! Woo!”
I’m learning to walk away from my phone when I’m not working. I literally used to have to take my phone with me throughout the house at all times because I had a certain amount of time in which to respond to clients. If I were at a movie, I had to put my screen on super dark and turn off the sound so that if I got a call or text I could still check it without disturbing anyone. Last Thursday I went to see the last Hunger Games movie and put my phone on Airplane Mode. It was amazing! Oh and there’s this super cool thing called Google Voice! OMG… I now have a separate phone number that I can give to clients that will ring on my cell phone.
So yeah, I’m pretty damn thankful right now. J Thankful for this job, and this new opportunity to do what I love to do (help children and families) without it totally sucking my soul away day by day. I’m thankful for the friends and family members who didn’t give up on me like so, so, so many others did. Those who didn’t assume that because I had one awful job in social work that I just needed to quit social work all together. Those who didn’t condemn me when I was totally burnt out and wasn’t able to just “put on a happy face” and think my way into happiness.
Thankful for the opportunity to get back to what I feel the real me is. I wasn’t myself when I was in my other job. I knew it, and hated it, but there was also really not much I could do about it. A lot of people didn’t, and still don’t, understand how a job could reach in and take over my life. I got a lot of “if you hate it so much, just leave” comments. I don’t know about you, but I have bills to pay. I also didn’t necessarily want to just give up on my field of study, although I was very close to doing so. But now, I don’t have to. :)
I’m sure that once I get into the actual job and have a bunch of families to see every week I’ll be overwhelmed and it’ll take some getting used to. But I’m so thankful to be in a new environment! Plus my age group with this job is 0 – 5 but most of our clients are 0 – 3. Babies!!
So yeah, lots to be thankful for this Turkey Day in addition to all of the regular stuff like my awesome family, friends, and blog readers!
Have a wonderful holiday, if you celebrate, and if you don’t celebrate, just have a great day!! :)
Don’t forget to check out what the other girls are thankful for this year. :)