I literally groaned when I read what this week’s topic was going to be. There is absolutely nothing typical about my day to day life other than my constant dreaming of finding a new job. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I love social work and I love helping people. There are even parts of my current job that I like, but most of the time the job sucks balls.
I’m on call 24/7 unless I take vacation and even then, I usually still get calls from current and prior clients. I use my own cell phone and my own car, I often buy my own supplies, I work non-traditional hours if my clients need me to, and I basically have to be ready at all times to drop whatever I’m doing so that I can help a client with a crisis if they call. If I’m in a movie, I have to keep my cell phone on vibrate and the screen brightness turned down super low so that if it vibrates with a text or call I can sneak it out and see if it’s an emergency or something that can wait. Frankly, it blows. I miss the days of being able to turn my phone on Airplane Mode uring a movie, play, or whenever I simply didn’t feel like being contacted. I never get to turn my phone off.
When it comes to scheduling, I have two meetings a week in which I’m required to be in the office, for the rest of the week I set my schedule around my clients. That part is nice because I like to sleep in and truly appreciate not having to be anywhere most days before 9 AM. Most of my clients aren’t big planners, so I generally don’t know my schedule more than one day before. For example, today (I’m writing this on Monday) I didn’t know until my 3:00 apppointment what time I’d be meeting with my client tomorrow. I can make a doctor appointment for myself without worrying about having to take time off work to go, but I also have to keep in mind that if I miss a visit with a family it still has to be made up and that often means working on the weekend or making my visits extra long to make up the hours.
Then of course there’s the fact that I’m doing social work with families who are in crisis. This means never ever having a set schedule. I may have planned a wonderful fun activity involving markers and stickers to do with the children, but I could easily get to the home and find out that the police are there, a kid got suspended from school, another kid ran away, the dog ate the neighbor’s prize show chicken, someone is suicidal and needs to be taken to the emergency room, the electricity has been shut off, and the family has 24 hours before they’re being evicted from their home. Thankfully, all of those things have never happened all at once, but they’ve all happened. 🙂 Part of social work is simply knowing that you have to think on your feet all the time. If you plan to talk about domestic violence with a client but get to the home and find out that they really need to be educated on improper supervision and appropriate caregivers, then you change your plan. If you plan on a pleasant event outting with the family but then get a call saying that the family is required to be in an emergency court hearing in two hours, you make it happen. If you’re drinking margaritas with friends on the Friday before a holiday weekend and you get a phone call saying that you’re getting a new case and need to go out and see the family that night, you sober up and tell your friends that you’ll see them later (true story).
My evenings are usually spent working on paperwork, another given in the world of social work. I try to keep up with it all, but I definitely struggle. I should be working on case notes right now, to be completely honest. On paper, this job sounds kind of cool. Flexible schedule, work from home when you’re not with clients, help people, no cirriculum to follow… But, yeah, it’s not really that awesome. I’ve been doing it way too long and as much as it pains me to say it, I miss having a set schedule and knowing exactly when my work day is over. I even miss having a desk to sit at every day. Right now I have a laptop and have to “find a flat surface” to use when I’m in the office. I’m not guarenteed a regular desk or even a desk in general. One of the reasons that I haven’t done any creative writing this year is because even when I’m not working I’m thinking about how I should be working. I should be working on that backlog of case notes I need to get done, so if I’m instead writing a smutty short story or fanfic, I feel guilty. There’s never a “5:00” in this job where I feel like I can say, “Work day is over, time for fun!” because there’s always that chance that the work day isn’t done. So essentially, I’m always on alert and it’s exhausting. Plus the pay is shitty.
So there you have it… a day in the life of a social worker who’d rather be knitting, writing, reading, and having babies. 🙂 Check out the blogs of my girls Bronwyn Green, Jessica Jarman, Leigh Jones, Kris Norris and Jenny Trout to see what their typical days look like! Some of them are full time writers and I get to live vicariously through them. 🙂
Happy Hump Day!