Good afternoon. Hard to believe it's Sunday already...another workweek right around the corner. I've got a week's worth of ironing done, my hair washed, nails done, and am ready to go...physically, that is. Emotionally it's "Oh, no, I don't want to go." It's really awful to go through this week after week after week, but, my hands are tied. Hubby starts his new job tomorrow, and he is so excited. Whatever happened to me?
I "chose" this job. This is all I wanted to do, and it's all I still want to do. I thought about it all morning. What is really bothering me? I love the clients. I've never been in it for the money. Heck, if it were money I were after, I'd sure have chosen another career. It's the success stories that make it all worth it. To see a client obtain their GED, or got back to college. To place a client in an internship and see him later get hired...the first 'real' job he has ever had. To see those women who are reunited with their children....to finally have your own aparent...heck, to have a roof over your head after spending years on the streets. These are the things that make it worth it. These are the things you remember...not what you bought wiith your last paycheck.
I realized this morning that what has me so disgruntled is that I am not seeing this so often anymore...at least not on a regular basis...and us counselors and the clients are not to fault on this. The heirarchy is. Many of our clients come from what is called the Reception Center of our program. This is a shelter like transitional housing program where clients stay while case managers search for something more permanent. Problem here is, the Department of Mental Health has decided that 'everyone' there has to be on social security...and while they are there...which could be a year...they cannot go to school, look for a job, etc. So, what happens in that time? Clients who have always worked for a living become complacent. In the beginning, many want to work, but are told that they can't. They are receiving anywhere's up to $1700 a month from S.S. disability. They receive almost $200 in food stamps. They have breakfast and lunch at our program...at which they receive free metrocards even though it is walking distance to where they live...and when they do find an apartment, it only costs them 30 percent of their check. So, do you see what I mean? All incentive to return to work has been taken away. For the life of me, I do not understand this. Now, please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against social security disability and some do 'really' need it, but what I can't understand is when you take someone, a healthy person, no mental illness, who has worked right up until the point where they hit their bottom due to drug use.
Part of recovery is learning responsibility. In the above example, that is being taken away from these clients, but in my program, we are being hampered in still another way. Management has made our clients feel that they can basically do whatever they want. For example, scheduling. When I meet someone for intake, I provide them with a schedule which includes their group times and the times they meet with me for individual session. However, management likes an open-door policy. What this means is, that let's say I schedule a client for 10 am, and he shows up at 12 pm, two hours late, I am still supposed to see him...week after week. Used to be that we would be allowed to send them on their way, unseen, unless they had a darned good excuse...but that's all in the past...and clients know this. And, if I refuse, immediately they go to see our superviser who, with their open door policy, gives them an individual session. What gives? Clients can come to attend a group 30 minutes late, but are told if they are late, they should ask to meet with a counselor...and that counselor is expected to drop whatever they are doing and meet with the client...even if it's not their client.
Unbelievable, huh? Last Tuesday I had an intake scheduled for 12 pm. He showed up about 2pm just as I was getting my lunch. His excuse? He overslept. He 'overslept' and missed at 12pm appointment? What time do you get up, anyways? Well, I told him I would re-schedule. My clinical superviser was there, and she pulled me to the side and asked me to meet with him just to do the mini-mental and give him a schedule. I refused and told her, write me up if you have to, but if I see him today, two hours late for his first appointment, I am setting a precedence for him to be late whenever he feels like it. If he had a job interview, he most certainly wouldn't be able to oversleep. Well, she didn't write me up, but she did take the client in and do the mini-mental herself. Now, he knows that he CAN be late and that he WILL be seen whatever time he arrives. No responsibility being taught there.
OMG!!! Look at how I have ranted. And I've still more tales to tell, but I've taken up enough of your time. Oh, I am so sorry about this. Never meant to carry on this much. Frustration just got the best of me. And please, when I spoke of social security, I do know that some do need it. I am not condemning those who receive; I am condemning a system that literally forces it on people.
Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest.