When You Feel Like a Shitty Social Worker – Remember…

We’ve all been there. The sleepless nights, the days without lunch, the feeling of not being able to breathe because you are so busy. We are society’s conscious. We are loved, hated and responsible for the parts of community many others do not acknowledge.

When you are having one of those rough social worker days…You know, the ones where you just want to raise your hands and be done with it all and sell ice cream or flowers instead. Those days where you feel like your’e not making a difference. Remember this…

When you feel like a shitty social worker, because you’re behind on your case notes, recordings and meeting the Ministry standards…

Remember you’re not the only social worker who is. remember that you being behind, has nothing to do with your work ethic, and everything to do with a systemic problem much larger than you. A problem which involves not having enough social workers to do all that we do. You’re not the only one…you’re not a shitty social worker.

When you feel like a shitty social worker, because you had three clients yell at you in a day…

Remember that their anger or frustration is not directed to you personally, although sometimes it may feel like it. Their frustration and anger is directed at a system they feel trapped by, down wrong by, lost in, abandoned by. It is not you, the worker they are angry with. It is the you, that represents the agency they have negative feelings towards. You’re not the only one…you’re not a shitty social worker.

When you feel like a shitty social worker, because you have to put boundaries around the work you do and how far you will go to service a client…

Remember that while flexibility and understanding is an important part of what we do. Many of the clients we work with, may struggle with boundaries, guidelines and expectations as a result of their past. If they express frustration or anger towards you for setting boundaries, in some cases you need to expect this. If they have never been taught what a boundary is, how would they know how to react to it? As a social worker, part of our role is to be a positive example and model to our clients. If we never set boundaries, we are not doing our part in modelling this societal expectation which will be present throughout their lives. Another impact of not practicing boundaries is it’s effect on you. Sometimes, you will need to choose between the lesser of two evils – meet your needs, or your clients needs. And that’s OK. Because in order to be your best self for your clients, sometimes you need to take care of you.

You’re not the only one…you’re not a shitty social worker.

When you feel like a shitty social worker, because your frustrated with a files outcome. You can see what is going to happen, and no matter how many hours of over time or how many tears or sleepless nights you put into it, the positive outcome you had hoped for, is not a foreseeable future…

Remember that you are not the saviour of everyones suffering. You, my dear, are one person in this very large world of complex human beings. You cannot own the decisions others make. All you can do, is offer options, resources and support when they are ready to accept it. No one knows why certain things happen, to certain people. And you are not the individual to have the answers to that question either. There are times, where you may feel hopeless and heartbroken, and those are the times that you need to believe in something bigger than you.

You’re not the only one…you’re not a shitty social worker.

When you’re frustrated by the system because you see the gaps in service and the effect it has on the lives of the clients you work with and you feel that the system will always be broken, no matter how many times it is fixed. And you want to stand on top of a mountain and yell and scream that something should be done and you are overwhlemed by the feeling of only being one person in a very large and complex giant system…

Remember to bring yourself back down to a micro level, and focus on the lives and families you are impacting in a positive way. Look back at Thank You e-mails, cards and remember the times you made a difference to a client. You may not be able to change the system, but you can be the best social worker you can be within the system. Talk to your co-workers and have a safe place outside of work to let out everything you hold inside.

Now, breathe.

Turn off your computer and put away your work.

And know…

Your’e not the only one.

Your’e not a shitty social worker.

 

 

 

Photo link: http://www.mycity-web.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/o-WORK-STRESS-facebook.jpg

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