Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the never-ending saga of my job

In the place where I work, each staff member is the primary counselor for two or three clients. Both my clients have relapsed in the past two days. One client keeps saying that the program is "just not a good fit." This person insists that they can handle their own recovery better than us. The other person, I found out this morning, cited me personally as a big reason for the relapse. To be fair, there were others as well.

So things aren't going especially hot for me at the moment. After I found out about this morning I was pretty well geared up to quit, actually, before I calmed down. I definitely wasn't up to handling client concerns like I should have been. By the time we have to write all of our summaries at the end of the day, all the details usually blur together in a stressed-out haze.

Part of me wants to rise to this challenge. It tells me that if I stick this out I will be a kick-ass counselor at an earlier age than most and really prepared for just about anything else I encounter.

The other part says that the lack of training and support in this job are not reasonable conditions, and that I have several disadvantages over (under?) other counselors: I lack experience in residential counseling, I'm not naturally extroverted or overtly charismatic, and I'm considerably younger than anyone else. Clients are naturally going to disrespect me, and I have to fight harder than anyone to earn their trust.

I'll say this for myself: I put up a good fight. I've had some pretty deep conversations with clients that weren't opening up, and I lead a damn good discussion group considering how intensely so many of the people don't want to be there. But the truth is, I have to also wonder how much of a liability I am. I don't know the services or agencies nearly as well as almost anyone else, I am constantly tripping up over rules or regulations I didn't know or forgot. This is on top of all the changes as a result of the new temporary program director, who incidentally is simultaneously my boss and my over-boss. The trouble I am having with the job is definitely leaking out into my client interactions, and I have to face the real possibility that I am doing people a disservice by learning the ropes in this program.

Maybe the real reason I am still in this job is because on some level I like the challenge. It's a combination of persistent and masochistic, really, which is odd because I am not either of those things usually. Ah, well, my conversation with my boss tomorrow should determine a lot.

In brighter news: mid-season double-feature of Avatar is on this Friday, and it will kick ass if the previous ones are any indication.

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