I am, really bad…
You see, I’ve been doing this job for a long, long time, off and on for about ten years and frankly, it’s getting a little old. If unfamiliar with crisis work, what I do for a living is I get calls from doctors and police officers in various hospital emergency rooms, or maybe jail corporals at detention centers to come to the scene and speak to the client for the purposes of determining the least restrictive setting where the client will be safe, until they can get follow-up professional help. If at the jail, I might place them on a special watch status which can include suicide gowns and isolation. If at the emergency room, I will determine whether they can go home, can go to a crisis house or go to a behavioral hospital either on a voluntary basis or under an emergency detention called a Chapter 51, where they will be escorted to the hospital by the police in handcuffs.
And truth be told, I’m not very good at making these decisions. I don’t want to go so far as to say that anyone has made a succesful attempt because of the decisions I’ve made, but if they did, I’m certain I wouldn’t have just received the usual bonus for a missed call, I would probably instead be put in charge of the entire Adult Crisis Program.
That may sound like an odd system of rewards, but over the past ten years, social work has largely undergone a transformation from something that was once a total client model to the more black and white corporate model. Sure, the clients are still important, don’t get me wrong, but moreso is the money. Billing, cutting costs, so much of social work today is about billable time and productive, measurable results.
No, I’m not complaining about this. Being as bad at this as I am, it’s probably the only reason I’m still employed.
In fact, the ongoing transition to the corporate model has even improved my career prospects and the many opportunities to receive promotions and raises.
Need another example of how this works?
or, how about this old favorite…
For a long, long time, in the field of social work, traits such as compassion, empathy, client rights, maintaining client focus and making a difference in people’s lives, no matter the cost were how the true worth of a social worker were measured, and in Adult Crisis work, client rights and client safety were preeminent.
That’s why I came close to getting fired, a few times.
The system plays to my strengths, or should I say, lack of them.
Just like the Transocean guys involved with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, or just like Tony Hayward and the destruction of Gulf Coast lives and ecosystem, or just like Ken Feinberg who couldn’t efficiently pay a claim if his life depended on it, or just like our former President who couldn’t even find oil, in Texas, just like all these guys…rather than being fired and left on the streets for my incompetence, the corporatization of social services has got me looking at promotions, bonuses and hell, who knows? If I really screw this up and somebody should die, well, according to the corporate way of doing things not only in the Gulf, but across the country, I could be looking at a promotion to Director of Social Services for the entire state.
It could happen…
Hey, maybe it’s time for some new blood.
I certainly have both eyes on that corporate bottom line, a lackadaisacal work ethic, a solid understanding of corruption navigation and a total lack of concern for the welfare of others which, when you put it all together, might just make me the ultimate envy of every other social worker in my field.
I tell ya, the county I work in better promote me soon because I expect a job offer from Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility any day now. My total amoral response to people in distress is sure to make me quite the draw.
Lord knows, I could certainly use the raise.
Have a nice day.