Amy’s Life in Brief

New graduates….
June 27, 2008, 3:47 am
Filed under: employment search, job, MSW, social work | Tags: , ,

We recently interviewed a new graduate for the open in-patient social worker position.  It was an interesting experience and made me thin back to what I may have been like (or maybe not, I don’t know) ten years ago when I just finished my MSW and was searching my first job.  This person, on the surface, was very likeable and pleasant.  But, something just wasn’t sitting quite right.  She had absolutely great experience from some really wonderful internships.  She could probably do the job.  So, what’s the problem?

It’s hard to pin down…it almost seemed like an ego thing.  Granted, when you go into an interview you’re not supposed to downplay your talents and strengths…I realize that.  But, it almost seemed that when we would point something out, more as an explanation of the type of work she would be doing in this particular setting, she would immediately say something to the effect of, “Thanks for your input but I’m different.”  Maybe she was getting the wrong message.  This particular position is 32 hour/week position. She was wanting to work a full 40 hours.  We all basically said that it is such an emotionally taxing job that 40 hours is just too much and would set a person up for burn out.  Her response was, “Well, I’m a person that doesn’t really hold onto stuff and I set clear boundaries, so I really don’t think that will be a problem.”  There were a few other points that had similar responses.

Another issue was the way she started her interview.  Instead of waiting for us to explain the position and asking a few questions, she immediately started out by saying, “OK, I just want to start out with a few things.” and then immediately went over her whole resume and how each experience would translate into this particular job.  She hadn’t even really heard our explanation of the position.

So, as I think about it, I’m wondering is this because of inexperience in the social work field or because of an personality issue?  Or maybe both? I think we will ask her back for a second interview when a couple of the other social workers will be available to interview her.  We’ll see what their impressions are.


Education and learning styles…
June 16, 2008, 1:30 am
Filed under: birthday, educational setting, mom | Tags: , ,

I took the G to the neighbor boy’s birthday party the other day.  It was an interesting experience for me.  The neighbor boy attends the local Montessori school.  I have no problem with Montessori, per se.  I just don’t think I would mesh well as a parent with that framework and I don’t think that the G would either.  I guess I’m of the opinion that no one educational style is the be-all and end-all for every child.  I kind of go with the flow and if I think something isn’t working for the G (and the D in the future) I communicate with the teacher.  That has always been adequate in getting his needs met.  However, if we find ourselves in a situation where his needs aren’t getting met and I don’t see a way for them to be met in the given situation we will investigate other option.  Anyway, I digress.

The situation at the birthday party was very interesting.  The G was the only child that wasn’t from the Montessori school.  I listened to many of the parents talking and all they seemed to be talking about was why they chose Montessori for their child.  The reason this seemed so fascinating to me is that I would have thought, given that this is the end of the school year, this would have been a subject that they all would have had ample opportunity to discuss at pick-up and drop-off and other events at the school.  But, maybe the nature of Montessori doesn’t allow time for parents to socialize during these times at school?  And maybe because they have sort of “opted out” of the traditional school system they are always bonding with other Montessori parents whenever there is a gathering?  I just found it interesting because I don’t think that I’ve ever had much more than one conversation about our educational choices with my mom friends from preschool and elsewhere.  The main topic of educational choices has been surrounding full- versus half-day kindergarten.

There was one mother that was telling me how she could always tell a non-Montessori child.  I am not sure what she was noticing in the G as far as the difference.  Looking over this group of about 12 children, I saw a very average group of kids.  There were the shy kids, the kids who were kind of bossy, the other kids just doing their own thing, the kids who made quick friends with the new kids, kids who listened to their parents and kids who didn’t.  There were also kids who got tired and threw fits, kids who didn’t get their way and threw fits, and kids who didn’t throw fits at all over the course of the three hours.  So, like I said, I didn’t see any major differences.  This will sound catty of me, I’m sure, but maybe she was reaching for some way of justifying the huge amount of tuition they pay.  I believe the Montessori school in our city charges approximately $4500 a year for a half-day program.

I wonder if the situation would have been the same if it was a group of families from the Waldorf school or the local Christian school?  I’m just wondering.  In my humble opinion, I think most of the differences you see among children has little to do with their educational setting and more to do with their home setting anyway.

How does a social worker judge a bad day?
June 12, 2008, 1:41 am
Filed under: job, MSW, social work | Tags: ,

So, I got home from work today and told my husband that I really needed some time to decompress.  He asked, “Did you have a bad day at work?”  It’s hard to explain that I actually felt like I had a pretty productive day so it was the same kind of “bad” as he is thinking of.  I was carrying a caseload with a person on a 72 hour hold, a new mom that tested positive for meth, another pregnant person at risk for miscarriage, a family trying to come to terms with the fact that their mother probably has some form of dementia, and other assorted problems that were of varying degrees of severity.

So, that’s a lot to deal with and then the fact that I’m not going to be working tomorrow is the reason I really need to have some time to decompress.  Having to let go and let things taking their course while I’m gone is difficult.  And needing to be present for my children tomorrow is very important.  So, I’m taking some time to decompress so that I can enjoy my day with my boys.  I need to be able to focus on them and not have my mind at work wondering what is going on with my caseload while I’m gone. 

Dealing with feelings professionally…

I had mentioned a case I was dealing with an elderly gentleman earlier.  The case has ended very tragically.  I can’t say specifically how or why because if I give too many details, it wouldn’t take much for people in this state to know what I’m talking about.  It was shocking to learn that my gut feeling was so very right…and I’m so very sad for the family involved.

This is where maintaining patient confidentiality makes it difficult to deal with feelings that come up in my professional life. It would be nice to have more time to talk about my feelings regarding this case and to be able to talk about it in specific terms, however to do so would violate the patient and his family’s confidentiality, so I must remain quiet.  I have discussed the case briefly with my co-workers, but with the case loads we all carry it doesn’t allow for a lot of time to go over situations like this.  At this point, because I’ve been with my employer for such a short time, I don’t have scheduled clinical, professional supervision set up yet.  Apparently it will be available to me at some point.  I guess I could always arrange for my own.

This development had put me a bit off-kilter this week and has me thinking how other people deal with things like this.  Do most people just have regular clinical supervision??  Something to think about.

I’m not sure how people do it!!
June 2, 2008, 1:24 am
Filed under: charity crafting, husbands, job, postcrossing, worries | Tags: , ,

Or maybe I’m just trying to hold onto too many activities while I’m working pretty much full time right now.  There are so many things that I’m used to being able to do…my postcrossing stuff, charity knitting, writing, journaling, etc.  And then there are the things that I HAVE to do…like the dishes, laundry, cooking meals, etc.  I haven’t been able to get to everything mainly because I haven’t wanted to give up time with the kids, since I’ve been seeing them less.  I’ve been feeling very irritable this past week because I just haven’t been able to get to everything I want to.  I just keep telling myself that the situation is only temporary, but it has still been hard.

And I’ve been asking myself, “How do moms, whose permanent situation is working full-time, get anything done?”  I just don’t know… obviously something have to give.  If I knew that I would be working full-time on a permanent basis, given our two-income status, the first thing I would do would be to hire a housekeeping service.  That in itself would be a huge freer of time.  I would probably also go to Dream Dinners and make up several meals there.  In fact, I’ve been considering that, but with Aaron’s diabetes, I’m not sure how those meals would stack up nutrition-wise to cooking from scratch.  Not very well, I would imagine.

It would help if Aaron would get in gear a little more with helping out around the house. It has gotten better over the past few weeks, so maybe by July or so, things will be more equitable.  Although, given past history, once I am less irritable his helpfulness will also start to wane.  Oh well…I guess that’s just the ebb and flow of a relationship.