Friday, May 27, 2011

A Small Work-Related Rant

Morning from hell. I don't think I'll ever feel like I do my job right some days.

I was trying to get a kid out of where they did not belong this morning because no one had stopped her from going in there, and someone else swooped in and babied her and got her to move. Completely defeated the purpose of how I was handling her and made me feel like an ass in front of new line staff... The question in the back of my mind is: how are they going to handle a situation like this? I talked to them later (the swooping-in staff) and they apologized, but in my head the damage was done. (I was a supervisor and they were line staff.)

The kid wrapped their arm around the arm of the swooping staff and walked out of the room - as they were doing this, the kid stuck their tongue out at me. Obviously the kid knew what the heck they were doing and were just having an issue for the sake of being combative. I immediately said to the staff, "I need to talk to you," so I think the message may have gotten across to new staff there that something was amiss but I hate feeling like the situation was undercut. That paticular kid always gets coddled (even I have been guilty of it!!!) and it's exactly why she does whatever she wants - becauase she knows that we will bend and play to get her to do what needs to be done.

The kid called me a bitch for the rest of my shift and was obstinate when she should have understood that her behavior was unacceptable. Instead of targeting me, I feel that she should have gotten it clear as day that it isn't okay to just do whatever the heck she feels like doing. Now I just look like a bad guy.

Don't get me wrong - I don't care if they're mad at me over me doing my job. I've been told that if they don't call you a bitch then you're not doing your job right. I just wish I'd had backup instead of a swoop-in.

I told the replacing supervisor that this playing around to get her to cooperate has to stop because it's reinforcing nothing at all.

I talked with another staff member after the fact, one who works on the school part of the facility, and they said that the school staff call this kid out on bad behaviors, and it helps - that all playing around does is reinforce the bad behaviors.

The worst part for me is that whole thing made me feel like an asshole.

The staff who'd stepped in said well if she is classified DD then maybe playing is what the kid needs to cooperate. I said that's no way to live, to never learn and to always have everything played up to her. That isn't functional - it's a quick fix. Besides. Even low-functioning people can understand the difference between right and wrong. At this point, it's just manipulation on the part of the kid.

My concern is the kid will think that people are toys. That she will experience a loss of respect for others and especially for rules and structure - some of the goals of our specific program.

I just feel like I can't do my job or that I am not doing it right because it's not "what gets it done right now." I have had standoffs with this kid before and those issues do not arise again when I am on shift. I am worried that these issues will arise again and I will have to regain footing that I didn't even have in the first place.

A different staff I was talking to did say, when I expressed concerns over how I do my job, "I have seen you 'in action' and believe me you are very good at your job. To the point that I am impressed." I just wish I knew what it meant anymore, to be good at it. I do try to keep order and to make the kids feel appreciated. I know I did really well with another kid this morning but... Sometimes things are not consistent. That make things difficult.

It's not like we are folding t-shirts. These are people, guys. And we have limited time to fix things - or to help them fix things! - because they can age out of the program.

The kids from time to time complain of feeling like people who work there, by and large, don't care. That --- I was going to say "frustrates," but I think it mostly makes me hurt, for them.

That is a hard thing to admit.

I know that a lot of the staff - including the one from the situation this morning - care a lot about the kids. But it's also true that to some people, it's just a job for a job or a stepping stone on a resume. The hardest part is reconciliation of the people who care, with situations in which I don't agree with the approach. Am I then, I wonder, doing my job right? Then that would mean others are not. Or is it just differing styles? I wish I knew. That bothers me a lot. I don't want to think I am doing my job "right" or doing it "well" if it implies others are not.

Healthcare, or working with other people in hopes of helping them, is a very difficult field to be in.

But over all of this, perhaps the greatest irony is: I love my job.