Social work … survived?

So, it’s t-minus 12 days until my last day at the department. Then, after a few days off, on Feb 16, I’ll start my new position at the Fred Hutch/NCI’s Cancer Information Service, working as a Cancer Information Specialist. The two jobs are pretty different. The biggest difference is that I won’t be doing any case management. I won’t have ongoing clients. It won’t matter if the person I am talking to is a lying crack addict (I’m sure it will matter to someone … but just not to me). While I don’t expect that the new job won’t be without its share of frustrating/ridiculous/stressful moments, in general, I don’t think it will be anywhere as emotionally draining. Not having to carry a caseload is like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

Now, as Brad asked in a comment on an earlier post, will I need to change the name of my blog? Technically, the name of the blog is “Life and Other Miracles,” Brad, not “Surviving Social Work,” but the answer in any case is: No. At the end of the day, even though I’m doing something very different from what I do now, it’s still social work. Ultimately, it’s still providing resources, referrals, and support to people who are in need of one or all of those things. Plus, I think ultimately I’ll go back to case management someday – though probably not for the state.

All in all, I am ridiculously excited about the change (which, by the by, is costing me around $3000, plus the inevitable pay cut. I still owe three months on my indentured servitude – which is, in many ways, total bullshit, but that’s another story for another day) and can’t wait for the 16th to get here. I’m really looking forward to learning about an entirely new field, meeting new people, and never having to say, “Children’s Services, this is Kate,” again. Also, I get to work with one of my really good friends, Coralea (who had a hand in getting me this job – as in, she walked my resumé to the HR person and put in a good word. Thanks Coralea!), which is going to be great. It appears that we will be sharing an office, unless something changes between now and the 16th, so we’ll have lots of time to compare Farmville notes, discuss the Storm season, and, uh, work.

So, no more stories about crazy parents or wacky courtroom antics. No more listening to a bunch of a hooey about how a person had a positive drug screen because of the booze in the Christmas prime rib (this is true – although, it wasn’t one of my clients who said it). No more relatives calling to complain about every little single mis-step their daughter/sister/cousin/etc. makes during visits. No more filing. No more court reports. Oh bliss.

I will add though that my time with the department and Family Treatment Court has been pretty invaluable to me professionally. I can deal with anything after this. It’s improved my people skills, my instincts, my patience, my ability to see through the bullshit, my confidence in my own abilities, and provided me with not a few happy endings. Leaving this job, I can think of three kids, at least, whose lives are better, in some part, because of me. And that’s pretty amazing.

So, goodbye, DCFS. Can’t say that I’ll miss you (though I will miss my coworkers), but it’s sure been a helluva ride.


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