April 18, 2012

Maybe I Should Write A Book

I have been told on numerous occasions by various people that when my tenure in the non-profit/human service world is complete that I should write a book about my experiences and all the crazy stories that come along with it.  Well after today I think I can safely say that I would be able to not only write a book but also live comfortably off the royalties.  (Maybe I should get my sister Johanna to ghost write it for me ... if y'all don't know she is sort of a big deal in the fan fiction world and I am counting on her future best sellers to buy my mother a beach house because god knows my human service salary never will.)  Most days at the office typically produce at least one decent story to write home about, but today there were at least three absolutely ridiculous situations before lunch!

Now don't get me wrong, I love my job, my field of work and most of the time the clients I work with.  I enjoy that my job is social work without being 'social worky'.  I do career and workforce development which in the end strives to help people become employed and get their lives back on track but it lacks a lot of the 'touchy feely' hand holding that often accompanies 'typical' social work.  I have a lot of what I like to call - CTJMs with clients ... Come To Jesus Meetings, which have nothing to do with religion but is more or less a 'get your ass in gear or get out of my office' type of meeting; I will work my butt off for you but I WILL NOT do it for you.  I also believe that doing this type of work, career development, as opposed to straight MSW work will reduce my likelihood of burnout in the long run.

It is great when I get to share stories of my clients succeeding but lets be honest - the majority of the stories I come home with are nuts, but I just chalk it up to more material for my book.  At NPCS we used to say that the social work interns would probably learn more about social work by sitting in the vestibule (lobby) of the agency and observing clients than they would in class.  So today ... there was the co-worker who handcuffed himself to his desk chair in protest, to make a statement that he was a 'slave to the office' (Over worked and underpaid?  I think so.)  Then there was the member who asked (in all seriousness) if it was possible to use his cat to open a bank account, he even said he would be willing to bring the cat in to 'sign with its paw'.  We calmly and with a straight face explained that we believed the cat would need a social security number in order to open an account.  And we cannot forget the man who introduced himself to me as such ... "Hi, I'm B.J. the name, not the action," followed by a very nice wink.  Those are just a very belief snippet and by far not the 'best' or most outrageous - but it is a preview to the upcoming bestseller!   

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