Six months in and I cannot save the world and I have to be okay with that.
This has been going through my mind this week.
Yesterday (4/8) was my six month anniversary since I started working with Centerstone. I was told on my first day that “time doesn’t exist here”. I thought this was a joke. Now, I know how true that statement was. The past six months have been a blur.
Centerstone, in the short time I have been with them, has taught me many invaluable lessons. One of which I shared at the beginning of this blog.
You are taught in college that you may have that “ I can change the world attitude” but you can’t keep it for long. Otherwise burnout can happen.
I think it’s a lesson we all learn. I also think it’s very normal to have that belief. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten into the field of Social Work. We just learn to rein it in.
I am still very optimist about every client I have but also understand that I cannot make happen what they won’t allow to happen.
Some other lessons I have learned are:
You can provide all the education, support, and resources to someone. Until they decide for themselves its time. It isn’t time. I dealt with that lesson last week. I doubt its one you ever really get used to.
The toughest lesson I have learned is sometimes your best just isn’t good enough. Sometimes you can do everything right. You do what you are supposed to do and there still isn’t a winner. You can only do so much. There are times when all you can say is “I’ve done all I can do”.
It never feels good.
A side effect of my job was learning how to deliver bad news. It’s never comfortable. But it has to be done. Especially, when you are the person providing that sliver of hope. There have been times when I’m on resource number three and another one has fallen through. You just plow through and provide support and encouragement. You let the client know you haven’t given up and neither should they.
I’ve dealt with the death of a client. It was a suicide. I had been working with this client for many months. As always, it was a total surprise and difficult to deal with.
This wasn’t meant to sound glum. I’m afraid it teeters on depressing. I hope that’s not what is taken away from this blog.
At times, my job is emotionally draining. At times, I feel as if I am making no difference. And then a client obtains a safe place to live, or a client decides to seek treatment for addictions, or a client you have been assisting tirelessly to find funding for a medical issue is accepted into the program.
The silver linings are there my friends. They are rewarding. They reinforce that “ I can change the world attitude”. Hold tight to it. You just might!
I know I have made the right career decision. I cannot tell you where I will be in ten years or even twenty years but I know it will be striving toward making the world a better place.
I believe social work is what will do that.
This in itself is humbling.