Gosh it's great to be back at work! (I'm trying to be upbeat about the end of my vacation.) I've missed getting up before dawn, sitting in a stifling hot office all day, and then driving back home in the dark. Really, I have!
My coworker Linda likens our job at social services to that episode of "I Love Lucy" where she and Ethel are working in the chocolate factory. Remember that one? They can't keep up with the candies as they make their way down the conveyor belt so the girls start popping the chocolates in their mouths...? Our job is something like that, but instead of chocolates, it's paperwork. An endless stream of casefiles of families needing help. If you spend too much time with one client or get too involved with a particular case (or take a few days off!) the work backs up even worse than usual. There are a lot of people looking for help and good management of my caseload is something that has escaped me lately.
I think of it like putting out fires. Where are the hottest flames and the most smoke? Who sends out the loudest alarm? Have other departments been called in for mutual aid? You get the idea.
Where I run into trouble is being objective about how to spend my time. I suppose I should work first on the case that has been on my desk the longest, and in a good month that's what I'll do, but there's often a contradiction in the work I want to do and the work that should be done. Between deserving and needing.
After spending most of this morning returning ridiculous *urgent* phone calls about overdue paperwork, I tried to get some of the really urgent cases off my desk. The family of illegal aliens whose wife and mother was killed in a car wreck last month, the kids ending up in intensive care and none had medical insurance. The teenager who just *discovered* she's pregnant at six months and hasn't had any prenatal care. The eldery lady who can't afford her medicine and pay her rent. In the midst of these real emergencies, the fire I had to put out was that of the single mother who let her (free, on you and me) insurance coverage lapse because she couldn't be bothered to send back the paperwork. She yelled the loudest today. She and her kids need the help, but are they deserving of my time, before the others? You see why I have a problem.
In case you're interested, the fire pic was taken from my front stoop last May. An old farmhouse across the street burned down while the neighborhood stood and watched. It took the fire department forever to get water on it.
3 days ago