Thursday, June 25, 2009

Odd/Uncomfortable Moments with Clients (2)

I look a bit younger than my 28 years and perhaps because of this clients have asked me on occasion how old I am. Better yet a couple have thrown me off by how casually they have brought it up. “My food stamps stopped and I don’t know why. So are you in your twenties or what?” Of course we can’t share personal information. I usually demure and say, “Old enough to do this job,” or “Let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about you.” A similarly uncomfortable question to hear is “Are you married?”

A middle aged client offered to take me out for coffee. When I told him case managers and clients need to keep a professional relationship he said, “That’s OK, we’ll sit in the back.”

Occasionally clients will ask me to use my computer which I suppose in itself isn’t the oddest request I’ve gotten. During one appointment, one client asked to use it and I told her this wasn’t possible. After 15 minutes she casually mentioned “Since I have pink eye I can’t—“ At this moment I mentally recorded each and every item she had touched up until that point and until the end of our appointment so I could disinfect them later.

A gentleman was meeting with me and told me that he believed his food was tampered with because he didn’t feel well. He then showed me a sample. Not of the food (but thankfully in a closed container).

One woman once left a message on my answering machine offering to sing at a meal at our soup kitchen. She offered to audition and sang an entire rendition of If I Had a Hammer. I'm fitting this snippet here though I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Also see my first post about this and my third post about this


antiSWer said...

Is it part of your organization's policy to not divulge your age or marital status?

I find that kind of odd. I mean, sure, don't make it all about you, but some disclosure is okay.

Anatolia said...

It is part of my agency's policy. But I do talk a bit of myself, like my background. But not age or marital status. I thought that not sharing that info was the norm.

antiSWer said...

Well, there is some personal information that I probably wouldn't divulge, but something so basic as age or marital status seems trivial. It's like not giving your name.

I can see not wanting to talk about your relationship in detail, or what's been bothering you this past week. IMO, the reason that kind of understanding is in place is to make sure the focus is on the client. However, if a little disclosure will help solidify the relationship, it's a damn good thing. :)