Thursday, June 11, 2009

Turning the tables

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for me to be a client. For the purposes of this this post I don't mean this in the sense of imagining very deeply what's it like to come from an abusive or difficult background -- that belongs in another post and thinking about all that pain can be overwhelming if you don't partially distance yourself from it.

I'm more specifically talking about a person asking for help and working his way through a social service agency. To walk through the door and ask for help. What does a potential client see when he comes in to our agency? What's he thinking about? You have people coming in with tangible requests. They have in mind the purpose of asking for rental assistance or asking to sign up to join our soup kitchen program. Straightforward request. But not everyone comes in with something tangible, some of them hear from a friend they should come to us. I think a lot about people who go through social services as part of their life, something they've done from a young age, maybe first through the public aid office, social security office, a type of bureaucracy that's part of their lives.

I even wonder sometimes if we could get mystery clients, on the play of mystery shoppers, people checking various soc service agencies for the quality of service.

I wonder what it feels like to navigate the system.

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