Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Don't Stay for the Clients

A coworker of mine described her job today to someone like this: "I walk along the journey with [my clients]." I loved the idea behind her words. It made me think of an incident that took place around six months ago.

I was riding on the bus with a coworker she turned to me and asked how long I think I would stay at the agency. I answered that I'd want to stick around for a couple more years if possible. I liked the coworkers, the atmosphere, the work. But I chose to start talking about the clients and that I felt they needed me.  "Don't stay for your clients," my coworker said. "Your clients don't need you. They'll be fine without you," she admonished me with a tone that sounded a bit cruel. 

I thought about her words later, and while I agreed with her, I admit it took me several months to truly accept them. Clients would be fine without me as well they absolutely should. Connections have been made and relationships developed but they'll be made again. High turnover is likely not ideal in sensitive situations where vulnerable population is concerned but what's particularly ideal is that folks who come to the case management job do it more than for the sake of having a job, that they're ready to teach, learn, collaborate, be patient, have an open mind. All things that can be learned. Latter is something I try and work on every day.

Also see Hello, I'm Your Case Manager and I'll be Your Superhero Today

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