Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Work Pet Peeve

One of my client annoyances is when clients stop me in the lobby as I'm walking in in the morning or as I'm leaving at the end of the day. Specifically when I'm barely through the door and a client comes up to ask me for a transportation card or hygiene items or alternatively, and sometimes before me saying anything, embarks on a detailed monologue about an issue she's dealing with. Of course I'm not talking emergency situation monologue.
It no longer surprises me the detail people go into when talking about their personal concerns in front of other strangers. It's like during a budgeting workshop a client starts mentions casually how much money she gets each month from social security.
When I leave the agency (which is usually about half an hour after our agency is closed for clients/case manager appointments), I tread through the lobby and my brain has started to mentally close from work. At these moments interruptions that don't fall under category of 'goodbye' or 'let's make an appointment' mean that a client wants to have a longer conversation with me. And I'm already halfway to being in walking home mode. So, yes, I redirect my client but I still wish secretly I had a back door to leave the building from.
Perhaps I should try wearing huge sunglasses and changing my walk when I do my entrances and exists in and out of the building. Or get into my office through the window... Hmm... Not first floor though.


Gord Cummings RSW said...

I don't think this is going to change, so I think you should consider why these people you are working with don't consider your needs. It's likely because they don't know the usual social cues we think are innate, and as a result come off as uncaring to our needs. But then, in the face of what we do, do our needs really matter to them? Should they matter?

Anatolia said...

I do agree with you in that I don't think our needs should matter to our clients in the sense that *we* need as providers to set boundaries. It's our responsibility.