Sunday, December 5, 2010

Worrying about Clients Outside Work

My good friend's dad used to work as a social worker for people experiencing homelessness. Frequently he would stay up worrying about how they were doing. I've gotten much better about boundaries since my early days as a bright eyed and bushy tailed case manager (looks at my three year old tail now) but I still catch myself sometimes thinking about a few clients while I'm at home. Most of my clients are also housed so while I'm not thinking about whether they found shelter for the night I think about other issues they're dealing with. What did they end up doing for the holiday? Did Charles follow up on paying the backrent like they told me they would? Should I call Teresa on Tuesday to remind her to go to the doctor's appointment or will she remember? It was so hard to get that referral and if she misses that appointment it'll be another month before she can be seen.

Some weekends I'm able to put aside work completely, but other times specific cases filter into my mind. And then I think about what I need to do the next week, even start troubleshooting what I would do if a client didn't follow up with the doctor / my client would be denied financial assistance by the state program she applied for. I also haven't heard from John in a while -- how is he doing?

A friend of mine gave me good advice when I'm starting a mental loop of what-else-should-I-be-thinking (worrying about getting done)-about workthought: Write everything I need to get done at work so I have a list ready for the next day. Which sometimes helps. In fact, I think I'm gonna go do that now.

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