My Salute to Labor Day

September 7, 2009

In honor of Labor Day, I would like to post a log of my work-related activities on Friday, September 4th. Initially, I was  inspired by the Day Books over at Blue in the Sky.  This log also kind of reads like a transactional analysis. This type of analysis is an educational exercise  in the mental health helping professions in which you outline verbal and physical transactions with your client, your own internal thoughts and feelings and assumptions about the client’s, and an analysis of the quality of your social work practice or questions for your supervisor. I had one supervisor who would make me write a 20-30 page analysis every week based on an hour-long session which I would have to recall from memory. I think that was the single most transformative experience of my social work education. At any rate, my first week at work was basically miserable. Most of the time, I sat in an overly air conditioned room and read client files, or a training manual. Twice, I rode in someone’s car. Other times, I filled out paper work or observed meetings. But basically, I was cold, bored and miserable. I started this log to manage my misery.

I could also mention, on this most political of holidays, that I don’t accrue leave, get health insurance or short term disability until 90 days. I don’t get a 403 B for 6 fucking months. This is all kind of insulting since I consider myself a talented and committed professional, rather than a flight risk to be financially choked until I prove otherwise. Did I mention this agency is a private for- profit? I’ve never worked at one of those before. And finally, I am making 10,000 dollars less to do this job, which has some supervisory responsibilities, than I did three years ago to do the same job without those responsibilities up north. And really finally, I could mention that I am making 16,000 dollars less than at my most recent job. Le sigh.

And now you have.


My Salute.

To Labor Day.

9: 06 – Arrive at County Health Department to confirm that I don’t have TB. I don’t have TB.

9: 38 — Arrive at work. Supervisor’s door is closed as well as business manager’s.

9: 41 – Set up personal computer and log on to Facebook.

9: 42 – Attempt to cajole coworker A, who has worked here for two weeks, to teach me something. She declines.

9: 41 — Ask coworker A what she will be doing next. Confirm that I can watch her when she does what she plans to do next.

9:42 – Give TB certificate to the office manager

9: 43 – Ask coworker A what she is doing right now. She tells me as briefly as possible, but amicably.

9:44 – Coworker A asks me if I know that I can bill for all the charts I have been reading this week. When I say no, she tells me how. I start writing those notes.

10: 02 — Accidentally answer a call from a woman who asks for the worker to whom my work cell phone used to belong. Ask her what agency she is from. She says, “I am a parent”. Am shocked by how well-spoken and professional she sounds. Wonder why a woman with such excellent phone skills is having trouble raising her kids.

10:04 – Call coworkers B and C who the parent is trying to get a hold of and leave messages for them. Call parent back and give her B and C’s phone numbers.

10: 39 — Watch coworker A do what she was going to do, which is meet with her two team members and our supervisor.

11:45 – Supervisor suggests I shadow coworker D or coworker E.

11:46 – Ask coworker D what she is doing today. She asks me why I want to know. Ask coworker E what she is doing today. She is running from me into the bathroom while telling me that she is booked until 9:00pm tonight. I don’t think she understood that I was asking because I wanted to shadow her.

12: 00 – Ask business manager for password to my work cell phone, check voicemail messages, talk to supervisor about who to deliver the messages to, return calls as necessary

12: 15 — Realize that Wife-tastic has the car today and I cannot go to Subway to get my 6 inch Veggie Delight on Honey Oat bread from Subway.

12:16 — Eat grapes. Drink water.

12: 17 — Listen to coworker D make calls. She tentatively schedules for us to meet a family at 5:30 today, today is a Friday. Today is a Friday before a 3 day weekend. I try not to cry.

12: 49 — Tell coworker D that I do, indeed, want to shadow her at 1:30, even though she is meeting an adult client that I wont be working with. She tells me she has to ask coworker F and get back to me. I tell coworker D that I do not have a car today and try to determine a place she can drop me off when we are done meeting the 1:30 client. She does not want to drop me off at the office because her mileage wont be reimbursed. Coworker D avoids questions that would help us identify a drop off location. She tells me she is going out to lunch. I assume she is coming back.

12:50 — I record my voicemail greeting.

12: 51 – Start writing progress notes regarding the charts I’ve been reading all week.

1: 04 – Go into another room to get more progress notes. Introduce myself to coworker G, a cute black butch who I saw at the Department of Social Services yesterday. Wonder why coworker H, who took me to DSS yesterday, didn’t introduce me to coworker G when she stopped to talk to coworker G. Apologize for not introducing myself yesterday and “playfully”tap coworker H, although  I am actually really puzzled and slightly hurt.

1:06 — Create files in my portable file box for my three families. Label each tab with the first three letters of the family’s name and the word “family” in order to emphasis, in word and deed, the family-centered nature of the work that I am sure I will be doing soon. Arrange files in rainbow, not alphabetical, order, since there are only three.

1: 12 — Tell supervisor that I might go out at 1:30 with coworker D and coworker F if coworker F “thinks it’s OK”.

1: 20 — Notice that coworker D hasn’t come back from lunch to get me or called. Call coworker F who says I cant come out with her and coworker D because she hasn’t told her client that this will be happening and client has an anxious-type oriented. Remark gratefully in my head re: the presence of good clinical skills in coworker F. Remark ruefully in my head re: sometimes good clinical skills are a convenient mask for passive aggressive resistance.

1: 30 — Talk with wife. Tell her top pick me up at 4:30.

1:40 — Text coworker D to tell her that I can come to the 5:30 appointment if it happens because I will have independent transport at that time and can get my own self home.

1: 45 – Tell supervisor about how I’m not going out with coworkers D and F. Supervisor suggests she and I meet at 4:00 to talk about team formation because I will be kind of supervising them. Fight back tears since this means I can’t leave until 5:00.

Remember Buddhist concept of attachment and staying present. Tell myself that I am at work now and must not be attached to a particular quitting time eventhoughitistheFriday beforeathreedayweekendandIamatajobwithalmostnostructureorguidancefortrainees.

1:46 — Supervisor tells me to read the file of a client I will never meet and wait for that client’s DSS worker to call her, at which time we can drive to DSS together and have the worker sign the Person Centered Plan.

1: 55  — DSS worker calls, we leave.

2:15 — Arrive at DSS. Tell receptionist my maiden name instead of married name. When I hesitate. She asks if I just got married. I say yes. She says how long ago. I say one month. She says you’ll get it. I say yeah. We chuckle. Bask in sense of normalness.

2: 45  — We go to Wendy’s. I order a grilled chicken sandwich and a small chocolate Frosty. Supervisor gets a junior cheese burger, small fry and medium Pepsi.

3:05 – Supervisor tells story about finding a dead body during her concentration year internship. We laugh. This story highlights my favorite quality of hers so far. Total unflappability. I find out that supervisor is from SC and attended graduate school at Howard. That she has one daughter and is dating a man with one son. Notice beaded Jamaican flag ornament on her keychain.

3: 10 — Arrive back at office. Supervisor says she has to finish a couple of things and then she will meet with me. At 4:00 PM, I assume.

3:13 – Finish notes for chart review for review during my meeting with the supervisor.

3: 14 — Try to call Board of Social Work where I previously lived because when they renewed my license they failed to change my middle name. I sent the incorrect license back with a new written request more than 10 business days ago and haven’t heard back. Try three times over the course of 15 minutes, no one picks up. Friday before three day weekend.

3:18 — Ask office manager for passwords and log in IDs while she is on the phone with a co-worker who is trying to get the business manager to approve a month’s worth of  mileage even though the co-worker had not entered any  mileage for the entire month by the deadline.

Business manager notes that she has already given me requested passwords as she gives them to me again. I say, syrup-y sweetly, you are a very good person. She smiles.

3:20 — Attempt to enter into the computer system expenses and mileage for the week. It won’t work. I erase fields and start over with less information. It won’t save.

3:40 – Ask coworker J for help. Get it.

4:00 – Notice that supervisor has not arrived for appointment, nor has she provided even one hour of individual supervision during my first week of work.

4:11 – Information saved.

4:12 — Resist urge to post Facebook status update about how shitty this day is, because it is poor form to bitch about work on Facebook while you are at work. Reading Facebook while at work is not.

4:13 — Read Facebook.

4:14 – Receive phone call from coworker F stating that we will not be meeting family at 5:30 PM

4: 16 — Notice that supervisor has not come to get me, still.

4: 24 — Receive call from Wifebian that she will be late because of traffic. Hang up. Feel mad and sure that she is telling me a “white” lie.

4:25 — Call Wifebian back to make her admit that she will be late not because of traffic, but because she left late. She does not pick up. This is a good decision on her part.

4: 30 – Sit very still as supervisor passes the open door to the conference room in which I am sitting, hoping we don’t make eye contact and that the supervisor doesn’t come to get me for the meeting.

4:31 – Start reading baby blogs.

4: 44 – Receive text from Wifebian saying she has arrived

4:45 — Say goodbye to the supervisor and office manager.

Happy Labor Day, Friends!


One Response to “My Salute to Labor Day”

  1. […] mrsbasement wrote an interesting post today onMy Salute to Labor Day « A BasementHere’s a quick excerpt […]

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