Saved: July 25th 2012June 15th 2012
This has nothing to do with travelling but I'm lazy to create a separate blog.
This does have quite a bit to do with why I decide to work non-profit and volunteer and travel so much so let's pretend it's relevant.
If there was one piece of career advice that was consistent in my life it was this: don’t go into social work.
Other advice I have received:
Don’t turn right on the highway. Check! (No one was harmed)
Don’t got to Toronto, it’ll be too competitive and hard to adapt and succeed there. Check! (Three cheers for learning from failure)
Don’t go to Africa, the dangers of political strife, war, poverty, lions… Check! (No politics, no war, no lions, yes awesome)
Don’t go flying karate kicking the tent, you’ll break it. Check! (I will neither confirm nor deny this event actually occurred)
Tell me not to do it, and I tell you hey that looks fancy, let’s take a look.
And so here I am, true to my character, SOCIAL WORK
So, is this for me?
It’s officially been one week. And, also true to my character, the week didn’t even finish before I marched myself into the boss’ office and said I’m bored, give me more work. Dropping hints about how quiet the day was and moseying about was not getting the desired results. He probably thinks I’m insane for asking for more work but honestly? My inbox has about 8 emails in it. This phone has rung a total of maybe10 times… all week. I’m starting to have staring contests with it hoping it will ring. (For the record, it usually wins by lieu of not having eyes to blink. Note to self: get googly eyes to stick on phone)
What has floated across my desk in 5 days is only a tiny glimpse of how many cases have gone through, how many have not, how many have made it, how many haven’t, how much work there is still to go… steps forward, steps back, the past, the present, the future. It’s simultaneously depressing and uplifting.
It’s not pretty but then again, broken families rarely are.
So can I do it?
I don’t know. 5 days isn’t enough to tell. But here is what I know from a grand total of 5 days on the job:
This world is full of terrible, horrific, abusive, and irresponsible people who ought to be simultaneously shot and made to suffer out the rest of their sad pathetic miserable lives isolated and alone forever.
This world is full of loving, open, big-hearted, and flat out amazing people. And we need to figure out how to start cloning them.
I have worked with the young and I have always thought that I learned more as a teacher than I did as a student. It’s absolutely fascinating watching a student succeed at something for the very first time. And hey! Not bad, I actually imparted some smidge of knowledge that will be carried with this kid for the rest of his or her life! Score! But here’s the things, across the board my students were from well to do, canonical families. Life was not hard and lessons were for personal fun, a treat, a privilege. There’s an entire set of people out there who think they have nothing to learn from children. These are the bitter, self-centered population who have lost their sense of play and whimsy, people who have lost that spark, the burst of creativity in life, and the willingness to learn and share. Try discovering something new through the eyes of someone discovering something new. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
I have worked with the old and I have seen firsthand how little numerical age matters in the long run. Fine, yes, everyone will die at a certain range of numeric due to biological and physiological constraints. Whatever. It’s a true use it or lose it world out there. Stagnation. A life unfulfilled. That’s what people should dread, not aging. I have met some of the most impressive people ever and they are all seniors. People who have quite literally seen it all in life, have loved and lost and lost and lost, have had their hopes and dreams trashed and trampled upon and still manage a full life, actively participating and contributing to society. And they are all over the age of 55. Wisdom? Only with time. There’s an entire set of people out there who think they have nothing to learn from seniors. That those of a certain age who can’t operate and iPhone or make a PowerPoint presentation or don’t have a Facebook account are obsolete. Like seriously? I mean SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY?! You wouldn’t exist if not for your grandparents or parents so shut up and show some respect and patience. There’s still a lot more of life left to go… why don’t you live it learning more instead of learning less? Why limit yourself?
Is that point cultural? Probably. I have little to no contact with my grandparents (being that they are halfway around the world and, no, they don’t have Facebook) therefore I never got the privilege of having them around to learn from. Don’t waste it people.
So here I am working with the young and unprivileged. It takes a very strong and certain type of personality to be a social worker. To be someone who “apprehends” children from their biological families. It’s scary. It’s terrifying. And that’s just from sitting behind the scenes.