The title is definitely a working title, and I am not happy with it. This is another story that I will be adding to my book of essays about working in Child Welfare. This story is all about the actual workers, and less about the children.
WARNING: There is mention of suicide, cutting, sexual harassment, discrimination, and more. Practice self care while reading it.
This is a true story. Names, areas, sexes, everything has been changed to protect identities of everyone in the story. These are personal journal entries of a case worker. I hope you enjoy, and get a glimpse into the world.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, the Suicide National Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
If you are being harassed in any way in the workplace, REPORT IT. Don't let this story stop you.
I'm not a fan of keeping a journal, but since my therapist suggested it, why not. She says it is good for me to not keep all my frustration pent up, and can use this as a release since I don't like to talk about it. Hell, I can’t always talk about it, since everything is “confidential information”. Most of our sessions are in silence, with her trying to drag the information out of me. I know that I should go to a therapist, but it's so hard to put my needs before someone else's.
So here I am, starting this journal. Let's start by saying I am so excited that I finally got a job offer! I had been applying to this company for a year, and they finally gave me a job. I never thought in a million years that I would have this much trouble getting a job, but here it is, and I can't wait to hit the floor running to show them that I was worth picking. My whole self worth is measured through my livelihood, so it has been rough going a few months without a job. They will see, I know it!
My first day starts in 2 weeks so I'm going to keep a positive attitude about becoming a member of the child welfare program in this area! Wish me luck Journal!
I started my new job today, and it feels like it is a tight-knit group. My new supervisor, Amy, is a little rough around the edges, but I love her attitude. She has the attitude that anybody can be helped and anybody can succeed. It does upset me a little bit that she told me that she has a bunch of scheduled time off coming up. That's definitely going to cut into my training, but I'm an experienced case worker so how hard can it be to catch on? I'm a fast learner, and I can do it. Plus, she said I can reach out to my coworker Clarence if I need help with anything. Of course I will not bother him, as I am sure he probably has so much on his plate. Hopefully we will be able to make it through until she returns. All in all, so far so good.
Hey journal, I’m pretty frustrated. My supervisor is out for her extended leave and I have been shooting off emails to Clarence that are going on answered. I mean, I knew he would be busy, but I didn't think it would be this hard to understand all the ins and outs of what's going on in this job. Just a little bit of support would be great. Okay, I'm being impatient. I am always impatient. I will take a chill pill and wait for him to find some time to answer me about these non emergencies. Everything will be okay.
I feel like a failure in this position. I don't know the services yet, and I don't know how to help people. No one has stopped by the office to make sure that I am okay over here all alone, and I don't really remember exactly where the office is where Clarence is across town. I tried to call and text, send a few emails. But I can tell by the tone of the emails that he has a lot to do. I have to remember that it's always hard when you first start a case worker job. I need to take my time, and not be in such a hurry. Hopefully everything will be better once everyone gets back. Maybe I will even ask for us to have a team meeting so I can find out some other contacts that I can use. Whew, look at me being a problem solver, you go girl!
Today we had a team meeting, and I made sure to be more of an observer than a talker. This really is my second time meeting all of the team since I have started, so I want to make a great impression. I asked for contact people, but I was told there weren't any. Well that seems like it's going to be impossible to do this job! I pushed and pushed during the meeting until I'm given a few names and I am satisfied! I hope I wasn't too pushy, but I want to be able to do this job on my own instead of depending on other people. I hope they understand that.
Today was a horrible, no good day. This is one of these days where I think this journal is supposed to come in handy. I just feel so alone and like I really don't have anyone on my side. I'm missing that support to help my families. No one showing me the ropes. No one there to tell me how to follow up. I mean, I know a lot of training is out in the field, but what am I supposed to do once I get back from the field?
I went to another team meeting today and I wasn't even trying that hard to hide my low morale. I was upfront with them and told them that I felt alone over at the office, but the way I worded it definitely pissed them off. I forgot maybe I should have walked on eggshells, but my frustration took over the best of me. Next thing I know, the Amy is calling me and telling me that she received a disturbing phone call that I'm having outbursts at meetings. Outbursts?! Oh man, I didn't realize it was that bad. I really did start to backpedal. I minimized like crazy. I did not want to make any issues in the first month of this job. It was so hard for me to get a job here, I need to swallow my pride and just deal with it. Nothing but positive attitude from here on out.
Well, the supervisor is out until July 25th. They have hired a new case worker, and she doesn’t know anything! At least I have someone in my office with me and I'm not completely alone, but I'm worried about what we're going to do. We were told we could call Clarence for anything so I will stick to that, and be careful to stay calm when I am calling him. I don't want to be accused of outbursts ever again!
Today was a horrible day. One of my clients started threatening to harm herself because she lost temporary custody of her child. Normally I would call the police, who would either bring a therapist or take the person in for a mental health evaluation for their safety, but that didn't seem to be the protocol here. I called Clarence for help in what phone number I should be calling, and he says not to call the police. He said that our clients have in the past wanted us to call police, so when they show up there is a murder suicide by gun fire. I had never heard this a day in my life. Where is he getting this information? He told me to call the suicide hotline number and give them the phone number of the client. I did as directed but now I hold so much guilt for not doing more. The anxiety is up and down, and I hope that I did enough.
Okay, the anxiety got a little out of control from yesterday. I had a panic attack so bad that I passed out and hit my head in the elevator in my building. I'm going to the hospital tomorrow to make sure that everything is okay. I'm worrying myself sick about this.
Today was absolutely nuts, and it makes me question if I'm cut out for this job. I mean, I have been doing social work for almost 10 years, but for some reason this specific position is so much harder than it has ever been. I know that the laws have changed now that I am in a new state, but this is so hard to handle. I got a call from another client today and it wasn't good. A new mother who lost custody of her infant let me know that she had cut her arms up. I don't have any experience with cutting, but I definitely know that someone who has a therapy degree or certification should probably be talking to this mother. After all, I'm the one who agreed that she shouldn't have her infant. I'm lucky she even contacted me. I called the in-house family therapist,Lucy, and she tells me to go out to the house to assess the situation in person. I mean, I will go with the family therapist out there, but I can't assess a situation. I mean I have assessed it to the best of my ability, what am I supposed to do now?! The family therapist doesn't feel like she needs to go out at all until I go out there first, so I called Clarence. This is complete horseshit! And do you know what Clarence tells me? He tells me to text the new mother the suicide hotline number and then it would be up to the mother if she wanted to call for help. I told Clarence that it didn't feel right, we should be doing more. Clarence got mad at me and actually yelled at me. He said to me, do you want me to drop everything and come over there to handle this? I just backed off and told him that I would give her the suicide hotline number as he directed. I cried so hard in my office, and felt so helpless. I got on my computer and Googled cutting, I want to offer this girl something, not just a hotline number. About 20 minutes later Clarence comes walking into my office. I didn't even know he was coming here from his office that was across town. He saw me crying and I think it made him feel horrible. I tried telling him that it was done so much different from where I came from, And I really needed help with this. Clarence said that I should have asked him for help if I needed it. I thought that is what the phone call was over that I made to him?! My supervisor Amy then called from her vacation, which I didn't expect at all. My supervisor told me to go to the young mother's home and ask her for all of her sharp objects in her home. At this point I threw up the white flag and surrendered, and drove out to the mother's house, requesting all of her sharp objects. She handed them to me with her arms cut up and down both sides still bleeding, puddles of blood throughout her small apartment. The mother says to me, you can take them if you want, but I will go get more if I want to do it again. As I walked away from her apartment back to my car I could see that some of the sharp objects that she gave me were dripping blood. This was a new experience for me. I made my own call to the suicide hotline after all this, it kinda fucked with my head.
I am pretty sure that writing in this journal is not helping. My anxiety is at an all-time high and I think I'm getting paranoid. I was discussing cases with the Lucy today, when Clarence came over to my office, clear across town from his own office. The supervisor is still gone so he said he was there to help out if I needed it. It was out of the norm, he didn't even tell me he was coming. Next thing I know he is stopping my meeting and asking to speak with the Lucy about what we are discussing in the meeting, in private. They come back out and tell me that I don't need to know about the discussion they just had. Okay, so they may have been talking about another case, but why interrupt my meeting? This place is making me go crazy, and I don't like it.
I am starting to get suicidal thoughts, so I went to my doctor today. This job if fucking hard. My doctor seems disinterested and said that she will make a referral to the mental health department. I'm starting to realize that mental health isn't really a big deal here.
I called The Suicide Hotline today just to talk about my weird obsessions that my coworkers are out to get me. I am clearly being irrational and need someone to talk me through all this anxiety that's going on.
The only thing on my mind is how horrible I am doing at this job. Everyone else seems like it is so easy for them to deal with these really hard situations. I called the emergency crisis hotline at the hospital just to talk it out. I couldn't get my anxiety under control, and I just needed someone to talk to. They taught me some meditation and deep breathing skills that I'm going to try to use whenever I feel overloaded. I can handle this. I can do this.
The supervisor is back, but I have just learned that she doesn't work on Fridays. I wish I could take a day off during the week! I also noticed that I am getting treated differently. My supervisor Amy seems to ignore a lot of my emails. She seems to have weekly meetings with Clarence and the other case manager Tanya where I'm not invited. Maybe it's all in my head and I'm making it more than it actually is. I'm pretty sure that I am overly sensitive right now because of everything that has went on so far in this job. It must be a stroke of bad luck, a stroke of crises. But I've made it through, and I have to stop thinking that these co-workers of mine are conspiring some way against me. I will work on that.
Today was somewhat of a stressful and weird day. I have upset the parent of one of my new cases, which is typical in this line of work. I'm no stranger to being called all kinds of horrible names, I just like to draw the line when it comes to being threatened. Well, the client said she was going to blow up on me and I wouldn’t like it. I went straight to Amy and handed over the phone to show her what had happened, with a plan to write an incident report. Can you believe that Amy started texting the mother back? Threatening her back?! This is nuts! I had to block the phone number of that mother because she genuinely thought that the person text messaging was me and not Amy.
Remember the client that Amy threatened last week? Yeah, she showed up to my office today. She just waltzed into my office past everyone and started to yell and scream at me. I let her yell. She finally left and it didn't get physical, but I'm sure it could have if I would have opened my mouth and said anything.
Today I felt like a real team player. We were having a meeting and one of Tanya's clients needed to be admitted for a mental health hold. I took over for her so she was able to take care of the client. She was thankful and grateful, and I really feel like everything might be turning around now. They can see that I am here to help them as much as I need help. I also went to the psychiatrist today and they put me on two psychotropic medications For all these panic attacks that I'm having. They're supposed to help with a suicidal thoughts too. I've never had to take psychotropic medication before, so I'm hoping this won't be a forever situation.
Thank goodness they were able to get me another new therapist since the one that I was going to had left a while ago. I have been counting on the crisis hotline to get me through a few situations, and this journal. Tt's nice to have a real therapist that is able to not let me play the victim. That won't help me get through this, and I know that from all the years of child welfare experience. The world is not out to get me, I need to try harder.
Today was fucked up. There is no other way to put it. I signed up for a Trans-Health Diversity Training that was going on today. As I was leaving the office to go to my training, I ran into Graham, the family coach. He asked me where I was going so I told him about the training. Then he said to me, is that what your boyfriend is into? Are you fucking kidding me right now? I just texted him on his personal phone because he needs to know that's not okay. I told him about my own genderqueer status and that I was homosexual so he understood that what he was saying was highly fucked up. I hope it sinks in, and I am telling Amy.
Today is the first day that I saw Graham since he made those dumb ass remarks. He told me he did not realize that what he was saying would offend me. I mean, in all fairness, I do present as a straight female, so I have to give him a pass. I would only hope that someone would do the same for me if I said something just as stupid without even realizing it. He seems like he wants to try, and I want him to feel encouraged and supported by me, not hated. Hey it doesn't do anything for us to hold a grudge. My therapist today agreed.
OK, I grew some balls. I called HR to meet with them tomorrow about everything going on this this workplace. Enough is enough? I mean, I am doing the right thing, right?
I am such a pussy. I cancelled my meeting with HR. Everything that is going on is not that bad. I am making it more than it is. I need to try harder to work with my co-workers. Especially before I go reporting issues. They would really retaliate and hate my guts if I started drama.The anxiety is so bad that I can’t breathe. I feel sick. I have lost control. My psychiatrist was nice enough to prescribe me Xanax. That will help me get my shit situated.
There is no hope for Graham. I thought maybe that he could change, but it is pretty clear that he is a homo hater. We were having a meeting about a new family that he would be coaching, one with a TG mother and mother. Then their he goes all over again, calling them he/shes. He even said that they need to have a meeting with me to figure out what gender they were. As he is talking this shit, Pamela, one of the other family therapists hears Graham telling me that it would be a waste of time because I don't know my gender either. Pamela is the sweetest lady I have ever met in my life, and I didn't know that she could put down her foot and talk in such a stern voice like she did with Graham. She told him twice that it wasn't funny as he continued to smile and giggle. I think I have an ally in Pamela now. I think she might see that all the other co-workers might hate me. Maybe she can tell me if I think it's all in my head? No, I can't bother her with my work drama, that's not fair to Pamela. I told Amy again, she has to know what he is saying. Damn, this journal entry pissed me off all over again. Let's make a call the the crisis line RIGHT NOW!
The therapist met with me today since I was in such a damn tizzy about Graham. She also helped me sign up for group therapy and today was my first day. I need to learn how to not get so upset over things I cannot control.
Graham is officially a douche nozzle. I just can't even believe that he still has a job. He comes into my office while I'm getting ready to staff some cases and sees that I'm all stressed out trying to look over the paperwork before the meeting. I had a horribly busy weekend, trying to help the on-call worker. Since it was so crazy, I really needed to review this paperwork for the meeting. I was just foggy on it. Grandma walks up to me as I'm reading the case file and says to me, do you know what's good for stress? Angry masturbation. I told Amy, and she said that he is on a temporary job that ends on September 10. His job should end now!! She said she will ask him to stop coming to our office, whatever.
Guess who showed up at the office today, fucking Graham. He's bitching and moaning about how much of a bitch his supervisor is and how he likes Amy a lot more. Is Amy not being upfront with him? He should not be very fond of Amy after all the things that I told her that he is been doing. I emailed Amy to let her know, and just ignored him.
Guess who showed up at the case meeting uninvited? Graham the asshat. I think it has gotten around that I have been reporting him for stuff because Clarence did ask Graham to leave. This guy refuses! Refuses to leave the meeting! I left. I'm not going to sit in this meeting with this guy. It is really starting to feel like nobody cares about me.
Thank god I had group therapy today. I was really starting to beat myself up about people not liking me at work. I don’t know anyone else here yet, so my support are these fuck boys at work. I think group therapy is helping. I think.
Amy called me into her office today for leaving the meeting last week. She said the Clarence reported to her that I just got up and walked out and she wanted to know why. I told her what was up with Graham and how I am starting to feel a little attacked by everyone, and she did back off a little bit. She tried telling me she didn't know the whole story, but I'm not so sure of that. I'm starting to find myself getting so sick of the situation here that I am starting to become confrontational over it, something that I normally don't do. Whatever, I don't really give a fuck anymore.
I was sent an invite today about Graham’s going away party. Is this place serious right now? We're throwing this monster a going away party? This place is bullshit, I'm looking for another job. It took so long to get this one that I can only hope That I can find something much sooner than the first time. I hate feeling like a prisoner here because it's so hard to find a job.
I had group therapy again today. I really embarrassed myself. I sat in that group and cried. Bawled. Whined about how hard my life is. Yeah, my white people problems. At least they didn’t make fun of me to my face. Big Girls Don’t Fucking Cry.
I have a new case where the client clearly has a crush on me. She asked me if I was a lesbian! It's not very often I get solicited while being at home visits LOL. I told Amy and maybe I will be taken off the case. Maybe she needs to be put with a guy. This job gets more and more crazy every day.
Another wild day full of crises! I got a new DV case, and while I was in a meeting, the mother was texted me for help, saying that the father was there, and threw the TV! Then the father shows up at the office and starts screaming at me. I seriously thought he was going to hurt me for a minute. He just doesn’t like women. Clarence was there and calmed down the man. The family therapist Lucy came out and helped too. After he leaves, I’m all shooken up and say, this guy clearly doesn’t like women. Then Lucy says to me, you don’t have to like him, but you have to serve him. I lost my shit. I hit my limit of these people hating me. I storm away and didn’t talk to anyone else the rest of the day. I don’t even know what that comment from Lucy even meant, and I don’t really give a shit. She hates me.
Remember that client that has a crush on me? We are just going to call her Becky for now. She shows up to my office and asks to have a quick meeting about paperwork. She says to me, I know you have a paper fetish, and gives me some paperwork that I needed her to sign about her case. Then out of nowhere she told me that she wanted pizza and that she was wearing pizza panties. I don't even know what that means! Maybe I need to brush up on my lesbian lingo? Becky mumbled something about edible undies and I pushed her out of my office, maybe a little too forcefully LOL. I told Amy again, this is just weird.
This place is going to make me go crazy. I don’t even get what I am doing wrong. Writing in this journal is a waste of my time. Amy called me into a meeting about the DV guy. Clarence said I had an outburst and stormed off for no reason. This word outburst is dumb. Amy took my side this time and agreed it was petty as fuck. Clarence is dead to me.
So Becky came back to the office again and the visit was more strange than the last. She walks in wearing a tight black dress with knee-high black boots, accompanied with lots of blue eyeshadow. She said that she wanted to talk to me about the steps in her case and when it would be closed, so I invited her in to let her know all the deets. it really was no big deal, and had no real evidence to substantiate the claims that were going on in the house, so it seemed fair to let her know that we would just be closing it out as soon as I got some time to myself. Becky then starts telling me about a drug that used to buy at gas stations in the 80s that would give her a boner. I guess now I know that she is TG! I told Amy again what was going on and we decided that she shouldn't be coming to my office anymore since the case is closed.
Pamela told me that she heard Tanya and Clarence talking shit about me today. I don’t doubt it from Clarence, but Tanya too? I confronted Tanya, and she told Amy I was mean to her!! Haha, I bet there is going to be another meeting about how horrible of a worker I am.
It is always something at this place that I call work. I walk outside to leave for the day and Becky is waiting out in the parking lot. She waves at me and runs over, telling me that she got another case called against her. I told her that someone from the office would be in contact with her, but it probably wasn't going to be me. she says, too bad, then turned around and lifted her skirt up, showing me her black lacy panties.
Becky just won’t quit. She texted me a picture of a dude sucking a dick. Out of nowhere. I haven’t texted her since her case closed. I told Amy, again. I don’t know what to do. We have got to keep this girl away from me. I think that my co-workers think it is funny or something.
Same bullshit, different day. I haven’t had time to type up that incident report about Becky harassing me, and I have to get it done, so I tell Clarence and Tanya that I am not attending the meeting to take care of it. Next thing I know, Amy is blowing up my phone, saying Clarence told her I left the meeting. It is Friday, AMY DOESN’T EVEN WORK TODAY!! Clarence is such a snitch. Snitches get stitches and end up in ditches. Ha! I’m so funny :)~ I called HR and made another appointment. Maybe I can get transferred or something. This ain’t working out no more.
Amy has me come to ANOTHER meeting about Clarence being upset that I left the meeting. Is he just going on and on about it? Let it go bro. He is upset that my case load is smaller than his. I’m getting preferential treatment. Wanna fucking bet?! I told Amy he is bullying me and I am done with it. I told her I am meeting with HR about all this nonsense. I felt horrible saying it out loud to her. She wasn’t always terrible to me, just sometimes. The bad is counteracted with the good. I don’t know what’s going on with her personally. Maybe she has alot going on too. She seemed betrayed when I said it to her, and now I am backpeddling again. Maybe I should call off HR.
We finally have the meeting about Becky’s case. Amy wanted to assign the case to Tanya!! Does she want even more issues?! For some reason Clarence was out of the question, and Amy took it herself. Whatever, as long as I am not working it. I tried to stick up for Tanya in the meeting, but she says out loud, I'm a hard ass, I won't allow that type of behavior, like I was doing something to cause Becky’s behavior. You know what? Fuck Tanya. I’m sick of sticking up for people that just talk shit about me. I fucking hate it here.
I did it!!! I met with HR!! I told them everything, and I felt so supported. They want to talk to everyone on the team, and I agree, it is only fair. Maybe HR can help everyone get along with me. Or me get along with them. I texted Amy afterwards to tell her that HR is going to help us. Then my phone starts blowing up about that “cutter”. She was admitted to the hospital. It is late, so I will just tell Amy that she is in the hospital, and will talk more to her tomorrow.
It is pretty clear that Amy is pissed that I talked to HR. Here comes the retaliation. I didn’t hear from her all morning about the cutter that was admitted to the hospital. I called, texted and emailed, but she didn’t respond. A few hours after that she sent out a group email that she was out of the office the rest of the day. Great. I went and visited the cutter, and she told me she needs her neighbor to feed her cat. So I ride over to the house, find the neighbor and walk with her over to the house. It looked like a murder scene. There was blood everywhere, and on everything. It looks like she found something else to cut herself, huh?! There were bloody little cat prints everywhere. The neighbor said she was going to stay to clean it up, and I took off. That really sucked to see. I texted Amy about the gruesome site, and she texted sorry. So I guess that meant she got all the texts. The cherry on top of today? Amy sends another group email that I am not going to the weekly team meeting. No reason why. Clarence is pissed and thinks I did something to get out of it. Tanya ignored my request for help about what to do about the hospital admission.
Everyone was still ignoring me at work, so I called HR and asked them to call the whole thing off. I told them that everyone is mad at me. They didn’t put up an argument, and closed it, just like that! Damn, maybe I am all drama and trouble. I am pissing everyone off.
Still being ignored. I saw Amy trying to sneak into her office so I followed her and confronted her. She straight up lies to my face and says she isn’t ignoring me, she is just busy. I went and saw my therapist after that. I’m not quite sure how to deal with these situations. I am normally the liked person at work. The funny one. The nurturing one that helps. But here I’m this big pain in the ass. The therapist encourages my thoughts on looking for a job that isn’t toxic. The search has sucked, but she is motivating me. She is pretty damn cool.
We had a pretty cool meeting today about all the new services for our families. I am really excited about some of them, especially the ones that are going to help our teens. They always go forgotten. I have had a good few days. I’m not going to worry about my co-workers. I can’t change them. All I can do is change and control my attitude. I need to get out of the mind frame of saying fuck them all, and lend a helping hand. Maybe they will feel bad and change? I can’t find another job right now anyway, so this is what I gotta do for survival.
These fuckfaces are trying to ruin my life. So get this shit, Journal. It’s Friday, Amy’s day off, and she hits me up with an invite to talk on the phone. I’m going on vacation next week, so I think it is about the cases while I am gone. WRONG. Lucy tells Amy that during the meeting yesterday I was on my phone texting the whole time. I didn’t even have my phone. So I am crying like a damn baby, and tell her I will look for new work, thinking that will make her feel bad. WRONG AGAIN! This bitch has the nerve to say, do what is best for you, have a great day. Then hung up on me. So I go looking for that cunt Lucy, with her lying ass mouth. It was bad. Crying and babbling, I told her to mind her own damn business, and left. Pamela came to give me a hug, she knows this is out of control. Well I got these assholes right where I want them. I went through that employee handbook and I quoted all of the policies in an email to HR. This time there is no going back. They got me fucked up.
I meet with HR and the Director of whatever. They decided to tag team me and tell me that after an “investigation” there was no wrongdoing. No sexual harassment. No discrimination. No retaliation. No bullying. No hostile work environment. It is in my job description to deal with clients that sexually harass me, and is something I should expect to happen. Graham was never reported, so what are they supposed to do now? It appears that I am the only one experiencing issues, so they found no bullying or retaliation. Worst part: There are NO transfers. I don’t know what to do. I have emailed some attorneys, so lets see what they say. They aren’t getting away with this.
This is the last journal entry I will be making. I was called into HR today. Tanya reported I said that “her cupcakes were fucking stupid”. This bitch is one of those people that can’t eat bread, or gluten, or whatever, I don’t even think she can eat a fucking cupcake!! I ain’t never seen her with no cupcake. And why would I ever call a cupcake stupid?! They are like my only friend right now. None of the attorneys called me back. My boyfriend has a gun, but I don’t know where the key is. Fuck, I am considering suicide, like for real. I gotta go to the hospital, I need help. Someone please help me….