I kind of hate my job. In saying that, I also want to acknowledge that I’m very grateful for the job I have. I work with fabulous co-workers who are super supportive, but the work itself starts to take a toll on you.
I am in the social work field, and I work with homeless or soon to be homeless on housing issues. I work for a great program that helps prevent disabled persons being evicted into the street. The program is very successful in maintaining housing for this very difficult to house population. My clients rang from heroin addicts to severely mentally ill individuals. And while I believe that I am doing a lot of good, both for the person and the community, it’s hard work. Not at all in a physical sense, though sometimes there are definitely physical risks. (ie. a house booby trapped with knives, potential needle sticks, bed bugs, or irate, psychotic, or dangerous clients.) The emotional toll it takes is where the difficulty lies. I suspect at a certain point, you become hardened emotionally and are able to shake off those feelings and deal with the clientele in a clinical and detached way. I think that’s the point you need to decide to move on or let it change you fundamentally.
I am at that crossroad in my career. I have had the “Social Worker, heal thyself” lectures that are supposed to recharge you emotionally, but I haven’t found that to work. Sometimes I come home after a particularly difficult day and have a couple (or more) glasses of wine. I don’t want that to be a crutch for me. I have friends that I can talk to who also work in this field, and that helps a lot, but I still feel like this fundamental change is happening.
So I’m asking you, gentle readers, what do you do to recharge your batteries?
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