Reasons to the Cheerful – Part One


I had, for one reason or another, a particularly difficult week last week. Partly due to work-related matters and issues – trying to cram in a five day workload into three days with a couple of days out training – partly just stuff happening at home that I wasn’t expecting – nothing particularly serious, just a matter of juggling and switching expectations and partly a mixture of the two.

Sometimes it isn’t quite as easy to separate work from home as I’d like it to be.

So to start the week off, I am just running through, as I’m writing – some of the reasons I love my job and why I am so fortunate in it. Yes, a little self-obsessive, but I prefer to call it reflection!

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1. Positive impact and influence

Being a conduit to state provision of services is definitely very far from all fun and games but when you are able to arrange what might be a relatively simple matter of care or respite – that makes a significant difference immediately. That is good. Or just provide a telephone number for a person that otherwise would not have been known.

2. Constant learning

I am fortunate to work in a profession and an environment that constantly promotes learning and development. I enjoy study. I always was quite an academic type in some ways and my team, my manager are always very happy to give me space to study and learn about new things. I appreciate it a lot.

3. Teams and colleagues

I moan and I gripe. Sometimes I look back on teams I have worked with in fond reflection – but on balance, the people I work alongside are very good at what they do.  There is no-one of the team that I currently work in that I wouldn’t be happy to see walking up to the door of a relative of mine (or me, come to think of it) in a situation of need (though some might need more frequent phone-calls just to remind them..). They have very different ways of working but I have faith in them all.

4. The in-patient ward

Our team is ‘attached’ to a ward in the hospital. And the nursing staff on that ward are some of the kindest, friendliest and just plain compassionate people I have ever come across in any setting (the medical staff are good too, but I think of them as part of the community team for the most part – see above!) I try and tell that to family and service-users if I am arranging respite or an informal admission. I am often told afterwards that although they think I am just saying that to make them feel better at the time, that I am right. They still get thank you cards and christmas cards, years after some peoples’ admissions and subsequent discharges. Fortunately it is a very stable team of staff who have, for the most part, been working there for years. I think that helps.

5. Diversity and interest

I have said before that I work in central London. The joy of that is that I am faced with such a massive array of diversity and difference that it improves my knowledge constantly. From tourists having breakdowns in some of the central hotels – to families who have lived in the same houses for generations and seen the nature of the neighbourhood change from inner city slum to classy City fringes.

I  have seen some of the most vile and atrocious housing conditions above some of the UK’s most expensive shop fronts.

A constant turnover of cultures, languages and issues is a constant education. It keeps me on my toes.

I was thinking of having a general ‘positive’ Monday theme running but I know myself too well to be able to maintain that. So reasons to be cheerful – they are definitely there. And happy for people to add to them. Go on, it isn’t as difficult as you think!

6 thoughts on “Reasons to the Cheerful – Part One

  1. Although not working as a social worker (yet), I can relate to a lot of this. I had my 3rd year placement on an inpatient ward, and also worked for a little while at Ealing Social Services while I lived in London.

    Housing is always an issue… No wonder there are so many homeless people out on the streets: you see the horrid conditions of some of the rooming houses available and living on the streets becomes and attractive option.

    I also wanted to comment on inpatient wards… my experience of these have also been positive, and I 99.9% put that down to nursing staff. They are such down-to-earth people, and would help you out with anything. Truly a testament to their profession.

  2. i do need to write more about housing as it’s something that I have a lot to say about – it’s just hard to relate it in family-appropriate language. The place I was thinking about in the above post, for example, is a flat that has a bath in the kitchen. And stairs so steep that I had to cancel my own visits there when I hurt my leg. Better save that for a post as I have a whole lot more to add!

    And thanks for dropping by!

  3. Yay – It does no harm to take stock now and then – can whole heartedly concur – especially the part about colleagues. For me they make or break the job, the support, the expertise and experience and the gallows humour of some of the people I have worked with have been a support and an inspiration to me over the years. Your post made me think of “reasons to be cheerful” too – thank you

  4. i’ve been busy and haven’t been here in awhile…sorry 🙂 geez your blog looks great! It’s beautiful, neat, organized, elegant and the whole nine yards! Congrats on that and the cheerful attitude 🙂

  5. cb, I love this post. Indeed, your reflections in and of themselves are a reason to be cheerful. I wondered when I started social work blogging if I would find other bloggers who were truly soul mates. I was worried most people online would be griping. I have been delighted to have found a circle of folks who really care.

    I’m also cheerful because doing social work is empowering. I am a stronger, more assertive person since starting this work. I love it that standing up for others forces one to also stand up for oneself.

  6. Thanks for the comments.
    Caroline – it is true that you need the support from the people who understand the work you do more than others (namely those who work alongside you). I’m aware than I am a bit of a grumbler at times so needed to just take stock!
    Prin – that’s very kind! I’m not always cheerful but sometimes I need to remind myself to be!
    Bluejeans – Thanks again. Griping has its place, I think, as long as it is countered from time to time. All gripe and no appreciation leads you further down the road of burnout! I agree about the empowerment – I am infinitely more confident, myself, than I was when I entered the training. Maybe I’ll write about that sometime!

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