Monday, July 5, 2010

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Okay, okay, so I know I’ve been a little neglectful of my little blog here lately (I can hear all 4 people who read it collectively nodding their heads) but I have good reason!

1) It’s summer, so I’m outside doing stuff
2) It’s summer, so it’s hot and I have less energy
3) And this is the real kicker – my home laptop crashed and has yet to be suitably replaced.

I haven’t even had time to keep up with reading all the blogs I follow, which is saying a lot because it is usually a highlight of my day.

I promised some way back that I would follow up with a book review of Voluntary Madness, and I will get to it. I also want to get back to talking more about the work at hand, as I’ve been recently distracted by certain international photo-ops and spectacles – although I can’t promise it won’t happen again.

For now, I’m wimping out and posting this list that made the rounds of Facebook recently and was emailed to me by a co-worker. Even if you’ve read it before, it may be good for laugh, and isn’t laughter really the best medicine?

Onward! -->

You know you’re a social worker when…

1) You think $40,000 a year is “really making it”.

2) You don’t really know what it’s like to work with men.

3) You know all the latest lingo for drugs, where to get them, and how much they cost.

4) You’ve started a sentence with “So what I hear you saying is…”

5) You’ve had two or more jobs at one time just to pay the bills.

6) You tell people what you do and they say “that’s so noble”.

7) You have had to explain to people that not all social workers take away kids.

8) You use the words ‘validate’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘intervention’ daily.

9) You spend more than half your day documenting and doing paperwork.

10) You think nothing of discussing child abuse over dinner.

11) People have said to you “I don’t know how you do what you do”.

12) You’ve never been on a business trip or had an expense account.

13) You know a lot of other social workers who have left the profession for another.

14) You’re very familiar with the concept of entitlement.

15) Staying at a job for two years is ‘a long time’.

16) Your phone number is unlisted for good reason.

17) Your professional newsletters always have articles about raising salaries…but you still haven’t seen it.

18) You’re very familiar with the term ‘budget cut’.

19) You can’t imagine working at a bank or crunching numbers all day.

20) You’ve had client who liked you just a little too much.

21) Having lunch is a luxury some days.

22) You’ve been cursed at or threatened…and it doesn’t bother you.

23) Your job orientation has included self defense.

24) You have the best stories at any cocktail party.

25) Your parents don’t know half of the stuff that you’ve dealt with at your job.

26) You know all the excuses client use for a failed drug test by heart.

27) People think it’s a compliment if they mistake you for a psychologist.

28) It’s a common occurrence to walk through metal detectors.

29) You’re thankful that you have a license without having to go to school for umpteen years like a psychologist*

30) You work odd hours and wonder why others can’t also be as flexible, or why we have to be the only ones who work strange hours.

31) Despite the poor reputation of a social worker you job has you interacting with those in higher authority positions (lawyers, doctors, judges, government representatives, superintendants, directors, etc)…and they come looking for you in a panic when they need you…

32) You can make just about anything a client does into a ‘strength’.

33) You laugh at things “normal” people would be shocked by.

34) You constantly struggle with the work/life balance.

35) You find it hard to get babysitters as you don’t trust anyone with your children.

36) You’re exhausted but you keep smiling!!

37) Hearing the worst news stories does not shock you in the least bit.

38) You think nothing of saying the words vagina, penis, or anus in a daily conversation.

39) You assess your date (in your head) while out on a date just to see if they meet criteria for any DSM IV diagnosis.

40) Your mother tells people you’re a psychiatrist or a psychologist. For the umpteenth time, I’m a social worker.

41) Your significant other has learned that when someone greets you in public not to ask “who was that?”

42) You know the suicide crisis phone number, the food shelf and the community shelter phone numbers off the top of your head.

43) Your family/friends/acquaintances/co-workers will approach you with a “hypothetical problem” to help them with and you can’t charge them for your advice.

44) When people ask for your help, they expect you to have all the answers and solution to problems that do not even exist, immediately. We’re social workers, not magicians.

45) You know where to find ‘free’ anything (clothes, food, equipment, transportation) but you are not eligible for any of them yourself.

46) You are considered an “expert” in financial assistance for your low-income clients but you can’t keep your own cheque book balanced.

47) You have a file or a list posted in your office on “Stress Reducing Techniques.”

48) After a long week of solving other people’s problems, you recognize that you haven’t dealt with your own at home.

49) You don’t know what “sick days” are and you call your vacation times “long mental health breaks” or “burnout prevention days”.

50) The clinical staff find the patient/family situation appalling and in urgent need of intervention and in your “social work” opinion, you don’t really think it’s all that bad. You’re pretty sure you’ve seen worse.

51) You love/loathe the idea of role-plays and know that they are not necessarily something kinky.

52) You’ve found yourself in a group situation with other social workers discussing a super deep topic, and someone says that they’re happy they were able to have the conversation with other people who “get it” and everyone immediately agrees.

53) You really do have the best gossip around, but have to make sure to remove any possibly identifying information first.

54) You really know how to enjoy a good bottle of wine!

*I'm assuming this was originated in the USA, as social workers are not 'licenced' where I live.


  1. This is great. I am going to have to print this out this week and hang it over my desk at work. I actually have part of it already but the one I saw originally only goes up to like #20. We could probably add to this each day!!

  2. Nice, thanx for those. I really liked number 2, despite being a man, I rarely get to work with men.

  3. Love your list. Can I quote one or of the items in my blog, acknowledging you of course, and directing people to your blog to read the rest?

  4. @wallofbrick: of course! I can't claim credit as the originator of this list (as I said, I got it from an email) but feel free to share, and links are always appreciated!

  5. This was absolutely fabulous. I laughed out loud and read several to my boyfriend. Of course he didn't get it at all.

  6. brilliant i am a mental health social worker in england and they all apply to my work too

  7. I am a social worker that has traditionally worked with emotionally disturbed clients. I was linked to your page from another site and was astounded to find my exact same blog layout on your page. I can't figure out weather or not to chalk this up to pure coincidence or a similarity in aesthetic thoughts that parallels career any case, I thought I would comment that you have exquisite taste in formatting.

  8. Well thank you. I liked this template as it had green (the colour of mental health I’m told) and blacks and greys which I thought would nicely compliment my profile picture.
    Thanks for stopping by!