#SoCS: Friendship therapy at its best

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I’m supposed to write a stream of consciousness with “moot” in it.  I’m much too happy to think about moot points, people, places or things.

Years ago (less than 10 but more than 4), I met a beautiful woman with midnight hair and a smile that warmed my soul.  She was new to her job and had just started working for a small agency.  Rules, regulations, masses of paperwork, unreasonable time lines bogged her supervisors down with their own caseload.  They had no time to teach her the real-world aspects of the job.

Sure, there’s a week-long orientation for new workers, but just as a college education doesn’t prepare you for the nuances of a job, neither does one week teach you how to take the day in and day out brutalities. Desperate or despot personalities, time constraints, the delicate task of advocating for the needs of individuals juxtaposition against the paperwork piled on top of overworked people with impossible caseloads.

From the early 90’s to mid-2000’s I’d been in the same job, walked the walk, made the mistakes, and knew the pitfalls.  When I could no longer take a job that rigorous, I began working part-time for an agency and had day-to-day experience with many of the caseworkers.  To my dismay, most (of the caseworkers) were in it for the money, not for the people they were supposed to serve.  They did the paperwork and the minimal amount needed.  That’s all.   

The day I met her, talked with her, found out how little instruction she was being given, I offered to help her learn how to write the most important document for her job.

“Why are you helping me?” she asked.

“You have the one thing in this job that no one can teach,” I said. “You care.”

Less than a year later, she came to the office, hugged me and told me how much I’d helped her.  She’d passed an audit and said that without my help she would’ve been in deep trouble.

She disappeared quite suddenly, and I’d wondered what had happened to her.  I found out later she had moved to another state.  The next time I met her she had her own agency and a year after that, she’d made 100% on her audit.

Today we had lunch together.  One hour turned into two and then into three.  I learned that caring isn’t her only virtue.  Rarely does one find a person with the inner strength to take an impossible life and turn it into a conduit to make life better for others.

It was friendship therapy at its best!