In the different jobs I have had since graduating I have seen and heard a lot of distressing things which I do my best to ensure that I do not get desensitised in my role. I have heard many terrifying stories that every now and again creeps into my dreams and needs to be shaken off; from horrific group rapes, to explicit murders and children whose lives are completely destroyed by the selfish choices of the people who are meant to care and protect them.
And to cry in my role is deemed a weakness, but internally the tears don’t stop pouring from the many stories I encounter and many people’s lives I have passed through or touched in one way or another.
Sometimes the things I see and read, leave me with so many unanswered questions and a feeling of wanting to save others from themselves. Yes! You heard me right. Save others from themselves. I am told that we cannot control the actions of others, we can only control the way we react to it. This is easier said than done. Tell that to a little boy or girl who has been prolifically physical, emotionally and sexually abused by a person they trust and felt too scared to speak out about it. Too afraid to go home but no one to talk to. That internal fear turns to anger and they hit out at every other child around them, but at home they hide, hoping to make it through another day.
In my role we have every intention to save. Every intention to impact positively in every life that we come across. But systems, timescales and budget cuts continue to strain the work that we are supposed to be doing.
In addition to this throughout my role, I have seen significant changes that at times saddens me. The system has become somewhat polluted and a culture of blame that people are too afraid to use their initiate in case a decision made under their watch indirectly leads to the death of a child.
It’s not uncommon for workers to encounter mental breakdowns.
Relationships with families has changed to everybody covering their backs, with unrealistic expectations, overworking of staff and less time to spend building relationships with families.
The outward abuse we work to stop has now found its way internally. Senior management bullying those underneath them and getting away with it. Having everyone running to their unions, but limited power to fight against an organisation that has been operating for years. Bullying, that when spoken out about they do everything in their power to silence you or leave you without a voice. Leaving many workers feeling burnt out or suffering in silence. Exhausted and wounded workers are still expected to nourish and protect those they work with. And no one questions how?
The workforce has changed. It is no longer what you know and how much experience you have, in order to progress but rather who you know, despite what the person has to brings. In my opinion it creates a toxic environment and breeds dangerous practice, because real issues cannot be ‘dealt with’ nor ‘managed’, as professionals no longer want to offend their fellow ‘friend’.
They call it work place politics. I call it a damn shame!
But my only hope is that every now and again there is a breath of fresh air when I come across a genuine person who shares the same passion to protect children and respect those working around them. Who are genuinely seeking to enhance the lives of all persons they come across, manage and are managed by.
I look at the job I once loved, and I question where ‘its’ heart is. My passion fighting to stay a flame despite the strong winds determined to put it out. But I still have a job to do and do well.
Breathe in. Breath out!
Exhale! Head up! We have got this!
Love Crystal Williams UD