When this is post goes live, I will probably be sitting in my near-empty cubicle at work, furiously trying to finish up the last bits of paperwork that has so consumed the past year and half of my conscious thoughts. Today is my last day of this job.
Back in 2011, I wrote about me getting this new job as a case manager (a.k.a. “social worker”–in Pennsylvania, you can’t call yourself a social worker unless you have a degree in it). It’s been an amazing experience, with some of the most knowledgeable and supportive supervisors and co-workers I’ve ever had the privilege of being around.
But it never quite fit. Not only was I both the youngest person there and, even after a year and a half, still the newest; I’ve spent much of that aforementioned year and a half frantically trying to grow in my organizational and self-motivational skills in order to keep up and do the more administrative side of the job well.
And though I have indeed grown a lot in these areas (and continue to do so), it’s still sort of exhausting to spend 40 hours a week playing to many of your weaknesses.
And so, by the grace of God (in this economy) and my wonderful network of friends and professional recommendations, I have a new job that I begin Monday.
I’ll be working for an wonderful organization called Pathways to Housing. After starting in New York, and seeing a lot of success there, they’ve started sites all over the country, including in Philly. They are still young (just compare their website with my current employer’s), and that makes this a super-exciting time to join.
It’ll be much the same work, but in a different kind of philosophical model. Pathways employs what’s called a “Housing First” model to the support they offer. In short, they give people housing first, then treatment second. This means that you take people that might still be in he midst of their addiction(s) and/or mental health symptoms and put them in housing, then you start working on managing those things, rather than using the housing as an attempted incentive.
It’s exactly along the lines of how I think true change and healing is achieved. It holds the therapeutic relationship as paramount, and seeks to maintain that above all, instead of seeing “results” or “performance” as the main goal. When all your trying to do is get people to “act better” as quickly as possible, social work often becomes more about subtle (and unintended) coercion and manipulation instead of progressive transformation.
The work will be very much the same as what I do now, but the way their time and work is structured is such that I am confident it will play to many more of my strengths. I’m really looking forward to weekends that aren’t anxiously filled with thoughts if un-done paperwork.
I honestly think it’s going to be a really, really good fit.
And so today, I bid farewell to my clients, co-workers, an supervisors at Horizon House. It was an amazing time.