Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I love my job.


Did I mention I love my job? Because it's true. I actually love my job. Really sad that the only other job that I've had that I think that I really loved was being a bus driver, but even still, I love my job.

Having said that, a little something about what my job pays me:

I think they could afford to pay me slightly above a slave wage, that having been said, I still do love it.

Like any job, there are bad days. And at this job,a bad day is really, REALLY bad. Conversely, the good days that I have working seem to balance out the bad days and make it all worth while.

Some of you might be wondering, "what exactly is it that (I) do?"

Well, I'm a youth counselor (not a therapist) who supervises 13 boys after school (3 pm-11pm),we call ourselves; the group of boys that live together on the west side of the second floor: unit #3.

Getting back to what I actually do...

Basically, I babysit, play with, throw myself into the mix/fire to break up fights, (both verbal and physical though I haven't had to do too much of the latter, just a little...)send them to study hall, send them to DEVO (development; basically a really intensive kind of detention setting) have them study for their high school classes on their unit; unit 3, that's where they live.

I'm a surrogate parent/big brother, disciplinarian, (which coincidently is the biggest part of the job and it's the part I like the least. (Unless they and I are actually able make a breakthrough with their issues and actually get somewhere towards the root of what's REALLY bothering them. (i.e. it's not that that other kid is hogging the Play station 2, so I want to kill him; it's that they've changed my prescriptions for my psychotropic meds around and it's not going well...)

When it's not like that (dealing withat the actual root of the problem rather than surface level concerns, dummy issues, etc.) it's ineffective discipline that's more about consequences and punishment which I hate.)So, that's how it goes and that's what I'm consumed with at work in dealing with the boys, I hate it. (especially with the paperwork involved; and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is documented.)

Either way, for good or for ill,the discipline is the part that I spend doing the most. Go figure. Hopefully by the time all our kids (Carrie and I) become teenagers, through this and other jobs/experiences, I'll be ready for almost anything. Well, I REALLY doubt it, but hopefully I'll have a little bit of a leg up.

What else does my job entail? let me tell you. So, as I said, I have to make sure that the boys don't try to kill each other, themselves, me (which has happened; oh, yes, my life has been threatened, but something about the 13-18 year old juvenile misfit type just doesn't scare me like it did (and probably like it should...) when I was 5' nothing and a -100lbs scrawny pubescent.

Maybe in part it's because most of them are scared of how much bigger I am than they are.(Raw, hard, muscle would have been the ideal, but I guess overeating did some good in this area, just not any others!) As for the kids that think they're not afraid of me...the ones who think they just might be able to take me are afraid of the heat my radio can bring down on them in a matter of seconds in the form of really burly ex-college football player types coming in 3's or 4's to physically intervene. So, yeah, not scared of the teenage male at my job; small or large.

Other things about my job: I attend unit 3 group therapy sessions with them every other Wednesday. Here a therapist will conduct group therapy with the boys of unit 3. It's usually either really funny to watch them dish out how upset they are that they haven't been getting enough time to play Star Wars Battlefront 2 because their peers have hogged the Playstation2,or their not too brilliant attitude towards one or some of their unit three mates that often can result from something as ridiculous as I got slapped one too many times on the basketball court by a kid that has very poor gross muscle coordination/skills so therefore it wasn't intentional anyway; yet they're still holding a grudge and harboring bitter, resentful feelings! Sometimes it's just absolutely annoying to watch them argue and bicker with each other and get nowhere on some nonsense issue that I'd like to see them move on about, yet it's very important to my teenage nerds so they're not about to budge until the unit group therapist (Matt is his name) forces them to move on . The particular issue at hand in group, and whether it's amusing or annoying varies depending on the day, the issue itself, their moods, my mood, (how fed up I am with them at the moment) etc.

I also get to attend every Monday before my shift a treatment team meeting. On some Mondays this meeting is a great opportunity. On others, I would have gladly skipped out and not have had to come in early for a meeting that was waisted and unproductive.

Why do we hold this meeting? (Sometimes I ask myself this question rhetorically
Since the school/Academy is not only a school but a treatment center for Drug abuse, behavioral issues, family problems, mood disorders,etc; I am therefore required to meet with their therapists, one of their teachers, their unit therapist, etc. etc. to discuss what's going on with the individual students. All of us together is what is called the treatment team (for Unit # 3) It's purpose is mostly to help the student's therapist to get more of the complete picture of what's going on with the boy in all areas of their life (School, group therapy, unit 3 therapy, life on the unit; how their medications are working, etc. and in short their whole lives) at the academy. (Logan River Academy, LRA for short)

So, another reason I like working there, is they (my employers) really seem to like me. This is for some reason especially true with the therapists and administrators/teachers of the school. In our unit tharapy meetings and treatment team meetings, the higher ups keep getting and giving feedback for and about me that basically is extremely complementry. They like the job that I'm doing. They really feel like I really know the boys issues inside out and that I'm able to give them good insight to what is really happening with these boys individually. I've had about three incounters with my bosses boss that has come from the therapists and my bosses bosses boss (did that make sense) basically telling my bosses boss (who, incidentally really doesn't come naturally to paying complements to people; it's quite awkward for him. I get the feeling that he doesn't hand out a lot of positive feedback on his own and that unless his boss told him that he had to pass along the positive feedback; he wouldn't.

-ok. I've been trying to wrap this up/edit this garbage for weeks (off and on)If I wait until it's finished/manageable enough to read, I'll never post it. I appoligize to all who made it to this point for it's weaknesses; (length,incompleteness,ramblings/incoherent thoughts,etc.)


mrswade said...

This is really, REALLY interesting. Thanks so much for sharing. Would love to hear more about this.

Andrew Walker said...

Good to hear more about what you do Brian.