Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Work dilemma

I am in a quandary about work.
I don't know which way to go.
I *REALLY* don't know which way to go.
I have never been like this. 

I know where I want to be.... Well kinda. I had a little moment the other day where I decided I wanted my own home. I didn't expect that thought!! I actually thought I wanted to retrain to become an EMDR therapist. But there have been events unfolding lately... N they put a slightly different light on things.

Let me explain….

Once upon a time ago there was a girl called Rach. She had worked in a mainstream children's home for 12 years and loved it. She couldn't imagine not working in a hands on, caring capacity with kids n teenagers.

The kids she looked after had many issues n came into care for many, many reasons. Sadly, the majority of children had attachment issues and had suffered some form of abuse before coming into care. As a result, behaviour issues, sexual exploitation, criminal activity, low self-esteem, poor school attendance and attainment and substance misuse were common place.

She loved her work, advocated for the kids, battled hard, laughed lots n never forgot how blessed she was to care for and about the children others couldn’t parent effectively.

Around 3 years ago, she applied for a secondment as a Deputy Manager. She was successful in her application and moved to a new home. We shall call this home 'B'.

Rach had been happy enough at 'A', her original home. She was settled, adored her kids n felt as though she was a valued and experienced member of the staff team.

The time had come to grow professionally and she was ready for the challenge ahead.

Moving was hard. Adapting to a new home, a new team and new ethos was hard.
Leaving behind 'her kids' was hard. She had invested in them n had worked to form attachments.

Leaving them meant rejection. That is how they viewed it. Rach spent time chatting with each child, carefully explaining how she needed to be a role model, to show them that they can always reach higher, always grow. She assured them that she cared very much and just because she wasn't there didn't mean she didn't care.... That it would soon be time for them to grow and move on... That it was part of life and a natural progression for some relationships.

Rach's needs had changed, as had those of the residential service. The 2 needs could be met by 'each other'. Huzzah.

And so she moved to home ‘B’.

The move was hard; the new team were hesitant to ‘let her in’.  With focus, passion, determination, a bit of personal growth, facing challenges together, Rach settled and was accepted.  She began to grow as a manger, helped her colleagues grow, battled with Ofsted and grumpy neighbours, and somehow deputised for *ALL* the residential managers.  She fell in love with the kids and them her.

Life was good.

Life stayed good for 2 ½ years… then it was time for her secondment to come to an end.
It was time to go back.

Going back was always going to be difficult.
Stepping down, leaving another team where she had made ‘home’, leaving the kids, all of it… it wasn’t the best. There were tears at bedtime. Again!

Still, Rach had grown; she had achieved what she set out to do.  Before leaving, she had managed to wangle a place at Uni funded by her employer. This would mean she could complete the qualification needed to be a Registered Manager. Huzzah and Eek!!

Positive. Positive. Positive.

Rach’s last shift at ‘B’ was on the Thursday night.
On the Sunday her mum was rushed to intensive care.
On the Monday she started Uni.
On the Wednesday she started back at ‘A’.

The following week, Rach was being interviewed for another secondment in another home.  This one, home ‘C’ was a home for children with a learning disability.


It was a long long time since Rach had worked in learning disabilities. 12 years in fact.
A lifetime ago.
3 lifetimes depending on how you measured them.

Anyway, she got the job and her role became split. On a part time basis (week on/week off) she moved to another new role, another new team, another new bunch of kids to learn about and love.
But this was very different.  Some of the kids are non-verbal, some have profound disabilities and complex health needs.  But they are as equally amazing and shiny as the mainstream kids.

Rach knew she was a very lucky lady.  She had the best job ever. Sometimes it was the worst job ever.  But she didn’t know if she liked the learning disability home.

She soldiered on and wondered if her dislike was the immense difference in types of work.  She needed to know the minute details of each child, follow precise routines, but somehow manage the chaos, all the while, feeling totally out of her depth.

Just as she finished one week at home ‘C’ and felt almost as though she knew what she was doing, it was time to return to ‘A’ and play catch up again.   After a while, it took her less time to catch up, although she felt as though she wasn’t achieving anything in any of the homes.  In fact she felt like she hadn’t ‘worked’ for months.

She floundered from one week to the next, not belonging anywhere.

After a while, when her mum was back home, when Christmas had passed, when her tri training was back on track (ish), when she was almost on top of the SAD and the Uni assignments, she almost started to feel like she was making progress.

She had a handle on the kids and their cases and knew what was expected of her in her new role.
Around this time, Rach was presented with the news that there would be a maternity secondment coming up in home ‘B’ – she could go back to the home she loved, the place where she grew, a place where she was happy.

However, Rach knew that you could never move backwards – only forwards.  The manager in post now in home ‘B’ wasn’t well known to Rach, some of the kids had moved on.  It wouldn’t be the place she left.

There was another maternity post in home ‘C’ going to be advertised, approx. 3 months after her secondment finished.
There was also a permanent Deputy post likely to be advertised in home ‘C’.

The dilemma was, did Rach apply for the secondment in home ‘B’ or did she take the risk and apply for something she still wasn’t sure of in home ‘C’?

As this is being written, certain answers are leaping out – and she is almost certain of the next steps…..

She doesn’t know if it will get her to the place she wants to be – but she has faith in the Universal plan.  If she is meant to get there, she will. And if she doesn’t – she will be where she is meant to be.

To be continued……

There has been a new model of parenting proposed… well, it was proposed years ago.  We have been in the will we, won’t we phase for what feels like ages.  Can we afford it? Will we benefit from it? Do we need it? Why aren’t we working like this anyway?
One of the very real concerns is that it will not be bought for the learning disability homes.  They run very differently. 

They are already Outstanding.

Sat in the briefing, I had internal fireworks.  This was a light bulb moment.  
The programme sounds amazing.  It sounds like everything I have ever wanted to work within, like the residential work I envisaged when I started. It sounds like it will produce real results for our kids. More than the containment service we currently provide as best we can.

It is backed by science and fuelled by human goodness.

I want to be a part of it.

I am worried if I leap the wrong way, if I selfishly go for stability and apply for the post of permanent deputy, that I will miss out.
I am worried that when a Registered Managers post becomes available it will be in mainstream and I will be in the wrong place. 
I spoke to someone I respect about this the other day, they suggested that due to the nature of the staff team and the strange beast that is residential, the team would sabotage me if I progressed within ‘A’.  I think they were right.  They would.

If I don’t do this (which is pretty much all I have done in my adult working life) what do I do instead?
What do I want to be when I grow up?

I always said that if I don’t do this, which I once referred to as zoo-keeping; that I wanted to join the circus.
I have said for a while that I am going to join/run away with the circus…. Join the circus or do science.    

I would like to make science for a living. Science makes me giddy. It always has.
Sadly, it also makes my brain explode.  So I wouldn’t be very good at it……

I have to have faith. 
I have to have faith in the Universal plan.

I have to have faith in my own abilities….. and keep my eye out for ‘jugglers wanted’ adverts…..