Sunday, May 2, 2010

Work is still new but..... frightening

No, not scary in the fact that it's a new environment and I'm trying to catch up and adjust to the work load. No, I'm an expert at that. I'm doing rather well on that front. I'm supposed to be upstairs on the third floor for training for the next two months. When my new boss asked me how it was going and if I was feeling lost, and I replied no, he asked me if I was ready to come downstairs to my "real desk." I hesitated and said "But I like it up there. The view is so much better. I get to see downtown"

He took it as an excuse that I didn't want to see him and wanted to avoid him as much as possible.

I grinned.

It was true.

No- what scares me are not my coworkers or even the disgusting cafeteria food. What scares me are the "clients." From my initial interview, my boss has instilled in me that the children who are in foster care are referred to as "clients" and live in "residential treatment areas" next door. The first day at lunch, I went downstairs to have lunch in the garden.  There were a variety of teenage kids on their lunch break too, and it was a bit refreshing to come within ear-shot of adolescent life again.

3 minutes later, a girl storms out into the garden screaming out expletives and death threats on another student/client/teenager.

My eyes wandered over to her as a counselor ran after her into the distance.

A few days later, I was reviewing some security logs that the officers document during their shift. One line in particular caught my eye- "Responded to Houston Police department; incident at residential treatment."

I asked my boss if he knew what had happened and he lowered his voice and said "This doesn't leave the room, but one of the kids got a hold of a knife and attempted to stab one of the counselors. They were unsuccessful thankfully, but the HPD had to be contacted."

My eyes widened at the thought.

This past week, I was talking with one of my coworkers from my department who is the facility technician. I asked him why they were changing the furniture in the treatment center (I had seen a proposal for renovations.) He said "We're planning to change all the furniture to plastic furniture, made of one piece. One of the kids got the leg off of a wooden table and hit one of the counselors in the face, and as a result, lost her eye."

I gasped in astonishment.

When I initially interviewed for the position, I knew I wouldn't be working with kids. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to be part of something positive. I wanted to feel like I'd be working to improve the lives of these foster kids in some way.  I can't imagine what these kids go through in foster care, not being able to live with people who can love them.  It must be so difficult on their self-esteem and cause them to have so many emotional problems. I had a great vibe for the organization itself.

Not so much nowadays.  I tend to stay away from the residential treatment as much as I can and regard these kids as clients, like I was instructed to.

It helped a lot more when I noticed one of the teenage girls eying  me through her bangs one day in the cafeteria. It was definitely creepy.

I actually have violent dreams now.


  1. My mother, who is a teacher, has expressed to me sometimes that she loses that sense of 'wanting to help the children' and just views them as 'work to deal with'. It only comes occasionally, that humanity lost for a while in times of stress, but it is quite weird.

    Hope you can gain back that sort of positive ambition.