Oh wow! I did it. I actually quit my job and I'm free. Things at DCBS had become so overwhelming and as I told you all in December, I had a goal to be out by August 1st. I quit July 15th. I give my hat to all the workers who stay and retire after 27 years. So impressive.
So now I'm doing Impact Plus Service Coordination. Also going back to school at the end of August to get my MSW on a part time basis. I hope to be doing therapy in two years. It was a hard decision to go to contract work after being salary for so many years. I gave up my insurance and retirement, but I also gave up the liability, the stress and gained peace of mind and to be honest am still feeling a little guilty for those I left behind.
When I started at DCBS five years ago, I asked myself "what the hell have I done", five years later I was asking myself, "what the hell am I doing". They cut all overtime, gave us furloughs, caseloads were astronomical and finally we went from being specialized to generic... meaning our job duties included doing investigations on top of our bulging caseloads. Life became insane for months,... working off the clock, worrying about our kids and families, neglecting our foster parents. Neglecting our own families.
The final straw came when a family on an in home case started using and I suspected it, but didn't have time to follow up in a timely fashion. When the police called me from the hospital and said get down here, a child on your watch is here bc the parent was using with her present (a very young child), I knew it was time for me to make the change. I'm not beating myself up, but the outcome could have been horrible and it was the final straw. I sat in the hospital the about seven hours with this child and it's parent who was out of their head and thought about how on top of my game (so to speak) I used to be and how things had become increasingly crazier over the last year and a half. I thought about things in true drama queen mode, while I sat quietly and professionally never giving my thoughts away. I tried to remember the last time I saw a movie with my kids, (foster kids, biological kids.... it didn't matter) and couldn't remember. When was the last time I read a book or blogged? When was the last time I cleaned out the hall closet? How would I have lived with myself if the child I was currently sitting in the hospital with had died? How would my family cope if I went to prison because we all know the state wouldn't stand by a worker.
I remembered that the reason I decided to become a social worker was because I knew the system was "faulty" and truly wanted to make a positive and permanent change from the "inside". Little did I know then what a daunting goal that was. I knew nothing of politics and had no idea how little politicians know or even care about "protective services". How can the secretary of state veto new positions that desperately need to be filled? How can the government allow an agency who is working so hard dwindle down to so few workers with "hiring freezes" and cut overtime when overtime is the only saving element for workers to get their work done? Before I left, workers were only doing "triage work" as we call it and connections with their families were left by the wayside. Swimming upstream for an eternity was just something I couldn't do... and honestly that's okay. I learned so much and made so many connections. It's time for a different approach and for now... that approach is a step back. And that's okay too.