Tuesday, September 06, 2011


There must have been a day long ago when I said "Mummy, I want one of those jobs where people scream at you and condescend to you and call you names and accuse you of things you didn't do." But it was so long ago that I can't recall the exact time.

I can't remember my mother's exact words, but I know her character, so I am sure she said something like "Are you sure that's what you want? Because it sounds all very fine to say you want to help people, but those jobs are harder than they look on television." And she was absolutely right, of course.

I rejoice that none of my sons have gone into human services - though Ben's job trends toward that somewhat. Kyle makes noises about social work at times, which I discourage. I have always said those words with humor, so as not to drag down the general conversation and become a pariah. But I absolutely mean it. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be social workers.
אמר הבלים הקוהלת הכל הבל׃ הבל׃ Ecclesiastes 12:8


james said...

I don't think I could handle that kind of job. Kids stress my patience already.

I gather there are jobs with similar social benefits.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

I could never work in social services. My empathy is near zero and my patience is several notches below that. Consider yourself a saint.

Dubbahdee said...

It would be one thing if social work involved riding horses, wearing cool hats and those wicked awesome boots.

Gringo said...

One of my high school friends went into a social work-type job. I would have rated him rather low on the empathy scale, and will spare readers some of the things he said which led me to that conclusion. OTOH, that lack of empathy may have assisted him in his specialty, which was putting people on welfare to work.

I had some exposure to what social work is like when I worked as an aide in my undergrad years, including a year at a psych hospital. For those who want concrete results, it can be a frustrating field, because so often all one is doing is maintenance, not improvement.

It appears that AVI is one of the few right wing social workers.

My time as an aide gave me ammunition for my turning into a right winger for at least two reasons. First, I saw that funds were limited while desires for programs were infinite. Unpleasant choices and tradeoffs were therefore inevitable. It wasn't an issue of the right wing meanies preventing the arrival of the millenium.

Second, I saw that all too often experts were unable to achieve the results they desired. As a result, I developed a skepticism towards those who said that they had the social program to beat all social programs that would turn things around if only the program were funded. Yeah, right.

Just like the Stimulus Package, unfortunately.

The problem is that while we want solutions, and may hope we have solutions, for so many of life's conundrums we do not have solutions. Yet those who want ever more government-funded social programs claim that they have the solutions.