An earlier post, if you recall, was quite emotive in giving strong views in regard to matters related to life and death. To think, as I recall, it all began with premature thoughts on how well we should be taking care of our animals, pets and in the wild. It then went on to talking about dealing with those living on the margins of society and the most vulnerable among us. Many of you, who have been keeping yourselves abreast with my posts up to now, will agree that the thoughts expressed, when you think about it, were mostly subjective. But I did go on to excuse myself about this, didn’t I.
My excuse, I believe, was not lame and it was valid. I reminded readers that this is essentially a personal blog. So, readers should mostly be expecting to read the mind of a middle-aged social worker, going through some personal changes of her own and recollecting some experiences from work. It is left to my editor to see just how well the response has been so far and to determine if this blog has a rich and rewarding future. It is quite possible that a more concerted and professional approach may be requested. If this happens then, of course, I’ll be talking about social services from a professional point of view.
Am I qualified? Some of you still ask? Well, yes, and I’ve had a number of years experience in the health services as well, meaning too, that I didn’t start with social work straight away. After completing my degree in social studies, I went on to do a post-degree diploma in social services which would qualify me to work as a social worker. Mainly because I now had to work to pay my way, I did not have all the time in the world to complete my studies. It ended up taking me another five years to complete my diploma. I was studying part-time. During the day, I was doing mostly clerical work at the public administration centers and public hospitals where I was deployed.
I was never far from the action, if you don’t mind me saying so. And while there were some hair-raising incidences, I had made up my mind that social work was my vocation and I was going to stick with it. All things being unequal where I was, even after qualifying, I did not get to start my vocation right away. That was alright. I was quite happy to bide my time working clerically while taking note of what I saw and heard. On the side of those who are meant to serve and care for patients, there was much that I saw that was unedifying. But, I was powerless to do anything about it.
Only watch, observe and take notes, I kept on saying to myself. My day would come, as it surely did. Although my entry into the vocation of social work was not entirely how I had thought it would be. I initially thought that after a few years of loyal service within the public administration and public health services, I would surely be rewarded with a position. But bureaucratic pedantry and some bungles had other ideas. So, I had to wait in line just like all other budding career women and vocation seekers. As I said, I wasn’t impatient. I just felt that it was time to move things along.
So, I started job hunting in the direction I wanted to be. It seemed that the economic climate at that time, bad as it was, had hit most industries, so finding a suitable placement was never going to be easy. I wasn’t about to lose hope. I still had my public job to fall back on. It wasn’t as though I was financially desperate or anything like that. But I carried on looking. I also became more proactive with my own efforts. I started engaging with mainly non-governmental organizations that mainly did work for the underprivileged of society. I took part in discussions and even had space to dispense some of my own ideas and suggestions for ways forward in helping others in need.
It seems as though my social media activism was effective in the sense that people were reading my comments and responding to them. By now I had also learnt to distance myself from emotive speakers, mainly those that were bereaved. After all, if the discussion was taking place under a specific NGO’s media page, then these poor folks had an outlet to refer their problems to. I, like them and most others, was merely a guest who just happened to be making some solid suggestions on a consistent basis. I must be quite honest with you; I was never doing this to attract attention. I guess, my passion for the work allowed me to get carried away. But, before long, I was noticed. One NGO reached out to me and invited me in for an interview. The manager who spoke to me said she and her staff had already been privy to much of what I had written on the social media pages. I was never tracking this deliberately either, but it seemed as though I was beginning to make a name for myself, positively speaking.
So, of course, I was quite delighted. It did not take long for me to be confirmed as a full-time social worker. I wasted no time either in tendering my resignation with the public services. The apparent dip in salary did not deter me. If needs be, I had savings to fall back on, but, in any case, I felt that if I was ever going to be effective in my role, I should also become accustomed to living frugally, at least for a while. That way, I would also know just how it feels to be poor. I’m glad I acted responsibly. My job, I suppose, can be considered something of a reward.