I phoned into a radio program today, something I have always (secretly) wanted to do, but never did. I arrived 9 minutes late to a client’s home for his last session with me before being transferred to the next clinician (because I found a new career*) and clients tend to dislike the last final session. Well, since I was on the road earlier, I could call in.
Immaculate Heart Radio’s Joe Sikorra posed the question of learning from our pain and blues – mind you, not depression – clinical depression, PTSD, or suicidal ideation – but the blues. Psychiatric journals have published that a slightly negative mindset (i.e. skeptical) can support improved memory. I have been living with pain since November.
I was crying as I drove home about two weeks ago, talking out loud to myself trying to convince myself for reasons why I wanted to leave my current job. In my tears, I heard myself say “I’m leaving for my self-worth”.
The utterance surprised me.
I am worth more than working 40+ hour work days at odd hours: 10am-7:30pm with no lunch or restroom break, or late-night “on call” sessions on the phone; a salary for an LCSW that is below $60,000 including the bilingual bonus; an ever increasing demand for progress notes turned around within 24 hours with no accommodation for those of us who do NOT downgrade our personal computers to IE 8 or 9; use of our personal cell phone as a company phone to contact clients; &c.
I LOVE my adolescent clients. I frequently enjoy working with their parents. They are NOT why they are leaving. I cried after so many sessions this past week. My current supervisor has ignored these facts an chewed apart collateral sessions with parents that are more than a month old. She has made snide commentary about the fact that I have taken additional unplanned PTO days this past two weeks (An LCSW has to attend weekly 1 hour individual supervision?! An LCSW has to attend weekly 2-hour group supervision?!) She has chosen to ignore the fact that I spent more than $1.900.00 two weeks ago on fixing my car. She has ignored the fact that I had to replace a tire and the air valve system today at the cost of 4 hours.
Anyway, I called in. I spoke of how I learned that my bad mood since December taught me that I was burned out. I no longer had a case of the blues on Monday, but also Tuesday and Thursday. I took Fridays off for mental health days, and then started taking weeks off. When that didn’t work, I continued what I needed to do: pray, journal, draw, talk with friends, went to therapy.
I started interviewing and finally found a job. The day I was asked about an interview, I also had two other interviews. I realized that I needed to make a choice. Even Mary was offered a moment to not say “Fiat”. So, I just had to commit. Which one of the several offers was I going to commit to?
My mood taught me to learn how to walk away. What have the blues taught you?
*I will be working for a private, for-profit company providing therapy. I get an office, a private-practice atmosphere with someone else managing all the overhead; a 9-5. I can get a better apartment, a doggie, and find time for dating after work.