Wednesday, July 16, 2008


So I wasn't going to blog today, mostly due to a lack of focus on my part, which in all actuality is more the norm rather than the exception. But I just got off the phone with a client. As you may know I am a social worker and work with people that have abused or neglected their children in some way shape or form. Actually I am a "program manager' which in lay men's terms means "boss". I actually prefer to be called Commodore, but that isn't in the HR definitions for an administrative position. So I am a program manager. As such I supervise the day to day work of several case managers that do the actual work and I just sit around and blog about things and occasionally give advice about things related to our job.
I have a wonderful group of people that I manage, and the majority of the time they make my life pretty easy. But as the old saying goes, you can please some of the people some of the time...but you can't please all of the people all of the time. Given the nature of our work, the ability to please any of the people any of the time becomes quite a monumental task, but some how some way the majority of the time our workers manage to find a way to please their clients. Well as much as you can please someone who has every reason to be difficult.
So my job for the most part is pretty easy for me to do, but there are those instances that despite their best efforts, a worker just can't seem to get their client to understand what they need to be doing and I get the complaint call. Today was one of those days.
Now 99% of the time I am very good at what I do, and have a certain, as the French say, Je' ne'sais quoi. But there is 1% of the time that I just well, let's just say don't care. It actually doesn't occur until after I have already begun the process of listening to the client, and then it just comes on like a Mack truck barrelling down the freeway with no brakes. It is usually sparked by one little word or phrase that they spew forth in their, let's call it passion, like venom flowing from the fangs of a viper. It usually isn't even anything personal towards me.
On this occasion it was the use of the word "ignernt." Now I am by no means the smartest guy I know, but I do pretty well in the intelligence department. On most occasions I am every man. I can relate to anyone and part of that is my ability to put aside my superior intellect and just go with the flow. Sorry if I seem a bit braggadocios, but it is what it is!
So this angry mother is talking in circles and not saying anything at all. She doesn't even know what the problem is, she just knows that she is upset at my worker. I can also hear a voice in the background, a male, spouting off about what I can only assume are the very things that this woman is yappin' about. She says to me, "she was sitting in our front room being all ignernt to us." I bite my tongue and ask for clarification. "What do you mean she was being ignernt?" Only I pronounced the word correctly. "Ignernt" she says, she is so ignernt to us. I snapped. "Do you even know what ignernt means?" I purposefully pronounced it wrong. "Of course I know what it means." At this point I have already lost my "Je' ne'sais quoi" and said to myself what the fuck. (sometimes you just have to say "what the fuck"). I said, "you don't really know what the word means, it means that she doesn't know something."
Now this goes against all of my training in conflict resolution and how to deal with difficult people, but it was just like word vomit, I couldn't stop. Along with my correction of her grammar, I could here this man still flappin' his gums and again I figured "what the fuck" stick a fork in me because I'm done. I say to her "who is that in the background because it is really distracting so if he wants to say something to me, put him on the phone." Fortunately for me he was a bit more rational than this woman and I was quickly able to regain composure and have a civil conversation with him. However by the end of this 30 minute phone call I was spent. The good news, I found my inspiration to write today. The bad news? He asked for my supervisor's name and number. This doesn't worry me because I can play this off as "one of those clients that we just can't please". I am certain that my boss will find this out quickly and commiserate with myself and my worker.

1 comment:

Boyd said...

Once I was in a seminary class and a girl was reading a scripture that said something like "he who is ingnorant will be ignorant still." The only problem was that she was reading it ig-nore-ant, putting the emphasis on the second syllable, rather than the first. I thought that was pretty priceless.