Sunday, February 5, 2012

I complain about my current job. A lot. To pretty much anyone who will listen. I haven't done much of that here, but that's because you don't know me too well. It's not a difficult job in the least, and sure, at least I am working, unlike a lot of people out there right now, but ugh. Just ugh. Some days, it's a miracle that I don't commit some type of felony assault or murder.

I suppose I'll have to explain.

I'm an eligibility counselor with the Department of Human Services. To put it in layman's terms, I'm a case worker. No, I don't have a social work degree. Nor do I really offer any services other than determining eligibility for benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid for needy families and individuals in my county. I'm a glorified data entry clerk, essentially (not to put down any data entry clerks here). But my clients call me their case worker or social worker, interchangeably at times, so I've found it's easier just to smile and nod. And it's not that I don't actually LIKE what I do: I help people. But the sheer volume of what I do can be overwhelming.

There's just a lot of paperwork involved. Most of it is redundant and made for people who just cannot stay organized. If you saw my house, you would assume that I was one of those people, but at work? I'm like Organization Ophelia. I have backups of backups. I know my caseload back and forth. I know exactly what is due when. But I still have to work these damned reports and turn them in every week. I also have to interview clients all day, as well as process any changes that come to my desk, return phone calls to insane people, finish applications and renewals in a timely manner, etc. It's this giant clusterfuck that I manage to keep tame somehow.

And then there's the clients. Oh. The clients. You have to feel for most of them. You REALLY do. Half of the time, they don't listen to what you say, so they end up asking you the question you just preemptively answered. You have to answer the same. Questions. All. Day. For instance, we started a new procedure back in July 2011 to approve clients for a full year, but on their sixth month, they are required to send in a form that states either "no changes" or "changes." You'd think it would be a simple thing, but as I've learned, nothing is simple. I'll get calls from people asking me what their letter means, even when it's in plain English to return the form by the 10th of whatever month we're in, and if there are any changes, they are required to turn in verification. They just don't read the letters and immediately react with panic. Sigh.

To make matters worse, I am also a team lead. I am right underneath the supervisor, in terms of responsibilities and duties. The only thing I can't do is sign time sheets. Unfortunately, that usually means that end up doing everything. Everyone calls me because I'm always at my desk; all of the other caseworkers (only two of which have been with the state for longer than one year) in my unit come to me.  And did I mention that I still have a caseload and have to interview clients? On top of all of this?

My supervisor and I work well together most of the time, since he kind of just lets me do my thing, but there are days when I want to smack the shit out of him. He'll give me an "urgent" task that I can in no way do on my own in a timely manner, and then when I ask for help on it, he'll just be like, "Oh, well, you can just work on it when you can. It's not really that important."

Then why did you make it seem so important when you gave it to me? Urghgrowl.

And at the same time, there's no pay raise with it. On a resume, it does look like a promotion to an outsider, but everyone in DHS knows that it's really just a lateral move. So I'm doing two jobs for the pay of one.


See why I try not to talk about this much? Because it turns me into Sarcastic Susan. Or Disgruntled Dan. Either way, I'll be sure to keep the complaints to a minimum. And if this post annoys you, don't read my Twitter. Or my Tumblr.
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