Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nerves of STEEL. Except not.

When I'm at work, I'm fairly easy going. I get yelled at a lot so it's kind of necessary. Clients think I should get things done faster; clients don't understand that our policy doesn't have a personal vendetta against them; there are various stupid people that work at the office who plague me with stupid questions that have very easy, stupid answers (that they should already know but somehow forget)*. Whatever. It's a frustrating job that I manage to perform on a weekdaily* basis. But there are still days where I lose my shit.

I am interviewing pretty much all day. That's just the nature of this job. And the "down time" (haha) I have is used to process changes, respond to emails, yell at my supervisor for forgetting the thing I asked him to do two weeks ago for the 45937th time, reports, etc. So I get this email from a client, who, quite frankly, is a pain in my ass. She had emailed me several weeks ago, begging me to move her appointment up, but I didn't have any slots available and was like, "You have to wait, sorry." The interview went fine until I told her that, yes, I indeed had to verify her income. She said that it was on the Work Number***, and I inform her that, since she's only been working there for less than three weeks, I'll need something from her employer, letting me know how many she hours she will most likely be scheduled per week and at what rate. I give her my fax number and email and tell her its due ten days from now. Easy? I would think so.

Then, oh, today's message? Incredibly rude, basically calling me a lazy ass for not answering my phone (um, she never left a message, but okay) and that I need to call her. Why didn't she email me? Because I didn't respond to the other email last month to tell her that I would not be seeing her earlier. And yes, she had a fair point. I could have responded, but it would have started this spiral into, "Why can't you see me earlier? I have NEEDS." And I didn't want to get into that, so I just waited for her to either come in on her scheduled appointment date or for me to call her on that date. Anyway, not two minutes later, I get an email from one of the higher ups, saying I need to call the client (no reason given, but okay), and then right after that, my supervisor comes into my cubicle, asking me about this client.

My supervisor is on the phone with the woman and she's demanding that I take care of her case right the fuck now because she's been trying to call me. Then he says that she has been told by her employer that they won't provide the statement because her income is on the Work Number. I explain to my supervisor that the income on there is not sufficient for me to accurately calculate her income (seriously, it's an annoying bit of math) and he goes back to tell her this. About thirty seconds later, he's bounding back, saying that she has her employer on the line and whatever, and just to use the three pay stubs on the website.

"You do realize that this is not really following policy, right?"

I mean, technically, in particular circumstances, you can fudge policy. I do it every day. It's not wrong, per se, and if you document why you did it, usually Quality Assurance isn't going to jump down your throat. Unless you're, like, approving benefits for someone who obviously doesn't qualify. And normally, if you are a respectful, if flustered, client, I'll work with you. But when you are an absolute bitch? Nope. Not unless I have no choice, which in this case, I didn't. I was essentially receiving an executive order to process her case.

And what was so damned frustrating about this whole thing is, the client wasn't even eligible in the first place! At least, based on the income that I could verify. Which is why I was waiting for more information, anyway. But noooooooooo.

Then my supervisor tells me I have to email her back - because he told her I would - regarding the outcome, so I do, very civilly. I even give her extra information, in hopes that she'll just stop bothering me and we'll be done (at least until next year, when she has to recertify****). About thirty minutes passes, and I have to go to a meeting/training session, so I'm thinking, "Yay, done."

Hahahaha, oh, I should have learned by now.

I come back from my meeting to this scathing email from her, calling me (and all caseworkers at the office) "lazies" and saying that she was going to call the lady she spoke with earlier - the upper management person - because she was sure that I'd calculated the income incorrectly because ... I had to use the pay stubs that were available? Or something. I'm not really sure because I was kind of distracted by being called a "lazies."

Honestly, it's this kind of shit that makes caseworkers go on rampages. Or quit. Because clients can behave like assholes. If they don't like what the outcome is. If they don't like that you are overworked and can't return their phone calls (even if you tell them to call the service center, who was created solely to answer questions and processes changes, if possible, but whatever). If they are mad at whatever thing that has nothing to do with you. The reasons don't really matter. It's the fact that some treat you like you have no soul.

Now, I am raging pissed. My face is red and I am about ready to pull a move straight out of "Scanners." I'm glad my supervisor is the one dealing with the client over the phone, because I would probably be fired for screaming obscenities at her*****. But I'm still kind of burned up about it. She's no longer in my caseload (thanks, Supervisor), but fuck. Sigh.

On a scale of one to ten, my desire to quit this damned job is probably at a 21.

* For example: If someone isn't receiving SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps), yes, they do in fact have to apply for them, even if they are already receiving TANF (welfare) or Medicaid.
** I made up a WORD! Not as awesome as my favorites, "amaxing" or "fickwut," but it'll do.
*** Probably one of my favorite and least favorite resources I have at my disposal. The Work Number is a website that a lot of companies are using to document pay stubs for their employees to make it easier to access that information if 1) the client lost his/her pay stubs and wants them for his/her own records or 2) if someone needs to verify that s/he is working. It makes it easier on me because I can just verify the income without waiting for the clients to get it to me, but it also makes them lazier at times and downright uncooperative at others. Say, for instance, this client (see above).
**** I'm not planning on being here, but oh, well. She'll have to deal with someone else then.
***** Although I found out today that there was a caseworker who actually hit a client and s/he is still employed here. Maybe it was in self-defense, I don't know. And I don't think I'd ever take it that far, but still.
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