Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Today can just go fuck itself. I mean, really.

Most of you know that I work for the Department of Human Services (aka the food stamp office, aka the welfare office, aka the place that a lot of kids think is the doctor, etc.) and that it sucks big hairy donkey balls. And this is not to say that I do not enjoy the idea of what I do. The theory is awesome; the practice? Not so much.

Anyway, I'm the lead caseworker of a unit, a job that has it's perks*, but sometimes, it's like the Powers That Be decided that they could make slave labor out of those that are leads. That's right: we are still paid the same as a regular caseworker, but we have more responsibilities and do more shit. Because that seems fair to demand higher performance standards without offering commiserate pay. But who am I kidding. This is state government.

I came into work this morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from an awesome Father's Day weekend, to two messages I wasn't really wanting to see:

1) Email from a caseworker, saying she's sick and won't be coming in today.
2) Email from my supervisor, saying he won't be coming in today.

I'm pretty sure this is the sixth Monday in a row that my supervisor has either not come to work or has emailed me, telling me he'll be late, usually very late, for whatever reason. Not that I can't handle things - operations usually run smoother when he's not here, actually - but it's irritating.

Now, I'm not annoyed at the caseworker. She's competent and is usually at work, on time or early, but ugh. This just means that now I have to make sure her people get seen if they come in. Luckily, we have an EA (eligibility assistant) - for the purposes of this post, we'll call her Joan - who can do everything the caseworker does, except run and approve the case. And she was already on top of things by the time I got to work. Like, she had all the applications and the caseworker's schedule and everything.

Joan and I, today. [actual image]
So, I'm going about my morning, making sure that Joan has everything she needs and interviewing my people, when I get an IM at 11:15A from one of my favorite front desk workers, T. Honestly, there are only three people up there that I like and don't mind getting messages from, because it's usually not a dumb reason like, OMG THIS PERSON DOESN'T HAVE BENEFITS DO THEY NEED TO TURN IN AN APPLICATION OMGOMGOMG PLEASE RESPOND THE CLIENT IS WAITING!!! ZOMG!!!**

T: "Um, I don't know who's watching [name redacted]'s waiting list, but they've been here since 7?"

Um, what?

Name Redacted is another caseworker in my unit that has his schedule set from 9A - 6P. Not the schedule I would pick, because ew? At work until 6? No thanks. I checked my email, and nope, nothing from him at all. Then I checked the phone system, which showed that nope, he hadn't logged in. The fuck.

Me: The hell? Did you know he wasn't coming in? I sure as hell didn't.
T: No? I just checked our phones and he's not here.
Me: I'm going to kill something.

I was only halfway through my schedule; Joan has the other caseworker's shit to do.  Name Redacted's waiting list showed that there were four clients signed in for their appointments. Greaaaaaaaaaat. I flew into Supervisor Mode. I grabbed any applications I could find for today in NR's filing cabinet and instructed the other caseworkers that they would each have to take one. One tried to protest but quickly backed off when I pulled out my Pissed Off face.

"I have full schedule today, too, guys, and I'm taking more of his people than you, so you can just be quiet."

I was having none of this today.

Not only did I see over half of NR's schedule, I got yelled at by clients who were understandably pissed that they'd waited for over two hours to see a worker, even when I explained, "Look, I didn't even know he wasn't here until about, oh, ten minutes ago." I was able to get them in and out in a fairly quick manner, and I even had a few of them laughing and smiling as they left.

The rest of my unit kind of stayed out of my way most of the day. I'm pretty adaptable, as seen by my ability to handle this fuckery, but I absolutely hate when I have to pay for someone else's mistake. I had texted NR once things had kind of settled down and I didn't have four people out in the lobby, and he waited for about an hour before responding.


Which ... okay? So the email didn't go through to anyone? At all? I find this very hard to believe, since a) it's happened to me before and b) NR doesn't really have a history of lying. I may find his lack of empathy in anything off-putting, but he's generally a decent caseworker.

The rest of the day essentially was uneventful, save for a few outraged clients, although I nearly didn't get a lunch (only got 30 minutes to basically just get away from the office) and was doing paperwork until the very last second. I'm scheduled to leave at 4P and was just finishing up when ...


New IM from T.: "Um ... NR's 4 is here?"

I tried, without much success, to convince the guy to reschedule his appointment. I was tired; I had to get home so Three could take the car to work; I just needed to leave. But apparently, NR had actually told this guy to come in ... for a reason I still can't figure out. There was no reason he needed to have a face to face interview; it totally could have been done over the phone.

So whatever, I see the guy and let him know that his case won't be processed until later on this week, and he's actually just happy that he had the interview. I still didn't get to leave work until 5P, though, and it took me nearly 45 minutes to get home because of some inexplicably bad traffic. When I came into the bedroom and saw Three lying there, I just crashed. And slept until 8:50P, which means I am going to be up all night and ugh.

Just fuck this day.

* I won't have intakes (initial applications) next month. I have access to things like the S.A.V.E. database, which is used to verify permanent residency, and I can perform functions on our system that regular caseworkers cannot. Basically, I'm a Supervisor Lite: I can fly but I have no cape.

** I've actually had this conversation before.
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