Taking the Job in Stride
Mr. Butler

Now that she’s in the Social Services Office, Joy has to cut the mustard.  Will she pass or will she be, like many before her, another fired employee.

The thing Joy is most concerned about is her days off.  Yes, becoming a Case Manager is a reward for hard work but Case Managers’ days off may be during the week.  There’s also the hours.  She knows of two past Case Managers who reported to work at 5 PM and left at 1 AM.  Between hours and days off, it is the days off that concern her. 

Maybe I can suggest days off to Ms. J.  Maybe when she knows that I have a class on Saturdays, she’ll cut me some slack.

Joy’s pitch goes unsaid because Juliette walks over to her desk and places a sheet of paper with the following work schedules written on it:

1.  Mon, Tues, Thurs 8 am – 4 pm; Weds & Fri 2 pm – 10 pm

 2.  Sun, Mon, Weds 8 am – 4 pm; Tues & Thurs 2 pm -10 pm

Joy, please circle the number beside the work schedule you will do, please.

Joy circles the number one.  She looks up at her boss and says:

Ms. J, I am so happy to have my weekends to myself.  I have a class Saturday afternoons.  This works out so well.

Okay.  Let’s see how well you’re able to get to work at 8:00 AM Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  Juliette slides the paper off Joy’s desk and walks back to her desk.  Joy admires Juliette’s fashion sense.  Her clothes, hair, and nails are very snazzy.  She’s one plump woman who is quite comfortable with herself.  While she cleans her desk, PC monitor, keyboard, and printer, Joy thinks about her boss’s figure:

I wonder what kind of isometric exercises does she do.  She’s cinched in and poked out in all the right places for such a plump body. She’s the ‘New Mae West’. 

Juliette, Director of Social Services

Of course, she would never ask the question.  That would be too risky for Joy.

Juliette returns to Joy’s cubicle to hand her one folder and two binders:

This green binder contains a simulation of an average client’s binder.  It contains the psychosocial assessments, Independent Living Plans–we call them ILPs–meeting notices, and progress notes generated from the interagency online tracking system–we say OITS–and copies of various personal records that you will collect from your clients or have them get.  For example, birth certificates, social security cards, passports,  driver’s licenses, medical exams and reports, pay stubs, and more.

This black binder contains a presentation on the grounds and steps leading to issuing a client a 30-day suspension from a homeless shelter.  This folder contains various flyers we tend to put up around the cubicles to help the clients and CMs navigate the homeless shelter system and New York City better.  You can hold on to them for about three weeks.  Mind now, that you have to get this under your belt as soon as possible.  Helen will arrange for you to get trained on the OITS at the main office.

Joy is happy that the Case Manager training is more organized than what she had as the Vocational Program Coordinator.  Okay, I’ll look through them a few times and return them to you.

As days pass, her understanding of the job deepens.  She still has not done  an ILP with a client. Rather, the most senior Case Manager Mr. Butler is responsible for teaching her the OITS.  She and Butler had got on very well when she was in her previous role, so it is a pleasure to sit beside him as he explains which icon or tab to press to complete a task, though he may click an icon and forget to tell her.  Butler is still responsible for meeting his daily and weekly case load requirements as he’s teaching Joy.

Homelessness Can Happen To Anyone

Getting Your Own Keys chronicles the professional odyssey of Joy Duggins, a resourceful and encouraging service provider in a Central Brooklyn men’s homeless shelter.  It gives a peek into NYC homeless services procedures and much workplace drama.  http://gettingyourownkeys.blogspot.com/

What’s the goal of providing temporary emergency shelter?  Getting Your Own Keys


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of BK Reader.

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Akosua Albritton

Akosua is a communicator who loves to inform, engage, and enable her fellow New Yorkers. You may find her in a classroom, in an auditorium, or on a city street teaching the social sciences. Her favorite...

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