As a county caseworker for social services, I’m often faced with demanding clients who seem to think I’m there to fix every single situation that comes down the road. You name it, they will drop it in your lap.
I’m one of 4 case managers in my department, all of us stressed out, bogged down and overwhelmed with the insanity we face on a daily basis.
My favorite conversation with clients usually goes something like this.
Client: “My landlord called and said I have to be out in 3 weeks if I don’t pay rent.”
Me: “Why aren’t you paying your rent?”
Client: “Cause I don’t have any money.”
Me: “That’s not true. Social services pays your rent, and you also have some cash we send you every month. So I’ll ask you again. Why aren’t you paying your rent?”
Client: “cause I have to buy food and stuff”.
Me: ” You get food stamps.”
Me: “So? So didn’t we discuss a budget process where you could afford everything you need? ”
Client: “Whatever. Just fix my problem.” That’s your job.”
Me: “No, that’s not my job. My job is to help you get stabilized, not to bail you out everytime you use money we provide you for things other than what it’s intended for.”
Client: “You people are useless, I’m outta here!”
At this point, the client storms off, and I go back to my office. I make a round of phone calls, and find out the client has been violating the tenant agreement, never paid one once of rent, and sometimes that the landlord even went as far as to work out an agreement with the client to help them out. As I dig further, I find out my client has been arrested a few times throughout the month for either drug possession, violation of probation, or a slu of other issues.
A few hours later, my phone is ringing with returned phone calls from parole officers and public defenders.