When I need inspiration – I write. I need to be in a space I can really feel and be on my own. I’ve learnt this from many unproductive hours sat in the wrong spaces. It sets the tone for everything to be achieved. When somewhere works, I go back there time and time again, exhausting the environment until it’s inspiration no longer delivers. My friend Holly finds this concept particularly funny, she can’t understand how I don’t get distracted by so much of an atmosphere. She always laughs when she walks in to the busiest cafe / bar / restaurant and finds me and the Mac. But it’s that exact atmosphere of activity that inspires me to focus. Give me isolated silence coupled with a busy head and it’s safe to say I’d go insane. The buzz of people, thinking and talking is such a lovely feeling. I often feel small in such vast settings, which makes it perfect. So here I am again, same place, same food, same waiter. Same funny smile on my face, purely thinking that I am the least likely person to enjoy continuity, yet here I am seeking (and enjoying) exactly that.
It’s been months since I wrote for the blog, not for lack of inspiration but because priorities needed to shift. I had a tougher time than anticipated adjusting to a change in my role and finished a hectic run of four events across the UK in three months. It’s great to keep taking the events out of London and meeting more students and qualified social workers. It brings home the struggles they continue to face and makes me wonder what changes are ‘we’ making to ensure the same issues are not faced by them as were faced by me four years ago. And still being faced by me today.
Some months ago I wrote about struggling with my limitations to affect change. Tirelessly this is apparently something I’m continuing to battle with. It’s frustrating to write for an extension of reasons. I keep little in my personal life, which I’m not 100% happy with. Why would I ?! As I’ve aged (nope, my face still won’t, I’ll thank myself when I’m 50 I hear) this is a choice I’ve invested in and it pays off. If it doesn’t work, I can make changes easily enough. But it means when I’m placed in work situations, where affecting change is one of THE most challenging things to achieve in the public sector, the daily frustrations I face, mean my motivations to do this job effectively a) take a bashing b) impact on how well I’d like to do it and c) I question if the delivery is compromised. Oh and d) I moan. I know the crowd that gathers on social media mirrors this frustration. So what can I do to stop this running me in to the ground?
It is not my job role to impact organisational change. So why I am trying to change anything? Serenity tells me I am one of those people who lack the ‘wisdom to know the difference’. I can change roles or consider a progression, but I have zero desire to do this. I know my frustrations would increase tenfold. I work on the frontline and it’s where I plan to stay for now. So accept the daily struggle? Hmmmmm, that’s tough. However, if ruin really is the road to transformation, maybe this element of acceptance is necessary to support an ultimately better outcome. We can hope.
Here’s the problem, those people who implement grandiose ideas and transformations across this profession (the effectiveness of which, or to whose benefit is often very little known) were likely social workers one day. Did they forget that frontline empathy, struggle, concern or did the vision simply change? Maybe one day that will be me, maybe my progression will take me in that frightening direction. But by that stage of my career it will be too late. My head will not be the same as it is today (in many ways thankfully…) by then, will I have newfound detachment and be guided by arguably stronger factors; those of finance and policy and heads higher than mine? We’re missing a trick if that’s the case – the fresh eyes, the real change makers. They’re right here, right now. They are entering this profession and recognising instantly what needs changing, they are the people to be listened to, communicated with. I meet them and they are good – really good, but I see their ceiling too. Let’s catch them now before they get influenced. These days I believe impacting change on bigger, global scales will be easier to achieve than at local levels. And I have never thought like that. So yes for me, it’s time to make some changes. This is the area I am in. I need to embrace it.
I’m not entirely sure what this means. Leave the profession, nah. Leave what I’ve worked hard to achieve, nah. Leave the mentality behind > I think so. Seek other ways to build a wider message. Create a group, a network, join Twitter, a conference, an iamsocialwork event, being part of something bigger enables motivation and with that comes support, so struggles like these do not surface.
Last point : Self excavate.
I go back to this time and time again. Two years doing this was the best time I ever invested in myself. The process of understanding what your boundaries are, what you can give and your expectations, but more importantly what you *want* is crucial to how you function. If you look and think, you can understand – and that’s where the clarity is. I’m not talking hedonistic self-help, but giving yourself time to know.
No matter our levels of spontaneity or impulsivity, we work better if we’re taught the reasons for change. We are humans and effectively creatures of habit. Powers that be would do good to remember that. As would I.
Go and seek the truth x