Friday, July 17, 2009

I got a new job ...

"One that won't make me sick/ one that won't make me crash my car/ or make me feel three feet thick."

Today was my last day at the local mental health clinic, an organization that has employed me since 2002. I start Monday (well, actually, Sunday) at the counseling center of one of the local colleges.

I was cleaning out my office today, and I swear I found some of the most interesting stuff, such as notes, newspaper articles, treatment exercises, et cetera. It was hard not to stop and read through these things, just to reminisce on the aspects of the job that I will miss, and of course, the aspects that I won't.

I really liked working for the clinic I left, if not necessarily the clinic where I started, nor the overall clinical system that permeated through the other surrounding counties. In fact, I was never too enamored with this state's mental health department to begin with. To say that the mentally ill have very little representation at our state's capitol level would be an understatement; there's a long history of DMH commissioners, just in my short time working here, coming in just to steal state air, accumulate state dust, and earn fat state money.

Medicaid drives much of what we do, as far as treatment is concerned. It's also been the catalyst for flat-out fraudulent practices, the likes of which I can strongly say that I've avoided engaging in, because I've got fucking integrity. My peers, and the occasional supervisor, on the other hand, they can't say the same. It's been free entertainment to see the big Medicaid syphoning services get approved for clients that don't need them, but then when the audits come, to see those same clients, "sick" enough to need that daygroup program three or four days a week, suddenly be stepped down to a lesser service, simply based on the words "invalid justification of increase in services." All of which was approved in the first place by the Big Giant Head in the managerial meetings ... verbally, of course, not in writing. And surprisingly, the minutes of said meeting fail to mark this information either.

Bah on it all, I say. I did groups, individual therapy, and crisis management, never waivering much beyond my capacities. I saw some of the sickest of the sick, and I was able to help them where I could. I saw the most manipulative assholes on the block, and I screened them right out the front door. And, as of yesterday, I went full circle, when the first client I ever met from the clinic (who was sick at the time) ended up being the last client I saw at the clinic; unfortunately, he was sick then too, and needed inpatient treatment. Godspeed, dude. It wasn't personal, it was just business.

For the life of me, I can't figure out some of my old paperwork, though. I found two pieces that I have been wanting to share with you since I found them earlier this morning. The first is one that I think I can remember the context of, but the second baffles me as to why I thought it was important enough to write down & subsequently try to remember.

The first:
"God is not self-actualized." This is actually a derivative of a comment from one of my regulars, who was pontificating on his belief in God, and how God, being all knowing and all powerful, still requires the most egosyntonic of needs, that of acceptance, love, worship. And when He doesn't acquire these needs, he succumbs to rage & vengeance (in the Old Testament, granted), which are human emotions that, by all fair accounts, God should be far beyond experiencing. Heady thoughts, indeed.

The second note?
"ass /= coitus" Yep, "ass does not equal coitus." I'm scratching my head over that, which is odd, because you'd certainly think that would stand out. What kind of discussion generates that kind of a note, and one that apparently needed to be documented?

Anyway, Monday officially begins the new professional chapter, one which affords a lot of new opportunities. I have a shot at doing some adjunct work & teach a few classes, which was a lot of fun when I did it before. I have the ability now too, to volunteer for the local mental health advocacy association, which is sorely needed. Add this to the time I now gain to not only test for my license, but to also enroll in an accredited, online doctoral program, and the sky's truly the limit.

Today, I got cupcakes & a Wal-Mart gift card for $30. In seven years, despite some hard ass work & time spent giving my blood to mental health, I had never been voted my clinic's employee of the year. Eh, I'll take the $30.


Rev. Joshua said...

Congratulations on finding a new job that is hopefully rewarding and satisfying. A lot of the stories you shared about working for the state of South Carolina gave the impression that the job weighed heavily on your time beyond what should normally be expected as well as your mental state. Good luck with it.

Ron said...

Congrats as well, and welcome to higher ed. Hopefully now you will have less interactions with SLED. Read up on eating disorders and test anxiety.

Nate said...

Thanks for the encouragement, guys. Honestly, yes the job wore me out, from the standpoint of the unreasonable paperwork demands and ridiculous administrative interruptions. Case in point, I was intervening in a clinic-based crisis with one of the clients, when an IT guy called from the central office to ask me about my computer and needed to ask me questions about it. When I told the secretary to take a message and I'd call him later, he gets irritated & says that he needs to talk to me now 'cause he "doesn't have all day." I asked the secretary to hand me the phone, take it off hold, I said, "Tracy?" When he responded, I said, "I'm busy" and hung up the phone.

It's funny you mention SLED, too, because I found an old tape of dude calling them and harassing them. I might work that into the next mixtape audio file, which will be done soon after I get my new computer up and running.

I was out and about this afternoon, and I bumped into a PA from the Abbeville ER. He asked me how's tricks, so I told him that Friday was my last day. He then tells me about how much the staff liked me over in the ER, and how much I'll be missed, and I quipped about how funny it is that sometimes people don't hear that kind of thing until they leave a job. But better to hear it then, than never. Plus, I was confident enough in my skills that I never really needed the outside praise that often psych work staff demand. And I really did some good stuff to help a lot of people there. Now, I can do some good stuff to help a lot of people somewhere else.