You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you still can come out of it.
– Maya Angelou
The irony in the picture above screams too loudly – this is exactly what is not being done, when it’s the exact thing that we should be doing as a Social Work profession. Haven’t felt this kind of disappointment since I started my journey in Social Work, till this whole incident occurred.
Where is the so-called social justice that we are supposed to stand up for? Where is the advocacy that we claim to be doing? How can one seem so nonchalant about the fact that there may be safety compromises in a family – one that they are unwilling to engage because “the family hasn’t given their consent”?
Why is it that, a Worker is willing to rigidly follow policies – aren’t we there to help those that fall through the cracks of such policies? While we acknowledge that there are indeed policies there, why are you letting yourself be limited by these policies? The very fact that you realise there are limitations – shouldn’t you actually be doing something about it?
What is our purpose then?
For the first time, I don’t know what to believe in anymore.
The anger within me is being surfaced by an underlying pool of disappointment. I’m disappointed at the service (or lack thereof) that is provided; I’m disappointed in the attitudes of the professionals that we’ve interacted with for this incident; I’m disappointed that the professionals are actually okay with such practices in their agency; I’m disappointed by the condescending tone that we received upon stepping into the agency & how we’re treated as though we’re totally clueless and don’t possess any knowledge at all.
& most importantly, I’m disappointed and ashamed to realise that all that I’ve believed in, all the passion and trust I have in this profession, this picture that I’ve painted mentally, is not all that it seemed to be.
It’s sad, and I acknowledge that this profession isn’t one that is fully recognised in our community yet. It’s sad that there are still misconceptions about what we do, or that we are powerless to help people. People may have their misconceptions, and while we strive to dispel them, maybe these misconceptions are built upon unsaid truths of people’s experiences. From what I witness through this incident, this agency is still, at its current development, no more than the hands of the puppet that policies control.
In the (near) future, may I never be someone that loses sight of the meaning of what being a Worker entails. Because today, I’m speaking as nothing more than a victim of the failure in service provided by an agency. & if I ever be such a Worker in the future, I will leave the profession.
And if I don’t, please make me.