Monday, April 23, 2007

Hitting the fan, part II

It's gotten worse at my internship. Last Friday when I arrived, I found out my supervisor was out with a sprained ankle. I asked the associate director, Miss Thing, to let me into my supervisor's office and she refused: "You can use the associate counselors' (A.C.) office."

A bit later, I had to get out of the A.C. office because a new candidate was there and Miss Thing wanted her to talk with one of the A.C.s. So I stood in the hallway for 15 minutes. Eventually, the housing manager (H.M.), who's friendly with me and my supervisor, let me into her office.

H.M. told me my supervisor had called in that morning to ask Miss Thing to let me into her office. Why didn't Miss Thing let me in? I don't know, but pure spite seems a likely candidate. Her dislike of my supervisor is generalizing to me. H.M. says Miss Thing threatened by me -- I don't know why, she's got 17 or so years of experience on me. Of course, I don't violate the social work code of ethics every time I open my mouth.

I wasn't going to take this sitting down (or standing in the hall). I called the head agency to complain that I didn't understand why Miss Thing would deliberately keep me out of my supervisor's office if my supervisor had said it was okay, and that I was frustrated about my projects not progressing. I wanted to talk to the clinical director but she wasn't in, so I spoke to Mr. Thing, who is involved in supervising internships throughout the agency. He said he would talk to her.

Then Miss Thing called me in to browbeat me for not coming to her directly about matters.

"Why didn't you ask me to let you into the office?"

"I did," I said. "When I came in today."

"I didn't hear that," she said. Really? Whatever. She tried to make it look like I was imagining and exaggerating problems, and I refused to give any ground. I was polite and soft-spoken, but I told her why I'd called the agency.

Miss Thing then began intimating that I spent too much time with my supervisor in her office, and she didn't know what we were always doing on the computer -- she said she never uses hers. (That's why she meets with residents but never puts a note in their charts.)

She told me I should use the child therapy room. I said it didn't have a computer and I couldn't do research on therapeutic interventions.

"It doesn't have a computer? I didn't know that." And she's the associate director? "I'm never on my computer. I see you sitting in there with Ms. (supervisor), and I wonder what the two of you are doing in there, always sitting at the computer."

Um -- working? Writing up notes for the charts?

"Well, sometimes I work on the schedule, since it was my idea," I said.

"It was? I wouldn't have let you do it," she said. Huh? What is wrong with an intern putting together a schedule so that the women who live here will actually know what groups to attend? Nobody else was going to do it.

The upshot was that she let me into my supervisor's office, and I got another call from Mr. Thing (apparently he's very close with Miss Thing) at the agency -- who told me that Miss Thing, my supervisor, and I were going to discuss changes in supervision. Which meant that they wanted to switch me to being supervised by Miss Thing. And that's NOT acceptable.

I'm sure that in my social work career I will have to deal with difficult people, but grad school is stressful enough. I don't want to face a nasty attitude every time I try to do something. And I got tons of attitude this morning, as I waited for her to finish reading something and let me into my supervisor's office. We were standing at the security desk, and the guard asked me if I needed anything.

"No -- I'm just waiting to be let in to Ms. (supervisor)'s office," I said. Miss Thing got mad. Apparently waiting for her to finish reading before asking her to let me in was rude.

So I called the agency's clinical director and told her about all this, and that I absolutely did not want to be put under Miss Thing's supervision. She reassured me that would never happen, so I feel a little better. But interacting with Miss Thing has been unpleasant all day, although she did let me conduct a very interesting resident's evaluation. But not the other new resident's evaluation; I don't know why.

As I told H.M. last week, while the situation was escalating, "I came here to learn -- and I'm not learning what I wanted to learn, but I sure am learning!"
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. Uch. That totally stinks. Good luck dealing with A.D.--can she possibly be any worse than Dr. Jerk?!