Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The neverending job search

Sometimes it feels that way. But I'm getting close to a conclusion, I think. I went for a follow-up interview at the program I'd rather take a job at (as opposed to the one that offered me a job), and I believe it went well. And today I underwent an exhilarating group interview with another candidate. We were both interviewing for Site Director positions at different branches of yet another human services agency.

You heard me. Site Director. I'd be supervising 12 case managers. Which is a little daunting, but I think I can handle it -- as long as I don't make the same mistakes I made at my last job. And I think I need some therapy to process that trauma, because last night my social work mentoring group thought I still seemed "wounded" from the experience -- and more than a little jaded about employers and co-workers. They also saw leadership and administrative potential in me, though, so overall I found their comments helpful. I'll find a new therapist as soon as I know where and when I'm working.

Today's interview was interesting. There were two candidates -- myself and a middle-aged woman wearing jeweled thong sandals. I was envious, as it's rather steamy in NYC today and I was wearing nylons and closed-toe shoes. I also disdained her a little for unprofessional interview garb, but she did have to go to work after the interview and I just had to go to my doctor for a physical.

We faced a panel of eight agency higher-ups -- other site directors, a program director (PD), a deputy director, and a senior case manager. It was intense but very friendly. PD told the other interview candidate, "I need you to calm down." She didn't need me to do anything, so I felt confident I was doing pretty well.

When PD called me last week to schedule the interview, I was surprised because the agency provides care for HIV + individuals. I have had HIV+ clients, but my expertise is more in dual diagnosis. As it turns out, however, while HIV+ status is the inclusion criterion, virtually all of their clients also have dual diagnoses.

It doesn't surprise me. I was interviewing for a site that focuses on women, and most of the HIV+ women I've worked with had extensive histories of childhood and adult sexual trauma. Childhood trauma often leads to adult psychopathology as well as unsafe sexual practices. The agency takes a very holistic view of providing care (of which I approve), and often unresolved trauma blocks people from making progress in other areas of their lives. So they're looking for someone with a strong dual diagnosis background to help the case managers help the clients.

It would be a big scary challenge -- tons of paperwork, responsibility for billing and other administrative stuff -- but that's better than a boring rote job. In the past I've risen to the challenge a number of times. I just need to walk a careful line between doing an excellent job and making myself sick. I got sick a number of times while trying to be the dual diagnosis recovery program coordinator at my last employer, and in the end it wasn't worth it because they just saw me as a volatile screwup. No gratitude whatsoever. (See why I'm jaded?) I also need to manage my professional relationships very carefully.

In mood news, last week I had one really horrible day, when I thought my life would never get better and starting planning suicide. The day after that, I got my period and didn't think suicide was a good option. I still don't. Another reminder than when you have bipolar disorder, PMS isn't a cultural joke -- it's clinically significant.

I've blogged about BPMS several times, but somehow I still fall prey to it every so often. So I signed myself up for PMS Buddy, an email alert that warns you when PMS is imminent. I enrolled Ivan the Terrible while we were dating, and I assume he's opted out by now, but hopefully it will remind me that my worst depressions aren't real -- they're the result of a perfect storm of hormones, frustration, and mood lability.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful, insightful post. I look forward to hearing good news on the job front. As far as lingering trauma from your last job, I still have bad dreams about my last two gigs. Talking it thru with someone makes sense. But it seems like you have learned from the experience so that's great. And finally, I should sign up for PMS Buddy as well! For me anyway these mood swings are getting more intense as I get older (sigh). But awareness is more than half the battle.

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