|Pop Culture Gadabout|
Thursday, November 25, 2010 |
( 11/25/2010 07:36:00 AM ) Bill S.
INTERESTING TIMES: As in the rest of the country, this is not a good time in the social services/behavioral health field. Money’s tight and the people being served have a pitiful amount of political clout. In Southeastern Arizona, where I’ve been working the past three years, I’ve been two periods of financial readjustment in the area. The first occurred a year-and-a-half ago when the child and family focused agency I was working for saw a major drop in referrals from the state’s Child Protective Services -- and subsequently laid off a significant amount of its staff, this writer included. The second just happened this month, with the behavioral health agency that’s most recently been my employer, laying off 140 of its workers in the region after losing something like two-thirds of its contract moneys.
This time, though, I wasn’t one of the let go. I had already handed in my two weeks’ notice at the place to move to a new agency coming into the community. I hadn’t originally planned to do this. I’d originally gone in to speak to the new guys about doing part-time crisis work at night -- something I’d been doing over the past year several nights a month -- when they’d phoned me to offer a full-time job. I agonized about the decision for days and finally decided to accept it. A week-and-a-half after I put in my notice, the big lay-offs were announced. Monday, I started at the new place.
I don’t congratulate myself too much on my decision -- anybody who tells you they feel secure these days is suffering from a severe case of the Pollyannas -- but at least I’m not going into this Thanksgiving with the image of a lay-off email burned into the back of my brain. I worry about my friends and former co-workers, though. Like I say, this is not a great time to be in the field where I’ve chosen to devote most of my working life. . .