I joined my current work place mid-December, during which time, two members of the team were leaving. It’s hard to start a workplace with members leaving. I’ve previously joined teams but never met the member of staff I’m replacing. I must admit I prefer it that way. There is always a great sense of loss amongst certain member of the team when someone leaves and some people really struggle. For the most part it is not a easy transition and it takes time for the team to adapt. Team dynamics have also shifted and as a new worker, it takes some time to find your feet. Some workers are always more welcoming and open to receiving a new member to the team than others. And like with any workplace, there are certain clicks and groups which have formed and continued to develop for example, a smokers group. More often than not, these people will take a break together and go out for a smoke. It is a rather exclusive group but back in London, I would join the smokers, I don’t smoke but I would take a break with them. Our team dynamics were such that we socialised together outside of work, well most of us.
Here, with my current team, I would say it is similar. I live round the corner from one member of staff which is handy. She moved down from up north and is one of the homelessness workers in the team. She is friendly and warm and also very kind. She helped me move from my old flat to my current place. She gives me a lift to work every day and she drops me off at the airport. She is also a positive person like me, we tend to look for the silver lining and have a can do attitude. When we have crazy days at work, we have each others back and are supportive. We are both passionate about making a difference and are in it to support women rather than for the money. She constantly makes me laugh when she pronounces words in her Australian accent. She has three sisters, no brothers like me. And as part of her social work degree, she and others got the opportunity to travel to India so she has a sound understanding if my culture. I would say overall, she is a ball of sunshine, she has been a shoulder to cry on and someone I have laughed so hard with that I cried. She has seen my true colours, the crazy, the loud, hears me f and blind and not judged me so what more could one ask for me?
It was through this member of staff that I met her flatmate. She also studied social work and went to India. She supports young people with drug and alcohol issues. She is a free spirit and a tree hugging hippie like me. When asked what she would like for her birthday, she answered, world peace and an end to poverty. That’s my kind of person. She has a big heart and is a great friend. She is a yoga lover and does mediation. Whenever I enter their place, there is a strong scent of candles burnings and incense sticks. Books more than music says a lot about a individual and they have a extensive book collection ranging from Buddhism and the Bhagavad Gita to The Alchemist and Oslo. As Foucault said, knowledge is power and these books are a clear reflection of this and creativity.
I am also good friends with another member of staff at work. She and I started at the same time, she was covering reception at the time but then stayed on to complete her second social work placement. I’m real happy that she did stay on. She is an optimistic person, always looking on the bright side and making the most of each day. She is not a moaner or a downer, she is not the type of person who likes to gossip either. What you see is what you get, no bull shit. She is a planner, partly because it’s in her nature but also because she has a daughter. I also believe that having a child shift’s your focus and you have a greater understanding on what really matters. She has a dream and is on track to achieve it. What I love most about her is she is content with what she has in life and where she is in life. She is not greedy or jealous, she is happy with all that she has and embraces it. That’s my kind of person. None of us have everything and many of us have a far from perfect life but if we can give thanks and be grateful for what we have, we realise just how blessed we are.
I admire another member of staff greatly, she like me is one of the counsellors. She is older and I see her more as a mother figure and not solely a friend. She used to work at this organisation and then worked for Queensland Health. I didn’t know her when I first started but I was drawn to her energy. I knew just how amazing she was even before I actually got to know her. I was right, she is one amazing woman, teammate, mother and friend. There are days when we both get overwhelmed or are really moved by a client’s story but we are their for each other. She admires me travelling and working abroad but I admire her. She too isn’t one to complain or moan about matters rather she is invested in supporting her clients and the team.
When I started, one of the counsellors here left as she had been granted funding to finish her PhD. Consequently she offered to be a external supervisor for staff at the centre. Now given I had the opportunity to meet her before she left, I knew she was a wonderful woman from whom I could learn a great deal. She has a kind and caring nature and is very supportive within the team. I chose her as my external supervisor and it is one of the best decisions I’ve made. She manages to show me the positive no matter what I’m discussing and she leaves me feeling heard. I feel better about myself as she focuses on my qualities and how I’m growing as a counsellor and within the team. She is my role model, I would love to be as developed, humble and confident as her one day as a practitioner. In my last session, she told me that I inspire her which baffled me at first but later it made me smile. I forget that my story, my journey and sometimes just me as an individual, inspires others.
I was sad to see one of the staff members leave, she was a homelessness worker. We weren’t terribly close but I grew to love her sense of sarcasm and humour. She is leaving as she found a job with better pay and one which enables her to study. I like to think she will enjoy her new role and will benefit greatly. I don’t accept or leave a job based on pay but I appreciate it is a factor when you have a mortgage to pay and have children. With her gone, the team dynamics change again. Sometimes a team bonding well is luck but other times its a result of hard work and intervention. It is inevitable that you will not get along with everyone and sometimes no matter how hard you try, someone will feel left out. This is my third female only workplace and sure gender plays into the dynamics. Sometimes we as women, let our own kind down because we are too busy being negative and it’s a great shame. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we always supported our own kind, if we supported and helped women up as opposed to judging them and pushing them down. I love supporting and working with women but that’s not to say that we all share the same values or enforce them. I long for that day.