When this blog was first conceptualized, I decided that it would be a blog wherein I did not comment on the comments. I know that most blogs do but I also knew that I would find that the extra work involved would end up having me resent the blog over time. Thus, though I love getting comments, I do not typically respond to them. I certainly, in three years, have only once, maybe twice, pulled something from the comment section into the blog itself. I hesitate to do this, and I apologize, now, publically, if I overtly offend the comment maker.
To a recent blog, someone wrote:
Please don't always attribute 'their own agenda' or bad intentions into what is sometimes just lack of good training, laziness, or dysfunctional work hierarchies where the staff on the bottom get beaten down regularly.
Generally staff at human service agencies work long hours, get low pay, don't get respect from folks in the worlds of commerce, education, government, OR EVEN their own supervisors and bosses....and if you are not treated respectfully it is hard to always be respectful to others.....
And to this I respond:
I cannot disagree more. I cannot disagree with greater vigour. I cannot stay silent in the face of this comment.
Now much here is true. People come into human services for a variety of reasons. Some with a passion, some with a need, most with good in their hearts. They come up against unfeeling systems and overbearing supervisors with unrealistic expectations. I get all that. I get that the system is frustrating and that working with people while you work with people is doubly difficult. I have been a front line staff. I have had to stifle myself in the face of ridiculous advice from supervisors who were just a signature away from madness. Truly, I get that.
I understand that we have to be alert to the needs of all who comprise the service system, from those who man the gates to those who sleep in the beds. We have to develop ways of kindness in our ways up and down the heirarchies and in and out of interactions. I understand that. I do. Truly I do.
But I do not accept that there is an excuse for abuse, a rationale for the misuse of power, an explanation for purposeful hurt.
Let's listen in to some apologies:
Sorry I beat you about the head, dear wife, but you see, my proposal was rejected by my supervisor and then presented later as his own work. You understand don't you?
Sorry, I sexually touched you, dear child, but you see my husband is often away and I was feeling negleted and wanting. You understand don't you?
or, as the comment suggested:
Sorry, I treated you with scorn and disrespect, dear client, it's just that my supervisor's a witch and my pay's a bitch.
None of these makes even the slightest bit of sense. Going home and excusing yourself for mistreating another, misusing your power, mishandling your touch, because of where you are in a heirarchy ... that's just dangerous. You are beginning to use the language of victimizers the world over - 'poor me' 'poor me hurt you' 'not poor me's fault' 'forgive poor me, you must, I do'.
Yes the system needs work.
But the system does not have hands - except yours.
The system does not have a voice - except yours.
The system does not have a touch - except yours.