Why I love my job – Celia Winter

    I hold a small, complex case load and supervise six staff. I
    didn’t (and still don’t) want to be a team manager because, despite
    my managerial experience, I am a practitioner at heart.

    The team is based in Leominster and our office is in the Old
    Priory, a beautiful listed building. Our desks are in the 11th
    century Chapel Infirmary. It has a great atmosphere, even without
    any hot water to wash our cups.

    My colleagues are one of the reasons I love my job – they’re
    friendly, interested and skilled, with a wealth of experience.
    Another reason is that we are a stable, fully staffed team. My
    manager treats the team with respect and the upper echelons of
    management are accessible. It feels safe working here – the
    department is small enough for people to retain information and
    share responsibility.

    I love the flexibility and freedom of my job. As it involves a
    lot of driving I get to enjoy the wonderful countryside. But the
    fact that it’s a beautiful part of the country does not mean we
    have a quiet life – the work can be extremely challenging.

    One frustration is the inability to do any preventive work – our
    departmental threshold is very high so, by the time cases come from
    the duty team, we are usually dealing with child protection or
    court cases.

    The last time I cried was three weeks ago when an adoption
    placement broke down. I cried with anger that the people who had
    been so carefully introduced decided they didn’t want him and I
    cried with despair about the chances of finding him someone
    new.

    I would advise anyone who is thinking about becoming an
    assistant team manager to gather experience and get over the “high
    anxiety” stage of social work before taking on a similar post. I am
    the middle of the sandwich between practice and management, and you
    need to be able to accept that and act as an honest broker.   

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