Career clinic

I’m a front-line worker in children and families and for the
past year have found my caseload almost unbearable. I love the job
and like my colleagues. But, despite several recruitment drives, we
never have a full team. I’ve tried talking to my manager but she is
also overworked and stressed. I don’t want to leave but can’t carry
on like this.

Leaving is always an option but it doesn’t sound like you are in
the best frame of mind to make a balanced judgement about another
post or employer. It might be better to wait until you have time to
take leave and are in a more relaxed and objective frame of

Look at ways to improve the situation. Define the problem more
clearly. Is it the caseload or the workload that is too high?
Perhaps you are spending time on tasks that could be done by
someone else? Could you review the scope (or care plans) for each
case to something that is realistically achievable?

Communicate the problem and your proposed solutions more
effectively. Talking to a stressed and busy manager, particularly
if you are emotionally charged, is unlikely to be successful.
Prepare a short report for her outlining your findings and
suggestions for reducing the workload. Use positive language and
offer solutions.

Encourage other team members to express their concerns. Involve
your manager and avoid a them-and-us divide. Managers need evidence
to present to the next management tier. Alternatively, prepare an
exit interview report for your next supervision session, outlining
why you might leave and what needs to change to make you stay.

Addie Stevenson is director of children and family
services at the Aberlour Child Care Trust.

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