On the grapevine

Student social worker: “What are you doing out here in the rain.”

Team leader: “It’s the smoking ban.”

SSW: “Oh, yeah.”

TL: “The powers that be decided to turn the smoking room into a storage room. Now we have our very own room dedicated to post-it-notes and envelopes, and I get to stand outside in the rain smoking soggy fags. It won’t be my fault if I get a chill and have to take some time off sick. What are you doing out here anyway?”

SSW: “I’m just on my way back into the office – I was sent to buy biscuits for this afternoon’s team meeting.”

TL: “Glad to hear it. So, how is your placement going?”

SSW: “It’s reallyerr, interesting. I’m learning a lot about how a council social services department runs.”

TL: “About what? I think you’ll find there’s no such thing anymore – we’re now split into adult services and children’s services don’t forget.”

SSW: “Yes, of course – not quite got my head round that yet. The placement’s going OK. Everything’s different to how it is at college though. In lectures, it’s all about theories, human rights and putting the user at the centre. But here, it’s all about bending the eligibility rules to try and get people services, about working out who to speak to in other agencies and how to get hold of them, and about juggling pots of money. It’s been a real eye-opener.”

TL: “Tell me about it! And don’t forget the indicators! No social worker’s day is complete without filling in some form for the bean counters either here or in central government.”

SSW: “Oh – I wondered what those stacks of papers on the desks were.”

TL: “Anyway, what are you doing for lunch?”

SSW: “I quite fancy a burger. Is there a burger place nearby?”

TL: “Yes, on the high street. I might have one too – you can’t beat a burger on a rainy day.”

SSW: “Haven’t you got a meeting in half an hour – won’t it get cold?

TL: “Not if you run back.”


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