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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Helping

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Helping

An occasion that sticks in my mind right now and may have been one of the first indications of being led to my current career occurred about 9 years ago when I was a customer service manager in the motor trade. It was the result of a complaint that came through, not as a result of a service issue, but a guy who had applied for a job at the dealership and not received a favorable reply. My boss back then would not have approved of the fact that I gave the guy 20 minutes of my very busy time just to sit and listen to someone I know for sure these days, was suffering with stress and depression. Fortunately, the boss wasn't around that day and never knew. The event still sticks in my mind though. He showed me some of his artwork that day and thanked me for my time. I was confused then because I felt glad that I'd helped him, but also felt guilty for temporarily abandoning my job role at that time.

I've spent the last four years helping people as a support worker now. It has very much had it's ups and downs. I've considered throwing the towel in on more than a couple of occasions. There are so many domestic issues that you can get caught up in whilst trying to keep boundaries and be professional that sometimes I've found it all too easy to lose focus on the reasons why I'm in that role. There have been many times when I've just not felt capable of performing. The important lesson learned here is that ones own needs must come first in order to be effective. That's not being selfish, it's simply being aware that a balance must be struck. When you get worn down, cynicism and suspicion creep in that can cause a rift with those that you had set out to help. There is no getting away from it. This happens from time to time. It is at those times that I eventually find my way back to the start and re-connect with the motivation for doing the work in the first place.

Thoughts along these lines have been in my mind in the last few days and I've been meaning to get it written down. If anything, it was much clearer a few days ago than it is now. It's just that I was too tired to write it all out then.

So...... here are my summary thoughts on helping (in no particular order).

1. Be aware of your on limitations and needs.
2. Remind yourself of the original vision for doing the work.
3. Ensure you have a good support team around you.
4. Ensure your own needs are met first to give you strength.

Well..... that is as many as I can think of at the moment...

One quandary though. I have great admiration for folk that achieve amazing feats..... those that survive alone in desperate circumstances.... those that are able to give so much of themselves without complaint and deny their own needs. I wonder how they do it? There is a temptation to emulate, but maybe that would be self seeking on my part. Again, I think I have become aware of my own limitations.

Does anyone else have any comments on this subject?

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