Career/Job Advice, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Some Words to Work By

Having worked in the field of Social Services for many years, I can acknowledge quite openly that the way I think and interact with my clients and co-workers has changed over the years. Call it maturity, wisdom, experience, even trial and error, but I like to think it’s a sign of growth and continuous understanding. Many have guided me along.

And so, I would like to pass on some thoughts and advice to anyone interested; whether you are a client, a customer, a seasoned professional or just launching your career, I hope you’d agree that sharing such information might prove a good read and useful. Take what you will, leave the rest, add your own as you choose.

  • Listen attentively in order to determine exactly where your clients are in this moment.
  • Don’t assume the goals you’d have in someone else’s place will be theirs.
  • Be forgiving of those who fall short. Find the positives in what they did and start anew.
  • Surround yourself with positive people whenever you can; you’ll be happier.
  • Trust in your Supervisor when you’re asked to. Leave things with them.
  • Be observant, learn from everyone. Your teacher might be a client with a problem.
  • Build a personal code of ethics and follow your moral compass. It always points North.
  • Share what you can with those at any and all levels who are open to learning.
  • You’re skimming without reflecting. Pause, reflect, consider.
  • Make sure you only hit, “Reply All” when it’s appropriate.
  • If you are in a position of influence, do so with the best of others in mind.
  • Do your best whether you run a corporation or dig ditches. Take pride in your work.
  • If the job isn’t for you, get out without regret over money or benefits. Save yourself.
  • Hope is sometimes all people have; you may in their eyes be that Hope. Think on that.
  • Be consistent with your answers and your actions. That’s your reputation growing.
  • Work productively when no one is watching and a lesser you could get away with it.
  • Be a person of integrity; you’ll come to admire the person you see in the mirror.
  • Humour can lighten many a stressful situation.
  • Smiles cost nothing to give and often have the power to appear on others when given.
  • Be a Superhero and discover your super power.
  • Offer to help a co-worker when you can, learn to ask for help when you should.
  • If you’re lowest on the hierarchy, you influence the people who matter the most.
  • Dress yourself not for your current job, but for the job you eventually want.
  • Be kindest to the people who are most affected by the quality of your work.
  • Even when you are at the top of an organization, you needn’t look down at people.
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.
  • Being asked for help is acknowledgement of your ability to provide it.
  • Do what’s right; always.
  • Be punctual at all times which respects the time of others.
  • Apologize when you make a mistake. It takes two words; “I’m sorry.” Done.
  • When you say, “Good morning,” mean it.
  • If you ask someone, “How are you today?” wait for the answer.
  • No matter how much you know, you’ll never know it all; keep learning anyhow.
  • Every now and then, stretch yourself and try something challenging.
  • Get out into the sun and clear your head. Breathe in some good air. Repeat.
  • Every so often, “No” is the word you are looking for.
  • There’s always a way to say, “Yes.” “Is there the will?” is the question.
  • Re-read your job description at least once a year. Surprise yourself.
  • Thank the person with a note who cleans your office. Surprise them.
  • Be considerate of others who share your work-space.
  • Others have to find their way just as you did. Let them make small mistakes.
  • People are counting on you; don’t let yourself down.
  • Be proud of the scars. You survived whatever assaulted you.
  • Get help before things completely fall apart. Know your limit.
  • Kind words build good working relationships.
  • Be someone to look up to even when you’re at the bottom.
  • Market yourself, promote your skills and abilities.
  • Your next job interview has already begun. Someone is always watching.
  • Get over yourself; others can replace you and maybe do things better.
  • On your very first day, think what they’ll say about you when you retire.
  • Know when it’s time to move on and have the courage to leap.
  • Even in bad times, see the bigger picture.
  • Every so often, get up and watch the day break over you.
  • There is usually at least one other solution than the one that you know.
  • People are entitled to hold their own opinion.
  • As you age, realize things aren’t black and white, right and wrong.
  • You can make a difference, and it always starts between the ears.

I certainly don’t mean to come across as a philosopher or a preacher. The ideas and thoughts above are just this mornings thoughts passed on for you to take in, think about, possibly act on or share.

You I’m sure have your own intelligence, wisdom, advice, and suggestions which are also valuable. And so, I would encourage you to pass that on to your clients, your peers and me. There is much to be said for learning things on your own, trial and error excetera, but advice offered is a valued gift.

By Kelly Mitchell

*Re-posted with permission. Original can be found at:


Shared via Sacred Dying – The Right Paperwork for Your End-of-Life Wishes –

An excellent blog post!

This quote stood out the most for me, “This family had planned and communicated about end-of-life issues more than most ever do, but they still hadn’t been shown how to kick the ball through the goal post.”
How does a family, a patient ensure their Advance Care Directive is followed/honored?

“The advance directive should be seen as a conversation starter, an idea generator, a philosophical tool. It is a guide for your loved ones to work with your doctors and make decisions that are based on your goals and values as the situation unfolds. Its purpose is to chart the broad strokes, to delineate the guiding principles.

But it simply cannot be a detailed list of dos and don’ts.”

More education, more training for both professionals and lay people is needed re: this topic.

Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

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Adding a voice to the conversation

This is an excellent blog post and explains the confusion around the word PALLIATIVE CARE.
Education and training are needed for both professionals and for lay people. Comfort, compassion, friendship…pain management, support to the client and family/friends……no one should suffer.

Hospice Matters

by Jaqueline Lee, UNC School of Medicine

Conversation imageWe knocked on the door to our next patient’s door. She was a new resident at a rehabilitation and nursing facility just outside of Charlotte. “We are from palliative care” we explained to her nurse who was busy giving a bath to our patient’s roommate. She looked back, a look of concern taking over her face. “Oh no I’m so sad to hear that, I thought she was doing okay” she said, referring to the patient we were to visit.

We later went on to meet our patient, a sweet older lady who had just celebrated her 100th birthday the day before. She had a set of bouncing balloons in her room and photos of her many children and grandchildren up on the wall. After a short conversation we confirmed, just as her nurse had said, she was doing just fine; however, a…

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Pondering A Social Services Career?

Social Services, Mental Health, Health Services, Social Work, Counselling-all good professions and yes often those of us who go into the field do so because we want to, because we want to make a difference, because we have a strong desire to make the world better in whatever way we can.

Kelly is correct in that no matter if you work with 2 children, 2 families or 2 seniors the issues presented may be similar, but no two stories are the same!

It is important to find your niche demographic and the only way to do this is to volunteer, have internships/stages or work with various populations and specializations. No matter how many years in the field or working with a specific population, it is important to know when you are in ‘over your head’ or working with a client whose issues are beyond what you can handle as a professional.

As Kelly said; “Being present, being available, providing that one safe haven where the marginalized and often-judged can relax a little and not feel pestered, abused, used, and devalued might be enough.”

Employment Counselling with Kelly Mitchell

So you’re thinking of getting into the field of Social Services? Why? I’ll bet it’s because you want to help people; make a difference. Noble of you really, and we can never have enough good people with good intentions who care and are willing to serve others.

Social Services however is pretty broad though isn’t it? I mean helping people is a pretty all-encompassing statement that you’re going to have to narrow down somewhat in order to determine the population demographics you want to work with. So for example is it children, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults or seniors? And there’s more. The unemployed? Those in the corrections system? The field of addictions, (alcohol and drug, prescription medication abuse)?

Maybe you’re thinking of the homeless or those who have been physically, mentally or sexually abused? We haven’t even scratched the surface here. Are those you want to help dealing with bereavement, anxiety…

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Psychology Today Post

The reality is caregivers will only continue to be needed. I am part of the ‘sandwich’ generation of one who has children of my own and parents who are aging. They may not need me much now, but that will most likely change.
In reality, healthcare whether by the state or province one resides in or private health insurance needs to offer more for caregivers and assist with home care/care giving. It can be a lonely road to travel, a road that wears one down so that we cannot provide the best quality of care.
Self-care is needed to prevent burn-out.

What to Do about Mama?

Ambushed by Eldercare? You’re Not Alone

7 strategies to help you cope

Post published by Diane Dreher Ph.D. on Apr 08, 2015 in Your Personal Renaissance

Source: Google Images labeled for reuse
Psychology Today
Late one night the phone rings. Your 80-year-old mother has had a heart attack and your life turns upside down, bringing worry, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, your days punctuated by one crisis after another.

More than 54 million Americans are unpaid caregivers to their family members, two-thirds of whom are women (Matthews & Blank, 2013). Pulled in multiple directions at once, many are caring for their own children, as well as older relatives, and their numbers are only increasing as the population ages.

“It is a terrible situation to have so many people to care for and yet also have work responsibilities and other commitments—as well as the need to take care of oneself and remain sane,”…

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Let Me Tell You Who I am Now….

Sometimes we come across a blog post that just speaks to us, resonates with us….this is one of those posts. My heart goes out to Angela; to have a child die does not seem to follow the natural order of things. What is important is that the death is talked about, the grief allowed to show…..memories cannot be taken away from someone. It is through memories that a person moves through their grief.

-A special thank you to Sue Rosenbloom for posting the link on her blog…..

I am still a person like you, with a life like yours, yet not.  I am still a mother like you, yet not at all like you, all at the same time.  I wish there was some way you could understand me, without becoming who I am now.

You see, there’s a pain I carry, unlike any pain you carry, unless you are a bereaved mother too.  This pain I carry is always there.  It doesn’t nap during the day, or get safely tucked into bed at night.  It follows me everywhere, it never leaves my side– like my son used to do, only grief is not cuddly, nor sweet.

No, a mother’s grief is a torturous life sentence, that no one wants to live.  It’s bargaining for a different ending, over and over again, one where no one dies.  It’s the panic of it happening again, any time, anywhere… It’s the toxic self-blame that never turns its finger around to blame itself.  It’s the spiraling of obsessive thoughts, (what if… if only?) seeping its poison through every crevice of my mind. It’s the regret, so convincing that I failed as a mother, powerless to protect my child from death.  Yes, grief’s emotions are as unpredictable as the ocean tide, crashing down on me to drown me alive.

I have three kids, not two.  My first son died.

There, I said it.  I know you may not want to hear it.  Neither do I, yet I have to say it over and over and over again to slowly wrap my mind around the incomprehensible truth.  My son is dead.

It might make you uncomfortable for a moment, yet I am uncomfortable for a lifetime.

Either I pretend he never existed, for your comfort, or, to my own discomfort, this new life of mine comes with dreaded and sometimes hostile reactions– blank stares, awkward silences, big eyes bugging out of shocked faces; or worse, looks of despair, pity, shame, judgment; even, turning of backs, that walk away, leaving me in mid-sentence of my pain.  Or, worst of all, altogether ceasing to be my friend, upon discovering that, I am a bereaved mother.

Please, do not judge me by circumstances beyond my control.  Do not think you are more powerful than God, that this could never happen to you.  Do not imply by your words or your looks that I am a bad mother because my child died.  Do not think I didn’t try everything humanly possible to save my son from death.

Let me tell you something, if a mother’s love was enough to protect her children from all harm then children would never die.

Please remember, I did not choose this version of my life.  I am living yet dying, breathing yet suffocating, laughing yet crying.  I am a mother like you yet a bereaved mother all at the same time.  I am a mother’s worst nightmare, only it’s not a dream.  It’s my life.  

While you complain about your kids spilling milk or painting on the wall, I swallow my grief whole, silently choking on my wish for my problems to be just.  Like.  Yours.  Paint splattered all over my walls, milk spilled, covering my kitchen floor.  I am aching for the signs of my toddler living, breathing, playing, alive in my home.  I am longing for the iterations of what could have been.

Instead, I have an empty chair at every meal, the contents of my son’s entire life neatly stacked in sharpie-marked boxes in storage that now smells more like mildew and dust than of my son.

Instead, my lap seems full, but it is always one-third empty.  I’m left with a math equation thatnever equates.   No matter how many times I count, my children never add up to three.  One is always missing.  And a million more could never replace or erase the pain of missing the one who now lives only in the confines of my memory.

There is an eternal hole in my heart, in my life, the size and shape of him and only him, that no one and nothing will ever be able to fill.

I am a bereaved mother, a grieving quasi-supermom; I straddle time and space.  You might feel pulled in two directions, but let me tell you how it feels to be pulled between heaven and earth, as a mother to an angel and a mother to two living, breathing, laughing little boys.  A mother to the living and the dead.

Let me tell you how it feels to have my son deleted, his existence denied because it makes people uncomfortable to hear he lived and he died.

He is as real to me now as he was in life.  He is not some inconvenient truth– he is my son.  He will always be my son, just as I will always be his mother, because love never dies.  

Next time you see me in the grocery store, at the playground, or across the street, please remember:

I am still a person like you, with a life like yours, yet not.  I am still a mother like you, yet not at all like you, all at the same time.  I am a bereaved mother, a grieving quasi-supermom; I straddle time and space.  I wish there was some way you could understand me, without becoming who I am now.


I wrote this after becoming disheartened and frustrated by being constantly misunderstood by the world.  I wished there could be a bridge to close the gap between us– the bereaved and the non-bereaved parent– but in writing this, I realized that the only bridge of understanding, is a one-way bridge.  One we would never wish upon anyone, for to understand means to be become bereaved.  The only bridge is your child dying.  Then you understand, and there’s no going back to that place of blissful ignorance.  Before it happens you cannot go there; you cannot imagine it; it is too hard, too painful, too much like every parent’s worst nightmare.  Still, if I could create a two way bridge of understanding, this would be it.

By Angela Miller

** Originally published on Still Standing’s Poetry Sundays

Angela Miller is the author of You are the Mother of All Mothers


Shared via Rea L. Ginsberg – The Moral Bucket List –

Thank you to Rea L. Ginsberg for sharing this article and to Loss, Grief, Transitions and Relationship Support for posting it!

Individuals with that ‘shining light’ according to the post-it is learnt behavior, but I think some people just have it from the moment they are born!

Some have such caring hearts, step in to help others, focus on the good in the world and making improvements without a thought because at the core, it is who they are. To do or behave differently would force them to change who they are.

It is articles such as this that remind us, guide us and nudge us to be better individuals. To make a difference in the world……

I like this quote: “The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be. Unexpectedly, there are transcendent moments of deep tranquillity. For most of their lives their inner and outer ambitions are strong and in balance. But eventually, at moments of rare joy, career ambitions pause, the ego rests, the stumbler looks out at a picnic or dinner or a valley and is overwhelmed by a feeling of limitless gratitude, and an acceptance of the fact that life has treated her much better than she deserves.”

Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

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