My landlord and friend has talked to me about how he came to own his own business. He took a lot of falls to come up with a viable business idea, saying that falling flat on his face was something of a necessity in realizing what would and would not work for helping achieve this goal. I firmly believe in having to make mistakes in order to progress in both emotional maturation as well as relational, spiritual, and in this case, professional. I have realized, however, that in a field as fragile as human services, “the system” is not designed to allow for too many falls flat on your face before you are deemed unfit for that professional circle.
I struggle greatly with this idea and figuring out where the veiled line between workplace training and self-induced chides and admonitions exists. Having discovered my passion, the greatest gift in my short time ardently pursuing is has been finding mentors and teachers who are not only willing, but eagerly wanting to take on the task of guiding me along the way so that I don’t break too many of the rules than are allowed in an effort to learn the fine art of dealing with people in the social service setting.
Having such great expectation for, and such enthusiasm in my first position in this field (specifically in residential work), the greatest regret I have is that I didn’t learn more from the mentor (also the program manager) who was so willing to give of his time and energy while I was there. My time was cut shorter than I would have wanted and I am still trying to express more clearly and piece together the sentiments and lessons learned from that experience so that what training – official or unofficial – I was privy to during that time I can also share with others who may be embarking on their own complex and labyrinth-like exploration of their career path in the social services.