Friday, March 09, 2007

Who the hell are you people???

Since I'm speaking in generalities here, I can get away with this... I think. So here's my first real post about my job.

I, in all my experience doing the job that I now do, was gifted with only two cases to occupy my time. Some of you are thinking that number sounds a little low, and under ordinary circumstances, it would be... But these are certainly not ordinary circumstances. And trust me, two is enough!

One of these cases is something of office lore, if only for the longevity, and the consistency of the "Woops, I didn't know I couldn't do that" behavior of the parents.

The other is something of a new case. It only began a couple months ago. In that short time, it has had ample opportunity to build itself a reputation. First off, it's a HUGE case as far as billable hours go. Usually in our office, unless there is a therapist involved doing intensive therapy or something, most cases are going to have somewhere in the region of 2-6 billable hours per week. While I was talking to my supervisor, he noted that he found it odd that I could handle this entire case myself, because this case alone occupies somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 billable hours per week. (He said he would have to check, but he sincerely thought that 28 billable hours on any one case in a single week might be a record.) Yeah, you read that right. I am doing somewhere between 5 and 10 times the normal billable hours on one case alone in any given week... And when you spend that much time with anyone, and you're allowed to ask probing questions for the sake of your paperwork, you get to know them VERY VERY well. And when you have a case with the reputation that this one has around my office, other people get curious as to what's going on, and how the hell you are coping with it, while managing to not pull a Britney and go get yourself tattooed and show up with a freshly shorn pate. And most days I have new stories to tell... And most days the stories I bust out have even the most seasoned of counselors cringing in horror, and rapt with a blend of interest and total disbelief.

The other day, I went to lunch with someone who has been doing the equivalent of my job for over 8 years. She worked one meeting with this family and instantly said that she would NEVER, EVER, EVER handle this case again, EVER.

It's that kind of a beast.

It figures that as soon as I mention to my supervisor that we might want to think about having someone else around to help wrangle a couple of these meetings, I was thrown a curve ball.

A number of factors changed in the meeting I had tonight. And for the first half of our time together, you would have thought it was a totally different family. You'd have been fooled into thinking that these were perfectly normal people who were just being observed as a control group for some kind of study. For that first half of our time together, you'd have been totally deceived. I know that for the first half of the meeting I looked at this family and thought to myself, "These are NOT the same people that I spend all this time with! THIS IS NOT THE SAME FAMILY! Who the hell are these people? Someone has kidnapped the the crazies I usually deal with, and replaced them with clones who simply have normal personalities!"

But after a while, the guise wore off. The real people in that room decided to show up and rear their ugly psychotic heads. And at that point, I remembered why I had to be there, and why my company is involved. And I remembered why I talked to my supervisor about having another person handy for these meetings.

And now I don't really know what to do with myself. I can handle the meetings if they decide they want to be normal now. Hell, I can handle the meetings if they decide they only want to be normal HALF of the time. But what if they go back to the way they used to be on a full time basis? I can't do that alone! I JUST CAN'T! Someone will get hurt!

I don't really know where to go, or what to do with this!

At least until they decide that they want to be normal long enough to fool a judge my job is secure!

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