Saturday, November 19, 2005

Not Social Workers

You may already be aware that Mr Gerry Anderson, the much-loved Radio Ulster presenter, is a former Social Worker. Last week on his show I heard him describe some of his former colleagues as ‘not of this world.’ The best example he cited was of the just graduated Social Worker who asked a Belfast mother if her son ‘accessed his external environment’ only to be met with total and utter bafflement from the mother until Gerry translated this as, ‘Does he go out much?’

In my experience there are two kinds of social worker. These are the goody-goody social worker and the druggy-druggy social worker. Goody-goodies are usually greatly resented by their clients whilst druggy-druggies are often admired and respected. Unfortunately most of the druggy-druggies spend half their time out on the sick suffering from stress because, as Richard Ashcroft so eloquently puts it, ‘The Drugs Don’t Work.’

My colleagues and I may work in the social care field but we are Not Social Workers. We don’t have the professional qualification that brings in that extra several grand per annum but often the Not Social Workers are educated to a high degree. Among the Not Social Workers that I have known and know are holders of degrees in Archaeology, Media Studies, English, Journalism and Philosophy. In those rare quiet moments when we can tear ourselves away from discussions on how best to improve the levels of care and support that we give our clients we can, thanks to our educational qualifications, hold some very intellectual and enlightening conversations.

Why only the other day I was hearing all about La Tene scabbards found in riverbeds in Ireland and then a critique of the later novels of Philip Roth. I found myself at a disadvantage with the Roth discussion, as I had never progressed beyond Portnoy’s Complaint. It was suggested that this was probably for the best, as I’d likely find his later works far too shocking and offensive owing to my advanced years. It is a well-known fact that the older one gets the more tender one’s sensibilities become and the more easily shocked one is.

I myself hold a B.Sc. (Hons). in Social Administration & Policy but this is a very boring subject and no one wants to hear a thing about it. So for non-work related convo topics I have to fall back on things I read about in Heat and tales about the ‘Olden Days’. Funnily enough I’ve never yet encountered any Computing-type degree holders among the Not Social Workers. So while we former Philosophy, Journalism and Media Studies students are cleaning out cupboards, doing shift work and being verbally abused by the dispossessed all the computer wizards are sitting in cosy warm offices, minting money and writing their blogs in work hours. Sigh!


Stray Toaster said...

Being one of the non-computing degree holding types, and being in an office where the air conditioning is turned up too high, I must point out that I *(strike-tags-don't-work)fiddle the times*(end-not-working-strike-tags) only post during my lunch hour, when not playing bridge.

As for minting money, I wish. I would be minted, if it weren't for the fact I donate all my hard-earned to a needy and worthy cause.

And about not wanting to hear a thing about your degree, I would love to. When and where did you take it? Did you enjoy it, even if it was boring? (And try telling me thermodynaimcs is anything other than dull. I think I win the dullness contest.)

Stray Toaster said...

Oh, and while I have always *appreciated* Mr Roth, I can't say I ever *liked* his work.

Nelly said...

'I donate all my hard-earned to a needy and worthy cause.'

I am assuming this cause would be wife, weans & Caitlin?

I completed my degree about 12-13 years ago. It was mostly mega-boring and resulted in a Desmond.

In a four-year period I did two A levels, a degree and passed by driving test at the fourth attempt. By far I got the greatest buzz from the licence and the least from the degree.

You did a degree in thermodynamics? God pity you.

Stray Toaster said...

Are there any other worthy causes than my three girls and two boys?

Alas, it wasn't a degree in thermodynamics. Must less glamourous than that. (High energy astrophysics, but that goes down as well as Social Administration and Policy I would have thought.)

Still, you must have some good stories of undergraduate shenanigans to spin into stories to plant in the garden.

Nelly said...

Astrophysics sounds well hard and swanky. I'll have to rack my brains for tales of undergraduate shenanigans but my memory does not serve me well. The drink, the drugs, the all-night parties.... ahem!

Tell me this. What does the use of asterisks surrounding a word truly signify. I have to know.

Stray Toaster said...

Asteriks are just a convention for when you haven't got hypertext mark up. I wanted to use the strike tags, but this here system didn't allow it. So I used asteriks to represent emphasis. I could have done this, but didn't. Asteriks are like, old skool. Street. Or something. I only pretend to be cool at parties. *twitch*

Not sure about well hard and swanky, but if you ever want an explanation as to the finer points of magnetic braking and temperature differentials across accretion discs in a black hole/feeder system, let me know. No one else ever wants to hear. (As an aside, Valerie has a degree in straight (*snigger*) physics, but hates it and will deny most knowledge of it. A degree in that either puts you in love with it more (like me) or puts you off it forever. (like her.)

Nelly said...

One of Hannah's coolest friends is doing a doctorate in astrophysics. He is also extremely modest and would think it hilarious to be described as cool. He looks like he ought to be tapping at bongoes along with Marc Bolan during the 'chumming with Peely period'.

Like Valerie I think the subject I studied sux. Perhaps, like Valerie, I'm better at picking delightful life-partners than enjoyable degree courses.

I'm an awful lick amint I?

Stray Toaster said...

Par-ful lick, aye, but little flattery I ever get. :)

Beowulf said...

My degree is in Geology, a well known pathway to design.

ed said...

My degree would be in computers & business. And has proved to be exactly no use at all in my current occupation.

And the fact that I had to scrape frost off my moniter this morning gives the lie to the "cosy warm offices" comment.

And I would never, ever, even consider writing/reading these "blog" things during work hours. It would be deeply immoral.

Nelly said...

Stephen - obviously Geology should lead to a career in design as is demonstrated by the ultimate in 'Intelligent Designers'

Ed - I pity you in your Bob Cratchit style office. I'll bet those woolly mittens must make it difficult to strike the correct key. Goes without saying that all typos are excused.

Yours Nelly, writing with a draught blowing straight at her kidneys and in her lunch hour.

ed said...

thjlka;alk dsjyfv;!

Beowulf said...

Nelly - Can open, worms everywhere.

Nelly said...

*shiver* hate worms.

mquest said...

My Liberal Arts degree only lets me talk of social change-- It is rather useless when it comes to getting good pay.
But, damn it In a coffee shop I can at least talk like a art snob :)

Nelly said...

When I was doing my degree in Social Admin & Policy one of the modules was 'The History of Social Policy'. Now all that I read is history now. Sigh!