Crappy working conditions.

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Spatch
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Crappy working conditions.

Post by Spatch » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:24 pm

Okay, there have been a few posts recently about people in what are clearly terrible working conditions. Often it is people in IAPT services or HCAs being asked to work beyond their competencies, but also it applies to qualifieds who are being stretched beyond what is reasonable. Sadly, this mirrors a lot of what I have seen on the ground and some of my own past experiences, which has given me a few thoughts.

1) There is a often an acceptance that this is the way it has to be. It really isn't. Even in IAPT services or nursing homes, there are examples of very good practice, where staff are treated with dignitity, work with high degrees of autonomy and have satisfaction in their work. The roles are tough, but people aren't bullied or made to feel inadequate. Research tells us that the attitudes set by the leads and managment are known to have a huge influence on people's morale, stress levels and overall productivity, and some of this come down to being treated with respect as well as being able to set realistic boundaries. If passive acceptance of bullying, deprivation and disrespect for staff is the tone set at your workplace, I am telling you it is not acceptable or even the norm. Those places are very much on the wrong side of history, just like Sports Direct or Uber.

2) No one on this forum has to take this. If you are reading this, most likely you are someone who is highly educated, bright, motivated and capable of achieving a hell of a lot. Ignore the hoops needed to be jumped through and hideously skewed standards of getting on a DClinPsy for a second, and focus on the fact that almost everyone who has even a vague shot of getting on a course will be highly employable in a range of different settings. You will find other work, and while it may not be psychology related, it will be able to keep you fed, a roof over your head and far better for your mental health than some of the environments many of you are finding yourself in. While the "Psychology or bust" mindset enforces blinkers, you really do have more options than you think (and more time to play the long game if necessary), and you really don't have to tolerate this. It's not paying your dues, or gaining nobility through suffering- it's just needless, draining aggro.

3) I talked about calling out bad practice and whistleblowing on another thread, and LIWY pointed out that people put up with damaging environments because they have mortgages to pay, are isolated and junior in their career. I completely sympathise with that perspective, but we are in a time where more and more people are speaking out and challenging entrenched damaging practices even though it is at great personal cost I still stand by my original sentiment. If we draw a comparison with Hollywood, Westminster etc, there really is a lot to be gained and changed though all of us speaking out and not just hoping someone else will come along and sort things out. Working in psychology this is probably even more important when it comes to integrity, reflectiveness and the core values of that discipline. There is also the additional consideration that those of us who are complicit with things and try to keep our heads down, end up enabling and being passively complicit with that toxicity. I have done this in the past, and even now I regret not addressing issues where I could have. I don't think it helps us, our teams, our service users or even those perpetuating the system in the longer term, because not even bullies really want to work in a hellhole.

4) There is SO much to be gained by changing things. From my own experience I have worked in/spoken out/got into trouble in services that have been target driven, needlessly hierarchical, disposable workforce staffed, corporate-more-than-clinical and despot led. Despite that I am now in a position where I have created an environment where my team's welfare is paramount, that we put boundaries around reasonable working conditions and values individuals rather than mottos, and treats everyone with dignity and respect from the office cleaner upwards. Where I serve and protect those under me rather than power trip to serve my own ego. Okay, I may not be the highest paid psychologist or have the most prestigious title, but for me it's been worthwhile -and hopefully so for those working with me. It can be done.

5). There is safety in numbers. Unionise (Unison, UNITE), join professional bodies (BPS, DCP, UK-ACP etc), raise awareness and do anything you can to even the balance. The reason this has happened is that power has been consolidated in too few hands, and the rest of us have just got our heads down and got on with the task rather than asking questions. In a way, I feel we qualifieds and seniors have let you down by not heeding this and getting into far too many internicene squabbles rather than focussing on what is genuinely important. Don't ask "What's in it for me?" but instead ask "What can I do for us?" because that is the only way we can get through this.

That's my bit.
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Re: Crappy working conditions.

Post by mungle » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:05 am

I'm intrigued by the What can I do for us? I wonder if some of us qualified on this forum can look together at using our power to make some changes?

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Re: Crappy working conditions.

Post by Spatch » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:52 pm

From the top of my head, we can:

- Call out poor working conditions and be vocal about services that exploit their workforce.
- Support initiatives like the Association for CP thats being set up.
- Encourage union membership in the junior levels of the psychology workforce.
- Help develop guidelines for healthy work environments that we may have been involved in setting up in our own places of work.

But there are other ways to do this too.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

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