First, I want to congratulate Barry, Viviane, and all the interns for selecting a wonderful group of individuals (I must have been the wild card.) I have no doubt that every single person in this group is capable of doing a wonderful job. For one reason alone, you don’t just care! What I mean by this is that you don’t simply CARE – you DO. Many people care. They care about injustice. They care about poverty. They care about this and that, but for whatever reason, they don’t DO. No matter what happens going forward, whether you decide that this is your life calling or that you would rather do something else, you should be proud that you took the next step from just caring to actually trying to make change.
Second, I consider myself a pretty open book. It is not hard to get me to talk about almost anything if I like you, but I was surprised at the overall openness that the group has toward one another. The trust is unbelievable and I am honored to be given this level of trust in such a short time. I believe this ability to relate and trust those you do not know all too well will take us a long way in this field. One of the things I got from the last two weeks is that I cannot expect to be trusted if I cannot trust others. It reminds me of when Barry or Mike told us that a foster child once said, “I don’t care what you know until I know who you are.” Is it necessary to spill the beans on all your most personal issues to every client? Absolutely not, but sometimes in the right moment it is important to put yourself in a place of vulnerability. It’s like what Barry tells us over and over again – he tries never to ask to say or do something that he would not feel comfortable doing himself.
Third, my most pressing concern has been policy, procedure, and rules. Maybe it is my legal background, but rules are a focus for me since I like to think of myself as a big picture rather than a detail-oriented person. This being said, I have made the effort to get my hands on my agency’s policy and procedure manual (over 100 pages long) and go through it line by line. For some reason, this seems to be the scariest aspect of the job for me. I want to hit the ground running as best I can in my new position and most of all I do not want to drop the ball too much on the first few assignments. I know that this is a learning experience, but I want to try to be as best prepared as possible. Our instructors have done a superb job giving us all the information we need to be prepared, but at the same time I understand that part of the training that we are given is the knowledge that we cannot be prepared for everything. There is not a cut and dry answer to many of the questions we have. “It depends” is a very familiar line in law school. No two cases are the same and one can only build on what he has experienced. What training is doing for me is giving me general concepts so that I can recognize the issues. This is what it is all about: issue spotting, which again is similar to law school practice. I know that I will not always understand every client I meet, but I want to at least recognize the issues and concerns well enough so that I can present the best options.