Isn’t this what human services is all about?

Lea was the kind of person whose friends always came to her for help. In fact, it was this observation about herself that had led her into considering a human services career. At times, she wondered if she attracted “needy people.” It seemed there was always someone who needed a ride someplace, a friend who was in a crisis and needed to talk, or a family conflict that she needed to mediate. Although Lea had never been the strongest student in the classroom, she knew that she would excel in her internship. She was a helper by nature and was willing to do anything to help anyone. She was looking forward to her internship because she knew she would succeed. Two weeks into her internship, after she had fallen asleep in a staff meeting, her supervisor pulled her aside to talk. She pointed out that Lea had come in late on two mornings due to oversleeping, had left early on Friday to take a friend to the airport, and had often seemed to have low energy during the work day. Among her supervisor’s other comments, she said, “It’s beginning to seem that this internship isn’t very important to you.” Lea protested that this was not the case. She explained that her roommate was having some problems with her boyfriend, and that consequently, she and her roommate were up talking until the wee hours of the morning almost every night. She explained that she simply had not been getting enough sleep and that she was indeed very serious about her internship. Lea’s supervisor communicated clearly to her that her performance needed to improve in the areas they had discussed. Lea left the conversation disappointed in herself but also feeling somewhat angry and misunderstood. After all, she was just being a good friend to her roommate and had been about the business of helping someone who needed it. Isn’t that what human services is all about? Why, she wondered, couldn’t her supervisor just understand that and give her a break?

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