Monthly Archives: March 2011

I’m Bi-Winning

A lot has happened in the last week (and two days, but the specific amount of time is not really the point). The last time I wrote to you, I was 22, and now I am 23, but frankly, that’s the lowest level of change. On my 23rd birthday, I was offered a full time position with the Department of Human Services as a foster care caseworker.

Those of you who keep up with my blog should know about the giant DHS recruitment that I went to a few weeks ago. At that recruitment, I was told it would be 4-6 weeks before I heard anything, which made me assume it wouldn’t be until the end of the semester. However, on March 16 I got a phone call offering me the position, which resulted in me jumping up and down, incredibly excited to know there was a job waiting for me in August.

However, as I called the county office to discuss getting a drug test, I found out that they would need me to start no later than the beginning of May. They were basically saying I could finish up this semester, but I’d need to figure something out about school for the Spring/Summer semester. Suddenly everything was different and I felt I needed to choose between the 12 credits left to get my MSW and a full-time, full benefits job. And I was panicked…

Now, for those of you who don’t know me, you may not know how much of a planner I am. I plan out my life and my days far in advance…I like knowing where I’m going and when. Throwing a kink in that chain is incredibly anxiety provoking for me, and none of this was in my plan. The goal was to get my MSW in August and have a job waiting for me, not to get a job and have to choose between that and my Masters, but alas, this was where I was. After a lot of thought, planning, and research, I chose to take the job and finish my MSW requirements by December instead of August.

So, the past week has been a lot of phone calls, emails, and paperwork, and it’s still not done. However, I think I’ve figured out what my classes will look like and my finishing my internship will look like. Basically, all that’s left is registration and financial aid, and the latter of those is basically out of my control (though I do have one last form to fill out and one more phone call to make). Slowly, carefully, things are falling into place, and the next six months are going to be crazy, but things will get done and I will be okay. I’m hoping to even move out of my parents’ house in early September and get my own apartment.

So, enjoy this crazy journey with me. Also, I received Rob Bell’s book on Monday and have begun to read it. Keep a look out for a full review sometime in the next few weeks.

*Note about the title: In case you don’t know, this is a Charlie Sheen reference. It is not supposed to mock anyone who is bi-sexual or bi-polar…just to mock Charlie Sheen…

A Five Year Love Affair…

Tomorrow is my twenty-third birthday, and due to becoming a year older, I have been nostalgic recently. Five years ago, I took my first trip to Europe. I had just turned eighteen (as in two days before the plane took off) and it was, in a way, my first taste of independence (I was with chaperones from school, so I was not completely independent). The following are some pictures from the trip and quotes from my travel journal.

"Assisi is beautiful. It's MUCH more peaceful than Rome."

"It's so pretty when the Eiffel Tower sparkles. I can't even describe it."

"Mark, you aren't allowed to use your accent in London because they'll hear you and be like, 'dude, you're white.'" (That would be a quote from my friend Kristen)

"The Colosseum is amazing. I couldn't stop touching it, but it doesn't feel real"

Have You Heard About Rob Bell Lately?

It seems as though the Christian world has now focused its attention to Rob Bell and his new book, Love Wins. There are many claiming (without having read it in whole) that Bell is a heretic and going against the Bible by stating that all people are going to Heaven. The fact that people are declaring they know the relationship with God that a person has without even having read the novel in question is one of the reasons that I get utterly frustrated with Christians…

Now, let me clarify that I am not a Bell fan. I am fully against the emergent church movement and Bell happens to be a part of it. (If you read anything Bell writes on the topic, he’ll state that he isn’t. However, most people involved with the movement claim to not be involved with the movement. Bell’s basic theology matches with it completely.) Like most Christian subsets I’m against, the emergent church gets some things right. I love the fact that they are so focused on the poor and the outcasts. However, completely ridding oneself of all traditions and ignoring pieces of Scripture that don’t seem to fit with your beliefs are giant red flags that there are issues with your theology. The idea is that God’s love trumps all, and while I would love to believe that, words and actions from both God and Jesus seem to suggest otherwise. There is some accountability on our part.

I think what I find odd about this whole situation is the fact that Bell claiming all people will go to Heaven (provided that’s his actual claim) is surprising. He has often preached of the power of God’s love in such a way that seems to suggest a far more liberal take on sin than the Bible backs up. He even has stated that he finds truth in all places and all religions, so long as they point back to God (I don’t understand what that even means). Yet many considered him one of the great Christian writers of our time and so many considered his ideas as straight from God’s mouth. Many people from my generation find him to be inspiring and are outraged at the idea that he might suggest this (or agree with him, but more on that for a later post).

Once again, it is frustrating to me that Christians find the need to jump to conclusions based on what people say. I’m not a firm believer on taking quotes without their context (it can have dismal outcomes) or for taking people purely at their word. Because of this, I have preordered the book from Amazon (I figured with all the attention it’s getting, the library would be impossible, yet I could resell it fairly easily). Even though I’m not a Bell fan, I will read it and review it IN context. Granted, you still shouldn’t take my word for it, because I’m human, but I’ll be telling you all about it in about a month (or two).

Redid My Blog…Again

I have once again remade my blog. I felt it needed to be done because I can’t stay focused on social work as is. This is now going to be bits and pieces of my life. Most of you who read this regularly are family and friends anyway, so I’m sure you won’t mind. If you keep up with this blog because social work interests you, I’m terribly sorry, but there will still be topics on it. I just found that I not only didn’t care to write about it often, but most of the blogs I like are about day-to-day activities, so I’m going to write more about that. Soon I will update my links so you can see what I read…for now, I’m buried in papers.

The American Idol for Social Workers

It has definitely been a while since I wrote last, and for that I apologize. This week is my spring break and I have been constantly running around (first finishing up last-minute homework, then visiting my sister, then going to my job interview). Finally, I can write, and I can tell all of you about the recruitment I attended the past few days.

Tuesday was the first day of the recruitment for child welfare workers. We all gathered together in a room for an hour and a half presentation by a panel. Questions were asked about job specifics (and some even asked what child welfare really was, which was just sad) and they explained to us how the process was going to go. We then signed up for our first round of interviews based on whether you wanted to go in the morning or in the afternoon. I signed up for a 10 am slot and handed them my resume and transcripts. Then I gave another copy of my resume to a private agency that was there to get a few applicants (after all, it never hurts to apply).

Wednesday I arrived a bit early and was handed a writing exercise and a map of Michigan counties. We were to pick our top three counties to work in and complete the exercise and then we handed them in. After they were completed and turned in, I waited for my name to get called. Frankly, it felt like I waited far too long. Finally, I was called back and was asked two questions and sent back to the waiting room. She had to score my answers and review my writing exercise to see if I had a high enough score to come back the next day. It turns out I did and I signed up for a second interview at 10:30 today.

Today meant a lot of waiting in the waiting room. When I arrived, I was handed a sheet to fill out for a background check and then I waited for my name to be called. Eventually it was and I met with two people. I was asked eight questions and then asked them my own questions about specifics of the job. Now, I wait. Apparently, what happens first is they score my entire packet. If my score is high enough, they will notify me that I am in the applicant pool for my first three counties. Myself and any other applicants in the pool will be ranked and sent to those counties in order of ranking. We will then be notified as to whether or not we got a job. This could take four to six weeks…

In the meantime, I plan to join sites like Monster and Linked In to try to do some networking and apply to other jobs. I also receive fairly regular emails from the school of social work listing different job availabilities. Does anyone have any recommendations for job websites? Whether they’re broad or specifically for social work, I don’t mind…