I was enjoying my 15th straight hour of sleep on my first day of respite (which I fully intended to sleep thru) when lo and behold my cell phone starts dancing across the night stand. I waited for the ringing to stop. I then began my slow decent back into my dream world where all the children loved me and I could fire anyone I wanted at my sprawling independent living facility, Lauchpads Home for the Academically Gifted, Well Behaved Trust Fund Children (My dream, my title). We ate BBQ everyday and I think there were puppies or something there….
My message alarm starts going off EVERY TEN SECONDS (I really need to change those settings). So figuring that reality got the better of me yet again, I got up muttering some unholy words and checked my message.
It was from a friend of mine, Ned. I have known him for a few years now and he is generally calm and patient. Today however he was very upset and talking very fast. It seems things have not been going well for him and his wife at their facility which they have talked about leaving for years now. Ned has worked up a very impressive ulcer and his wife who is in her mid thirties looks like she is pushing a hard 50. It has been a rough couple of years.
I called Ned back to try and figure out what all the fuss was about. When Ned answered the phone he sounded very tired. He went on to tell me about how the Director was possibly the re-incarnation of Hitler and how they can’t take working for such an evil empire anymore. He may have said something about blood rituals, truth was I wasn’t in the mood to deal with this crap before I had my breakfast at 3:00 in the afternoon. (It is respite!) After Ned was done with his tales of woe and disparity, I asked him a few questions:
Launch: Ned, have you got on the Houseparent Network and started checking the job board and doing some research?
Ned: Naw, I really don’t get into that sort of stuff, you know that man.
Launch: Ah, I see. Why are you calling me then, on this glorious afternoon, Ned.
Ned: Because your always talking about this stuff and on that House Parent site. Besides, we never were this serious about leaving before. We love the kids and it’s our ministry. But we have to get out of here now, we are losing our minds.
Launch: Your an idiot Ned.
The rest of our conversation was rather lively and I won’t bore you with all the details. Let’s just say I probably won’t be getting a Christmas card from Ned this year. Besides being half asleep, Ned hit one of my nerves with his complete lack of professionalism and his laziness towards providing for his ministry and his family.
Allow me to explain. I am very happy at my facility. I personally believe it is one of the best in the country. I work nine days on, five days off. My employer listens, or at least pretends to listen, to my wants and concerns. The administration and Family Teachers get along, and we have some of the best academic support people for our kids that money can buy. BUT, don’t think for a second I won’t lay the smack down if this place goes completely loco on me. My wife and I keep our resumes updated and we are very committed to networking with House Parents and facilities across the country. Knowing someone that knows someone is a comforting thing when your back is against the wall.
By using the resources that are on this site, you will have job security and peace of mind. If you talk with others on the forum you will begin to find and see what facilities may or may not be your cup of tea. You will find support during those hard times from others on the board who have already walked that road.
When it is time to begin your career as a House Parent, or to continue your career at a different facility, research the job board. Get a list of possible facilities and ask questions about them on the forum. Sign up for the members only services. Post your resume on line and be visible to hundreds of facilities out there. I think our facility just hired a couple from the resume post section. Sign up for the job alert section and receive an email everytime there is a new vacancy open up. I probably get two or three job alerts a week.
Once you get that House Parent job, stay connected. You really do not know what God has in store for the future. I fully intended to be buried at the facility we worked at in Georgia. I still love that place and all the kids and staff. I’m at a different facility now because financially I just could not make it there. Staying connected and working on building your network will help to ensure that should you need to get out of dodge, you will have a good idea of whats out there.
ALL FACILITIES ARE NOT THE SAME. Just because your current situation has you working within a yard of hell, does not mean all child care facilities are the same. If you are truly miserable in where you are at and believe the facility is bad, why do you stay? If it is for the kids, are you really giving them the best care possible given your disdain for the facility? No one wins by you staying in a situation that is killing you. The facility, your marriage, and the kids, they all lose. Just think about it.
Remember, this is a ministry. Like all other ministries, if you are in a position that it looks like God is slamming the door on you, look around. He may be wanting you to walk through the door he just opened. -Launch