In the many years I have been a houseparent, I have worked for many different administrators. Some have been outstanding, others, well not so great. However, most have been at least acceptable and I have enjoyed working with them. Thinking about this the last couple of days, I have decided of all the administrators I have known, there are three types that are difficult to work with: The Sasquatch, The Gestapo, and The Impersonator.
With the Sasquatch administrators, you believe they exist, some people swear that they have seen one, there may be pictures of them or some other evidence of them, but you wonder if they are not just some legend, because you never see them.
The Sasquatch administrator may be a great person, and very easy to get along with, but they are difficult to work with because every time you need them you can’t find them. They may be off doing other business of the facility like PR or Development, but it doesn’t matter, because when you have a child in the middle of a melt down all you care about is that somebody is there to assist you or give you guidance. It may also be that there are multiple campus’ and they are spread thin dealing with things in other places. Problem is – a crisis don’t seem to schedule itself around the days you have admin on your campus.
Experienced houseparents are much better equipped to work with Sasquatch administrators, because after a while there just isn’t a whole lot that they haven’t seen. Besides, what I hear from many experienced houseparents is that they just want to be left alone anyways.
I think the most difficult administrator to work with is the Gestapo Administrator. They are the exact opposite of the Sasquatch. They are constantly in your business, they direct every single aspect of your home, and it seems like they are watching everything you do. They are the epitome of Micro-managers.
As much as I like structure and routine, there is definitely a line that when crossed, makes life pretty miserable. About the only houseparent that can make it for very long under a Gestapo Administrator is a complete Newbie. However, once they become more experienced they will also come to resent all the control.
The Impersonator is the administrator that may or may not have had a promising career as a businessman, pastor, teacher or whatever and decides one day to become a residential childcare administrator. In some places all you need to be an administrator is a 4 year degree from an accredited college/university. It would make me feel a lot better if the places that hired them at least required a degree in social services or something, but that is not always the case.
I have worked with impersonators that have been great people. They were easy to get along with, and genuinely cared about the staff and children. The problem was that they really had no clue about the behaviors of the children, the demands on the staff, or what expectations are realistic. Of course I also worked once for a Gestapo Impersonator, fortunately for me he went back to his previous career, before I found a new position at another facility.
The good thing about Impersonators, is that with time they gain experience and can become good at what they do, it’s just no fun being the experienced houseparents that try to get them there. For those with military experience, it’s kind of like being the sergeant with the brand new 2nd Lieutenant fresh out of the academy.
Thinking about the bad administrators I have worked for, I would just like to say “THANKS” to the good ones. It is because of you, I have made it as long as I have taking care of the neglected, abused and troubled youth of our society.