"Listen to me: get out of here and move forward.
This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened." (As quoted from Don Draper, Mad Men Season 02, Episode 5)
The above quote is one that I've had running through my head several times over the last two weeks. It gave me strength, a stiff upper lip and helped me keep my head when I was working in a hostile work environment; I had the unfortunate experience of being bullied by a supervisor during a school social work placement (internship). When I brought it up with my school, they told me simply not to return. I however, didn't think that was right, I committed to doing this placement, it wouldn't be fair for my patients (hospital healthcare setting) nor for my character; I'm an adult and capable of persevering in a difficult situation.
I returned to the placement the next day much to the shock of everyone and perhaps even to the chagrin of my supervisor who also commented they were surprised I returned. I stayed despite little acknowledgement of the former transgression, and certainly no apology. I had tried to deal with it on my own but the power dynamic was too delicate, I became the problem quickly. I waited patiently for the school to mediate in dealing with the issue. Markedly, in the past I've always been the type to deal with matters in a straight forward way; I've never navigated an atmosphere of little trust, intimidation and unpleasantness before. The worst part about this was when the school finally intervened and removed me from the placement, I was asked to leave without the ability to terminate appropriately with my patients.
As students doing our practicum placements, we can find ourselves in precarious situations where power dynamics are unique. One of my longtime mentors, a brilliant child protection worker and supportive staff trainer with a gentle disposition that I can only liken to motherliness shared with me that during her final practicum placement, her social work supervisor told her that she should not be in social work and that she should quit. Who are these awful supervisor!? How is it that they exist in direct contrast to everything that this great profession stands for? Burnout perhaps - let us assume they weren't always this way.
Onward and upward,