Over the last few months we have been working with a number of organisations to help them develop in one way or another. For some it is providing supervision, for others it is developing policies and procedures and others it is a top down organisational overhaul. In almost all of these organisations we have noticed that youth workers are really good at throwing each other under the bus! We are even better than our clients!
The amount of cat fights and general mistrust that we have witnessed is truly astonishing. Colleagues who would turn against each other over trivial issues and games of oneupmanship that would put most two year olds to shame. I must say it made me sick to think that I belonged to such a profession. It has led me to ask the question “Why do youth worker’s struggle to work together???“
Here are my current thoughts:
- Youth work has become a competitive industry and this permeates through to staff.
- Vicarious trauma which is not dealt with properly has to come out eventually, usually in burnout.
- When people work in close proximity in tough situations it can lead to some personality clashes.
- Managers provide minimal accountability and do not squash issues within the team quickly enough.
- Some people are just not cut out for youth work!!!