Drug dealers deal drugs, prostitutes deal sex… well I deal in p***ing people off, and especially you. My broken self doesn’t know why I’m doing it, but my lucid self can tell you now. I am testing you. I am applying the thumb screws and seeing if you’ll scream, seeing if you’ll run, seeing if you are a fully signed up member of the young people’s helpers club.
You know, one of those social workers, youth workers, YOT workers, teachers, mentors, you know, one of those safe guys, the ones that actually really want to help. Cos there are a hell of a lot of half-members, the ones who actually beneath the job title and pay really in truth don’t give a monkeys about me. There are more half-members out there than you probably think- trust me, most of the people who have worked with me fall into that category. They say they’ll help me, they say they care but as soon as I test them by being the most foul-mouthed obnoxious kid I can be, they run.
Thing is, their job just got a bit challenging, and a bit hard, and if they can hand me over to someone else, they will. After all they are only doing the job as a way to pay the bills not because they really want to help me. They can’t be bothered with the effort of trying to find out how I tick, why I am behaving like the anti-christ on crystal meth.
The thing is, I have a nose like a drugs dog- I can smell your fake caring from the other end of the baggage carousel. And you know that if I get a whiff I will show you my worst. Cos lets face it, I don’t want to waste my time going through the intervention programme motions with someone who I know will dump me before too long anyway. So I take what little choice I have and choose to dump you before you dump me. And I do that by forcing you to tell your boss that I’m ‘unworkable’, that ‘there is nothing left that can be done for me’. ‘Thank heaven for that’ is what I say. Fact of the matter is that it is you that is unworkable, unworkable as a successful helper for me.
If you want to help me, I have to know you are genuine and the only way I can do that is to put you in the fire to see whether you are pure gold or a poxy piece of tin. So whether you are gold or tin, expect to see some sparks fly. I build a mean fire. The gold shows itself if you keep on coming back with your compassion and caring even when I’ve told you where to go so many times, even when I’ve treated you, others and the doors, walls and windows badly. And trust me, I’m a stubborn buggar and will test you until I am completely satisfied about your genuineness. When I know you are here not for the paycheck but for the passion, the compassion, the ‘don’t-stop-till- you-drop’ desire and drive to help little toads like me then we might start getting somewhere.
So in short, you will need to put up with a lot of crap from me at the beginning. But know that the worse a kids behaviour is, the more damaged their story is before meeting you. So fight back and meet the greater hostility with greater compassion. We are screwed to start with, and then crappy workers mess with us some more, leading to a greater level of screwed up behaviour. By this point, we are too messed up to take control of the situation, only you can start to break the cycle by not being a crappy worker.
Once you’ve passed the test, you’ll be surprised how quickly we mellow. We might actually start doing what we are supposed to do, much to our surprise as much as yours. And this is when you can really start to help us sort out our messed up thinking and messed up behaviour. But to get to this point of helping, you have to push your tolerance levels to the max and get through the hell that we will put you through. But this is the best thing you can do for us. This is the only way you will be able to finally help us. This is the only way that we will let you in. Cos let’s face it, who is going to open themselves up, make themselves vulnerable and pour out their guts to some worker, when they have been let down by so many people before- friends, family and workers- without first making bloody sure that this person is the real deal. And if you’re not the real deal… well get out my face and go and work in Tescos.