Dear Priorities,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear Priorities,

When did you get so out of whack? When did screenings, assessments, IEPs, therapy sessions, lesson planning and consulting become my everyday life?  When did you invade my brain to the point that I find it almost impossible to think about anything else but Speech-Language Pathology?  When did you start making me feel so burned out?  SLP is a job that can completely overtake you.  Why?

Because our priorities not in order and we have to do something about it.   Sorry's time to get a re-do.

Do we have to take work home? No. Can we? Yes! Should we? No!! (honestly).
  • In the last few months being an SLP has been utterly exhausting.  I work all day at work and then come home and work some more. I have no separation of work life/home life.  Even if there were not reports to write, I would be finding some cute lesson to plan or looking at pinterest to find the next great thing in the world of SLP.  It just takes over....and you don't even notice.
  • That nagging thing the back of your head "I should get a head start on ____'s IEP". Ignore that thought.
  • That thought of, "oh I will just bring this one report home.." later turns into "I just can't do it!" You then have to sit on your couch "enjoying your tv" while the speech file stares back at you. Guilt sets in.
  • Why do we work like this?  Because the work continues to get piled on.   There is no caseload limit, there is no screening limit, there is no assessment limit.  We are expected to take on whatever is given to us, even if it's not plausible that we get it done during our work hours.  If we don't take it on and explain our overwhelming workload to higher ups, it seems like we are "complaining" or "not doing our job".   All this leaves me feeling frazzled.  
  • So our options are to keep our heads down, work until you can't see straight and have a mental breakdown? OR sound like we are complaining about a legitimate concern and then nothing happens....we have got to change this.  More of us need to speak up!
  • We are also perfectionists (at least a few of us are) and feel like we have to take this all on, after all this is our profession that we chose and love.  It's hard to admit that, "Hey...wait a minute....when did I become this way?  When did it become normal to complete an insane amount of work in an unreasonable amount of time?"
  • What part of our brains are just letting this happen?
I know there have been SLPs who have taken measures to write to their state boards!  You go!! But honestly how many of us actually sat for a minute and thought about HOW MUCH WE DO!? If we did, I bet a lot more of us would be writing....people speak up! We have to get better about voicing our struggles with this profession or nothing will change. Come on!! We are communication specialists after all.

Today I felt blindsided by how "work focused" I had become, carting 10 files home with me over MY vacation...and for what? To get a little bit ahead?  I haven't been the happiest SLP because of this either. A constantly working person, is not a happy person. No wonder I am stressed and no wonder SLPs feel burned out.

I am not sure what the answer is, but I am going to try my very best to leave my work, at work (unless totally necessary). I need my home to be a place of relaxation and solitude. I even took my work e-mail off my phone! (one small step...)
It is okay to tell your body this at the end of the day.  Allow your body and your mind to rest and recharge with no criticism, no looking back, no judgement. Today is done.
I still want to be the best SLP there is (as we all do). I think we are a compassionate group of people who GIVE GIVE GIVE, but sometimes we have to remember to take time to take care of ourselves. At least I do. And remember we can say "enough is enough"...until tomorrow!

I hereby pledge to have a Spring Break free of any working from home. 
Do you? Comment below with why you pledge to be WORK FREE for Spring Break.

Happy Spring.
I wish! hahaha

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9 Responses to “Dear Priorities, ”

  1. Wow, I could have written this! My husband swears I am the only one who works so much, I am going to have him read this. I was starting to feel 'caught up', then I looked ahead to what is due by the end of April and into May, and ended up taking home some work to do, but I am not going to stress out if it does not get done.
    By the way, I was using your Spring Packet a lot this week, and that BINGO game is the BEST for teaching vocabulary! My younger students and the ones in SDC just loved it, and it was FUN!!!!

    1. Judy, that is EXACTLY how I feel! I look at May as a whole and get completely overwhelmed. We have to remember to take it one day at a time. I brought some stuff home and if I get a "wild hair" I might do some of it, but I am not going to make it a priority on my vacation time. Especially because I know that I always get my work done, even when I don't bring it home!
      Thank you for the kind words! I LOVE those Bingo games too! Glad you are enjoying them so much! I need to brainstorm a new one!

  2. I know exactly how you feel! I'm so ready for this year to be OVER!!!
    Have a wonderful, restful spring break!

    1. Mary! Glad to know others can relate! :) I have 32 more school days...but who is counting....hahah Have a great week off!

  3. I sooo feel your pain. I have been doing this since 1983!! Things have gotten worse. All I do is speech therapy. By Saturday I can barely move I am so mentally and physically exhausted. It is not unusual for me to put in 13 and 14 hour days. You are right, if we don't stop doing it, there will be no resolution. We must become proactive.

  4. I could not agree with you more!! I have been an SLP for almost 30 years. I started my career in the school system way back "in the dark ages" and then spent a number of years in an out patient clinic. I have spent the last year back in the school system and cannot believe the amount of work that is required. It is truly overwhelming at times!! One day at a time . . .

  5. Hi! I'm new to your blog so I decided to take a look through some of the recent posts and stumbled across this one - LOVE IT! I just graduated, so I've never really known a separation between work and home - after the day ended there was always homework assignments or tests to study for. I know myself, and I know that not taking work home will be hard but I am going to try my best to avoid it. Friends/family don't exactly understand my role as SLP, so it's nice to read this blog and know that someone else out there knows the struggle of letting SLP-life take over! Thanks for the inspiring posts.. wish me luck!

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