Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dear Governor Patrick....Hire ME as DCF Chief!!!

Dear Governor Patrick. Please hire me as the next Director of DCF. I would do a much better job and the kids would all make it out alive and safe. Better than what we have now, that's for sure.

A Little Background
Here in Massachusetts THREE children in nine months have now died in DCF care and finally...FINALLY our lawmakers have decided to fire the head of the Department of Children and Families.

Good LORD in the private sector, you can lose your job if your company doesn't make specific revenue projections but in child welfare three children have to die before the DCF chief will be fired. What is wrong with our state?

The worst case of course was little Jeremiah Oliver, whose little 5 year old body was found in a suitcase along the Mass Pike just a few weeks ago, allegedly beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend. In that case, the DCF worker was fired but the governor stood behind Olga Roche, the director of DCF.

Then two more babies died and in one case, it was because of a total attitude of "I don't give a $hit" and this has made the news as well. Little Aliana Lavigne died because the DCF worker in charge of faxes went on vacation and nobody was in charge of faxes when she wasn't there. Meanwhile, that week, a police officer filed a 51A (report of abuse or neglect) and the fax sat in the DCF office for a week until the worker came back from her sunny vacation, saw it sitting in her inbox and decided to do something about it. Unfortunately it was too late because the baby had already been killed. Sigh.

Now the governor has finally decided to fire Olga Roche but has replaced her with....someone from the Registry of Motor Vehicles? Seriously? Has anyone ever been to the Registry? Are they nice to you when you need to get your license renewed? Do you have to wait in a really long line? Is there bureaucracy? Come on. Seriously. How is it a good idea to hire a "hard working manager" from the Registry of Motor Vehicles to be in charge of ensuring the safety of our most vulnerable citizens??? Talk about a really bad decision. Come on!!!

Dear Governor Patrick. I would like to make a recommendation for the Director of DCF job: Hire me! Seriously...hire me! I come with a host of experience and I'm certainly a better candidate than someone that has just instituted a computer-based system at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Why You Should Hire ME
What makes me so special? Well let me tell you:
1. I will put the needs of the children first. Historically, DCF has been all about reunification, even if that was the worst thing for the child. Kids who've been abused both physically and sexually, should not be subjected to further abuse because that is what the parents want. Cut ties with those parents now and give those kids a chance. That's what I would advocate for as Director of DCF.

2. I have technology experience too. I am an experienced Project Manager and Business Analyst. I have implemented CRM systems and Sales Enablement technology at my firm. If DCF is hiring Erin Deveney as interim Chief of DCF based on her experience implementing technology at the Registry, then I would like the governor to know that my experience is even more robust.

3. I understand the issues. I am raising a son I adopted from DCF and I understand what it's like to be a foster child. If I were hired as the Director of DCF, I would work tirelessly to make sure every child gets out of foster care as soon as possible.

4. I would be pro-child's rights and get these kids into happy, stable homes as early as possible. Too many children bounce around the foster care system and then age out of foster care because they're too old to be adopted. Uh uh. Not on my watch. If I were Director of DCF I'd make sure that the state followed an 18-month mandate to get that child either safely reunified or adopted. No more bouncing back and forth.

5. I am pro-Education for birth families. Some birth parents just need to be taught how to be good parents because they did not have strong role models themselves. For that reason, I would require parenting classes of all parents with children in foster care. This is the only way many of these kids could have a successful reunification. Maybe the birth parents are good people underneath it all but just don't know how to be good parents. How about we give it a shot and try to teach them? It sure as heck can't hurt.

6. I have a marketing background and know how to handle the PR machine. Look, DCF has had some awful publicity lately. Some of it is obviously earned but some of it, not so much. With my marketing background I'd use the media to our benefit and do a MUCH better job of controlling the message.

Unlike so many of our legislators, I'd fight for the rights of our children, so how about it Governor Patrick? Are you going to hire me as Director of the Department of Children and Families? I will be awaiting your phone call soon.

For more information on the sad story of children dying in Mass DCF, feel free to click here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Flu and The New Job

Two weeks ago I started a new job. I work for the same company but for a different department now, with a new manager and on a new, high-profile project. It didn't come with any additional money or an upgraded title but it does come with a great opportunity to learn something new that I can (hopefully) parlay into more money and prestige once the project completes. So for now I bide my time.

My new manager is based out of our London office and she came to the US offices to meet with people and to spend time with me. She was in Boston for several days then went to NY and then came back to Boston for two days. We have a tight deadline to get a presentation done by Tuesday so we were planning to spend a lot of time together this past week to get things done.

So of course while she's here this week, Christopher comes down with a terrible case of the Flu. He was terribly sick and had a high fever that spiked to 103.5 degrees. Of course I had to stay home with him but that meant telling my new manager (who's only here for two days now) that I won't be seeing her those two days. She was not pleased.

I should also note that my new manager is unmarried with no children and she seems to live and breathe her job. She has lived in Boston, London, Luxembourg and Hong Kong for the company. She's definitely committed her life to her work and she's quite good at it.

This of course is the polar opposite of me. I'm a single mom raising a behaviorally-challenged former foster kid. I work hard during the day but in the evening and on the weekends, I'm focused on the kiddo. I'll work when I need to in the evenings and on weekends but I don't make a habit of it. I strive for work-life balance. Oh and I like sleep.

This work-life balance concept is at odds with the lifestyle the new manager has and I worry that I'm starting this new job off on the wrong foot because I needed to work from home two days this week. At the same time, I am not even sure I could put the types of hours into work that she does even if I wanted to do so.

For example, my new boss put in a full day in the Boston office on Wednesday, hopped on a red-eye back to London and then went straight to the office, putting in a full day (and then some) at her desk there. She also worked a full day on Friday and mentioned that she was planning to work all weekend too. Holy cow, that's a lot of work. And something I'd never ever be able to do...even if I wanted to.

I am ambitious and do want to move up the corporate ladder. I want more responsibility, more money and a VP title. And I feel like I've earned that. I work hard and am productive while I'm at the office. At the same time, I want to be able to have a life outside of the office too and don't want to have to sacrifice one aspect of life completely for the other. I want to be able to be relaxed with my child, not exhausted and stressed. I also want to have time with friends and hobbies. Is it possible to have both? Especially as a single mom raising a child with special needs?

Two years ago, I was putting in a lot of 12-hour days at work and was rather cranky and stressed when I was at home. Christopher took my mood to mean that I didn't love him anymore and was going to give him away, so he started acting out. I can't fault him for thinking this because obviously this very action happened to him several times before and he had reason to feel insecure. I did my best to reassure him but hated that my actions were contributing to his insecurity. Once that project was completed, I vowed not to let that sort of imbalance happen again. And I need to stick to that vow for the benefit of my family.

Regarding the two days I worked from home this week, the issues do seem to have blown over and as long as it doesn't happen again a lot, I should be okay. Thankfully I have built up goodwill at my company and found out that my now most previous manager spoke to the new boss and told her that I do work hard and that it's extremely rare for me to take time off for a sick child (which is actually true). And by the time I was back in the office, she did seem to be calmer about my need to work from home two days. Unfortunately she was already back in London so we didn't get our face time but it is what it is. Just bad timing.

Hopefully this was just a minor bump in the road and that I'll be able to move forward with my career smoothly after this. We'll see how it goes.