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Any social workers able to give me advise. I'm an asye

24 replies

Thatsmycupoftea · 12/04/2021 09:46

Hi social workers,

I'm an asye but I'm 2 years in to my job in children's.

I'm struggling big time. I'm overwhelmed with work load and tasks. I have taken two weeks leave simply because I was sat at my desk crying everyday due to being so burnt out. I have come back and I'm crying again as all my tasks are out of timescales and I have had a telling off today from my manager.

I have explained to my manager that I'm overwhelmed and I don't feel I'm able to carry on because I have no idea what I need to do. Everything feels out of control. I have forgotten what work I have actually done and don't even know where to start.

I have not had supervision for a long long time and despite me booking it in and calling my manager she always says she is unavailable. And to re book.

She rearranged again today and then piled more court work on me due tomorrow on a case I have literally been given while off.

I tried to call her two weeks ago because I had a really scary experience with a parent and it has left me shaken and no one was available for support.

I have a new job but my current management won't left me work my notice until tasks are up to date but I don't know how to get to that point as I'm stuck in the mud with things I just don't know how to do.

I don't want to jepodise my new job by going off sick now.

I have actually contemplated suicide to get out of this because I can't lose my new job as I need the money but I can't do this one anymore. I feel so trapped.

Please help me find a way through this.


OP posts:

pepsicolagirl · 12/04/2021 09:50

I am so sorry you are going through this. I wish I had an answer for you but no job is worth your life x


Fifipop185 · 12/04/2021 09:52

Didn't want to read and run OP and I don't work in your field, but have had similar work pressures put on me. Only advice is the breathe, get a drink of water and take a minute. Someone will be along soon with better advice. Thanks


Fifipop185 · 12/04/2021 09:54

What helped me when I was almost at burn out point in January was to get organised. I wrote out a to do list of things that I legally had to get done that day and then a small list of things for tomorrow and then work down it. The rest of the smaller non-urgent tasks would have to wait.


TippledPink · 12/04/2021 09:56

If you are doing ASYE, can you speak to the ASYE co-ordinator? It's not right you are not having regular supervision, you need to take this further. They are supposed to be giving you the appropriate support and a protected caseload as ASYE. No wonder you are struggling if you don't have the right support.


DidgeDoolittle · 12/04/2021 09:59

Ex sw manager here.
I would put what you have written into an email to your line manager. They are then duty bound to assist.

Meanwhile, make a list of tasks on each case and try and write a bullet point synopsis of the status of each case.
Then prioritise each task. When I was really stressed, at the start of each day I would ask myself what job I would love to have got out of the way by the time I was driving home that night. That was the first job I did that day.
Good luck.


NeepNeepNeep · 12/04/2021 10:00

You say you have a new job, have you resigned?


Thatsmycupoftea · 12/04/2021 10:04

My new job is in the same service but it's a different role completely so the are working together for me to move

OP posts:

muddledmidget · 12/04/2021 10:10

My husband is a SW and has had periods of burnout and unsupportive managers. My advice would be to enable your manager stating that your workload feels unsafe and that you are struggling, and highlighting how long it has been since your last supervision and how many they have cancelled over that period. And wait for their reply. In the meantime, follow the advice above and write down the legal things that you need to do and the time frame in which you need to do them. And look for a job outside of your service. Then you don't need to wait to hand in your notice, you can just hand it in and complete your ASYE year somewhere else, there have definitely been SWs move into my husbands team (adult services) halfway through the ASYE and there are very few issues. Good luck!


Wudgy · 12/04/2021 10:45

Hi Op, it sounds like you have a lot going on and very little support, the process of supervision and protective caseload is a not being met here and you are sadly feeling the effects of it. Firstly email you’re manager- this is important to have a written account that you have raised issues and have concerns. State that you have not received supervision in x about of time, have had no opportunity to discuss cases and require a meeting immediately. State facts , you have had supervision cancelled etc, and also add at end of this is making you feel. It is important to email firstly to keep you manager accountable and also to have a written record that u have not received support on cases should there be An issue of work not being completed etc .
Secondly are you a member of Basw? Or another union? Might be useful to call them if things don’t improve.
On a practical level- as above write a to do list of everything needed to be done for each case outstanding and share this with you manager/ ask to discuss - are these the tasks that are necessary for these cases?
Does your work have free confidential counselling for staff like carecall? If so give them a call to help offload and get some emotional support.
It is a very difficult role you are in so please please try and take time out of office and go for a walk at lunch, confined in colleagues - see Gp and keep the goal in mind- you will be leaving soon onto a new role.
I was in a very similar situation previously moved into a job , wasn’t for me- emotionally and physically burnt out- cried in car park every lunchtime and even wished I’d be in an accident to avoid having to go in. What helped me was speaking out and calling out my very poor unsupportive manager ( to their manager ) and also trying to focus myself for each task I had to do daily.
Take a deep breath and stretch and I hope you have a better day today, I will be thinking of you !! Please report back!!


tattyteddy · 12/04/2021 15:35

Hi OP, your manager is letting you down a lot. Can you speak to another person you trust? What about union? This is shocking - you’re telling her you’re struggling and nothing is being done about it! What about speaking to her manager or head of service. I’m a social worker and know how hard this job is


empireants · 12/04/2021 15:51

@Thatsmycupoftea I've been in your exact position and really feel for you.

I agree with previous posters about putting how you feel and your concerns about your workload and lack of supervision in an email to your Manager. I also agree you should talk to your ASYE Supervisor - mine helped me and held my Manager to account over my workload and stress levels. In addition, I strongly recommend joining BASW and the Social Work Union.

I ended up having to take a month at a time off due to stress twice over 8 months. I didn't return after the second time and have never regretted it. I now have a much better Social Work job with a manageable workload and better pay.

Please private message me, I'd be more than happy to swap numbers and chat. No job is worth sacrificing your well-being.


Schmooo · 12/04/2021 16:02

Hi op, so sorry to hear this, as an asye you should have a reduced caseload. I agree you need a meeting with your asye assessor/supervisor, do you have a learning agreement setting out what you should be doing? Have you had all of your review meetings? Do contact them to have a look at what you should be doing at the moment. Hope it all improves soon and you can move on, it's very stressful and not for everyone x


hatgirl · 12/04/2021 16:12

I've been at the point you are at once in my social work career. The only fix for it is to leave. The longer you stay in that environment the more damage it will do to your confidence.

What you are experiencing is the physical and mental symptoms of stress.

I suggest speaking to HR and asking them to intervene in transferring you to the new team.

You could also try asking to be managed by your new manager even though you have work to finish off in your old team. That should put a stop to any new work being allocated by your current manager and you can work through with your new manager and a fresh pair of eyes what you need to do and what needs to be handed back to your old manager for reallocation.

Do you have any advanced practitioners or senior social workers you can approach that are more supportive?


Jenala · 12/04/2021 16:40

I would join a union firstly. Whoever is active in your LA. Where are you? I'm not sure BASW offer the kind of support you need, but Unison likely will.

Do you have an ASYE co-ordinator? They should also be giving regular supervision. I would email them both, include the date you last had supervision, state you are overwhelmed and close to being signed off sick with stress and need support. Meanwhile seek advice from your union at the same time. Did you sign an ASYE agreement at the start, with the amount of supervision you should be offered? Tell the union the lack of support and supervision coupled with high caseloads is making work unsafe.

The other advice on here with lists is good, sort out top priorities and then go from there. Going to court with little knowledge of the case is fucking horrible so I really feel for you. My first team was toxic and I ended up off sick. Bad management and big caseloads is terrible and IMPOSSIBLE. So don't beat yourself up. Theres a reason there is high staff turnover in social work - teams like this.

The union have helped me a lot in the past, though my LA managed to fire the main advisor that everyone loved, for spurious reasons, which says it all. Hugs op.

Also look for another job. Could you afford an unqualified role?


spongebunnyfatpants · 12/04/2021 18:34

I'm sorry op, this isn't what you want to hear, but this is what being a sw is like for the majority of the time.
You get no support, no supervision and no one to back you up when the poop hits the fan. The more you do (taking work home, working weekends) just to keep afloat, the more they expect you to do.
After 13 soul destroying years, which resulted in a break down, I got out and retrained.
It's not worth the stress op. Take some time away and reevaluate if this is really what you want to do.
Sending you hugs and Flowers


cafenoirbiscuit · 12/04/2021 19:20

Join Unison.
Put things in writing.
And have a hug from me. This is why I don’t work for children’s services any more


Pepperminttea16 · 12/04/2021 19:47

I just came to say that your manager does not get to dictate when you can start your notice, your contract does.


EmmaGrundyForPM · 12/04/2021 19:54

I'm a Sw although adults not children.

From what you say your manager is at fault here. As others have said, draft an email stating the facts re lack of support and then send it to your manager, copying in their manager.

You can give your notice. Make a list of your cases, prioritise them then work on the most important/ urgent.

Most LAs have staff counselling services - if you have access to such a scheme, use it. You do NOT have to put up with this.

I really hope the new job works out. Remember there are lots of branches of social work, you don't have to stay in children's services.


hatgirl · 12/04/2021 20:40


I just came to say that your manager does not get to dictate when you can start your notice, your contract does.

If it's classed as a transfer then it gets more complicated, the current manager can basically employ delaying tactics which is what I think the OP is experiencing.

It's absolutely a sign of a poor manager too, and luckily in the same situation a colleague who had the same issue tipped me off and told me to 'resign' rather than agree to transfer.

OP this always another option. Just quit. Give your notice properly and then at least for your own sanity you have an end date. It's highly likely your new job will still be there as they have already recruited you, and if not then it's highly likely you will be able to get a new job pretty quickly.

Thatsmycupoftea · 12/04/2021 21:08

Thank you all. I feel a bit better this evening and took on bored replies and tips.

I'm used to high case loads and I do love the job some of the time. I'm usually well organized but I think I just got a bit dumped on as staff have left our team in droves, so I end up doing constant duty and covering everyones cases. That coupled with lack of support just made it all feel impossible.

Just keeping going...the end is in sight.

OP posts:

Lynseylou1 · 12/04/2021 21:32

Get out of there as soon as you can as no job is worth feelig so bad that you have contemplated suicide.

I also work as a social worker and can completely relate to how your feeling and most social workers who work in childrens feel this way. Its completely overwhelming at times and if we dont have the right support its a million times worse.

Take care and good luck in your new job


goodbyeyellowbrick · 13/04/2021 00:33

I'm actually at uni to become a social worker, that sounds really tough and I'm sorry you're going through that. Your manager has totally failed you. No advice, but as others have said no job is worth your life. You'd be better on benefits in a bedsit than taking your life over a job that would replace you in a second. Try and switch off when you leave the office, make a rule to try and not think about work when you are home, make it your sanctuary and a place where you can totally relax and not stress about things. Easier said than done. You will get it all sorted and be feeling much better soon OP BrewThanks


normalsaline · 13/04/2021 01:38

No job is worth feeling suicidal over (I say this but I’ve been in your position before). I hope you feel brighter and lees stressed soon Flowers


DidgeDoolittle · 13/04/2021 10:03

I think that staff in that team are leaving in droves speaks volumes about the quality the manager.
Supportive managers don't lose staff like that.

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