Thursday, October 19, 2006

Relationship Advice

I have been a social worker for twenty five years. During that time I have worked with hundreds of people. My jobs have varied over the years, but primarily I have worked with children and their families. About a year ago I began considering a career change. I felt that I was not as effective with people any more and I was getting tired of budget issues and the ever changing laws that effect human services. I saw an ad on the internet about giving relationship advice. I thought this was intriguing so I responded to the ad.
I needed to supply my resume on line. I was contacted by a person that worked for the company. She told me that the relationship advice was similar to call in radio shows; however the people I would be dealing with would be through interactions on the internet. She explained that many people do not want to seek relationship advice on the air waves for fear that someone will recognize their voice or their story. By seeking relationship advice on the internet they could remain anonymous. She said that my interview would be fielding two calls that wanted relationship advice. One of the calls would be on the telephone and other would be a live chat room interaction on the internet.
I did the two calls with a third person listening in to evaluate my ability to interact with the people calling in as well the quality of the advice I was able to give. The person rating me liked my phone interactions and typed responses and hired me. We made arrangements that I would start part time so that I could keep me other job in case this did not work out.
I could not believe the number of people that turn to strangers for relationship advice. I have found it most helpful to talk to people that not only know me well, but also know my husband. The people that are looking for tips and advice on the internet are usually very rushed. They want a quick answer to their relationship issue. They want a solution that will be easily implemented and long lasting. I try to explain that relationship advice over the phone or internet is very general and is not therapy. I was concerned at first that people would not get the level of service that they may need, however if I did interact with someone that I felt had needs that went beyond relationship advice I would give them referral information to a mental health center. I found that I enjoyed giving out relationship advice and could not believe the situations I was asked to counsel people on. This has turned into an enjoyable full time job that is much less stressful and quite rewarding.