Once upon a time, enormous government reforms rolled out to effect all aspects of social care. Service providers were terrified, large providers ate up the little providers, peaks fought against each other as funding got tighter and tighter and Government departments tried their best to implement half baked reform concepts while minister's remained tight lipped on future reform decisions.
I want you to meet Misha. Misha is married to an Aboriginal man. Misha has three children. Misha is smart. Misa is small and thin with two earrings in each ear and half her hair shaved off on one side. Misha manages a team at an aged care peak. Misha talks strategy with 'the feds' So, we are told to think, Misha has gotten her life right.
But Misha also has deep wrinkles across her face. (She is only 51.) But Misha never spends time at home. (She loves her family.) But Misha is afraid of her own team to the point of paranoia because many of them are experienced and smart. (Misha you are experienced and smart, and you can still learn from others).
But Misha twists truths and her philosophy on reform chameleon like to suit whom she speaks to (does Misha remember what it is she fights for anymore?) But Misha holds on to her fed contacts like a miser to his purse (but does Misha know who she promised to represent?) But Misha is so afraid of losing power that she feels sick to the stomach when one of her subordinates knows something she doesn't (does Misha care that she thinks managing is synonymous with running a team of controlled automatons?) But Misha has left behind a trail of broken relationships; angry providers and peaks and sector support workers (it's never her fault, but theirs) But Misha says, 'we tried years ago to engage other stakeholders, and they wouldn't play, so we screw them over' (the same stakeholders who call and email me off the record. One being the CEO of a competitor peak).
But Misha thinks she knows it all (that's why she thinks she understands me when I tell her, it's not you, it's me, and I have to go away).
But Misha thinks I am making a big mistake. I rejected her team, after all (that's why she uses her false sugar-sweet high pitch on me).
But Misha thinks I care about her so much (no, but I care about the providers I swore to help when my old peak was tricked into giving our government contracts to you. I stayed for them, not for you).
But Misha thinks, 'Maureen understands this Game of Thrones we all play. She is like me and I can respect her.' (Yes, I understand it, but I will take no more part in it because playing with people's lives is not a game).
Misha smiles at me and her smile is false. Misha says kind words to me and her words are false.
I have worked in policy and sector support in disability and aged care for two years. I was on good pay. I walked the corridors of power, however briefly. I helped to change national policy. I helped to save providers about to go under. I threw providers lifelines. I learnt to lead and to speak with authority and confidence. I learnt about engagement, about what works. I learnt about strategy and about Boards. I learnt about the intricacies of political feuds and backdoor deals. I learnt that John Le Carre wasn't lying in his books when he spoke hard truths about government and about bureaucracy.
I felt myself growing to like my power, and I grew afraid. I saw parts of myself in Misha. Ugly, ugly parts, and I was afraid.
I can't take the falseness and the double dealings and the back stabbings and the power hungry games and the whispers, whispers in politicians ears any longer. Not without becoming part of the game.
So I quit the job I started December last year. I go full time at my dream job in disability doing front line work with people with disability again from May. I go to a provider who has a vision, and believes in that vision with all of its small heart and soul.
I go to stop myself becoming a second generation Misha. I go because I promised myself, in my first God awful disability NFP job, that I will never stop telling them Albertine. That I will tell them of my metaphorical Rwanda. Always.
And one day I will write about Misha and about Petyr Baelish and about State of Play in Australian social care reform, and what I write will be angry and bitter and sad because such a story will always be marked by a sense of moral wrongness. Such futility. Such waste. So much of people's very real ideals played upon to feed others personal agendas.
So I make this promise to you and to the world: I will never rest till I have told them of what I have seen and where I have been. I will never rest until I have told the world of Albertine.
Not now that I have seen I am responsible.
This entry was originally posted at http://dweomeroflight.dreamwidth.org/108