From NY, NY — 01/02/2008
FEGS is a social service non-profit organization working with Human Resources Administration (HRA) by developing the welfare-to-work program. FEGS has many subsidiaries, many to do with job development, medical case management, and vocational case management and so on. I worked for the WeCARE department where there were more stressful hard times then there were good. Because of the welfare-to-work initiative, those clients receiving welfare were sent to WeCARE to find out medically if they can still work or if they are eligible to receive Social Security (SSI). As case managers, our job was to do a comprehensive service plan, or a background check, and provide medical references so that in 90 days they can be medically cleared by their physician (or in most cases, psychiatrists) to start working or return to work.
Pay: The pay was actually pretty good. They start you off in the early $30,s with an increase about every 6 months. But not much, maybe about 10 to fifteen dollars. The more work experience you have the more they pay you. Pretty fair. Itís great for recent college grads or people who are just starting out.
Respect: I always feel if you command respect you get it. However at WeCARE, there were many complaints from co-workers that say they were constantly disrespected by upper-management. I, personally never felt disrespected, but there was one woman who in upper management who never knew any of the assessment case managersí names. She would come to our weekly meetings, and never look us in the eye, and just talk about what she thought was needed to discuss. In the halls, she acted as if I never existed. Also there was a senior management who was also the same. Never said a word to us directly, but through one of his minions. Mostly it was how we were dressed. Thankfully he left after about a year and so did the mean woman.
Benefits: To be fair I never used the benefits (dummy me). They tell you itís full medical and dental, but itís not. Dental was horrible, and almost nothing was covered. From the company you get free gym membership at the YMCA, but only specific ones, which were usually in an area 100 miles from the actual workplace. And you only get the medical benefits after being with the organization for four months.
Job Security: When you start, you are required to join the union, to protect your job in case there is a disciplinary action. As the clichť goes, three strikes and youíre out. Good thing was my supervisor always thought twice before writing someone up. The bad thing was when she did write you up, it was usually her fault. See, she had never been in a supervisory position, and never gradually been promoted to a higher position. Because WeCARE was just starting up, they were desperate for new hires. So they hired her without realizing, she really had no idea what she was doing. Our one on one hour long supervisions consisted of her talking about her current failed personal relationships, and the last ten minutes of the supervision, scrambling to get things done. One of my co-workers was actually written up, during their vacation. Something the supervisor should have taken care of was now on the record of that poor person. Unfortunately that supervisor was all for self. Fortunately she quit before she was fired.
Work/Life balance- Work Environment: As with any job, you have a life after work if you make one for yourself. However with this job, you literally ran out of the office once the clock hit 5. Thatís if you didnít have any work leftover. There were many ppl who were trying to finish their work but were kicked out at 5. Sounds good, huh? Not when you had a ton of work left. I knew some people who took work home, and finished there. I had one co-worker who Mon-Fri was very cynical and negative but once Friday rolled around, was the happiest person on earth. There was a co-worker who told me they arrived home and cried most of the night. Our case /client load was ridiculously high. It started out with about 60-70 clients per case manager and went up to about 120-150 within months because of the high turnover right. Almost every month one or two people were quitting. And you had to be on top of each client making almost three calls to clients each month. Sounds like nothing but when you have about 150 clients plus 3 to 4 new ones coming in everyday, and useless administrative tasks, believe me its way more. Our job was a service capacity; most of us having great relationships with our clients, however there were times where we were almost wishing our clients wouldnít come in so that we can get some work done. 9 to 5 just wasnít enough of a workday to do all the things we needed to do before the next day. There was very little office morale, often none. When we had a chance to have one, it was shot down very quickly e.g., holiday parties etc. But there were favorites. I had one co-worker that no matter what she did, she never got in trouble. As much as I liked her, I knew it was because of her relationship with upper management, and it pissed off most of us. Social services is a field that requires plenty of patience and to work for WeCARE it really tested it.
Career Potential/ Growth: WeCARE was good at promoting people who did not deserve the promotions. As said before, if they were desperate to hire, they stayed within and hired people who just started and didnít have one clue of what they were doing. Location: WeCARE has many locations; the one I worked at was located in SOHO, lower Manhattan, near Greenwich Village which was one thing I loved about it. Plenty of bars to drink away the work sorrows.
Co-Worker Competence: One of the great things I can say about WeCARE is your co-worker relationships. Because everyone is so mutually miserable, you almost form a cohesive bond. Everyone looks out for one another, and even helps out when the need arises. Afterwards, together we drink the sorrows away.