Social Services Snobs

I recently had an experience with a social services agency that paints an unfriedly face for the organization.

Almost Home, run by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Mary, provides teen mothers with the chance to make a better life for themselves and their children. In exchange for going to school, remaining free from drugs, establishing the norms of social achievement (job, daycare, financial assistance, child-rearing skills, etc.), the women and their babies have a safe, comfortable place to live, help with their children, etc. The women are in the home for up to one year and recieve follow-up help after they leave. It’s a wonderful program.

The front office, though, is another matter.

A woman committed to helping others applied for a position at the center as a Social Worker. The center offered to hire someone lacking a degree or license in social work provided that person obtain the certification within two years. Aside from the certification, the candidate was qualified in all respects. Even if she weren’t, it wouldn’t matter.

She waited a week for an acknowledgement of her application, sent via e-mail to the business manager at the center’s request. Worried that they didn’t recieve the resume and letter, she sent a follow-up e-mail. Still no reply. She complained, understandably, to me.

You know what really bothers me about Almost Home? They are in the business of helping others and all I’m asking for is a few minutes of their time. I need their help. I need their assistance in helping me to find a position-be it with them or someone else. I need a little bit of guidance–and guess what? What I’m asking for is free, free. Just a few minutes of face time. I cannot believe that they haven’t even bothered to e-mail me back. All she could’ve said is, Yes, I received your e-mail. Thanks for your application.

I feel so defeated. I can’t even get in to a place, for an interview, and they weren’t even asking for someone with a degree. How sad is that?

Her e-mail got my Irish up. I emailed the center’s director to say I’m surprised that her organization is so lacking in professional manners.

Why can they not even send a simple acknowledgement? Don’t they realize that a woman with a college degree wants to take a pay cut to work a nasty job helping society’s most vulnerable people, it’s a compliment? I even sent Target gift cards to the center so some of the young women could buy small gifts for their kids, or something for themselves.

The response from Almost Home’s communication director was shockingly cold, impersonal, and sarcastic:

I can assure you that all resumes that are sent into us are diligently looked over. We have received an enormous response from the employment ads that were placed and as such it has taken a considerable amount of time to go through.

We are a very small office with an even smaller budget, it is not financially responsible for us to reply to every applicant. The cost would be prohibitive. As a businessman I am sure you can sympathize with this. [Emphasis mine.]

I replied that I’m sorry I wasted her time, I didn’t realize the high cost of sending a boiler-plate e-mail saying,