Being new to this sector I’ve had an awful lot to learn. I previously had some volunteering experience with young people. Coming into this role I wasn’t sure about the ways to communicate as a professional working directly with young people. In my first few months with Your Own Place I’ve learnt an awful lot on this.
During my first few weeks, on a handful of occasions, I was mistaken for a young service user. I took this as a compliment, naturally. But I was so disheartened by the way I was treated – little to no eye contact and little interest in listening to what I had to say. In these moments of confusion I felt like a burden, I felt judged and I felt uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong, 99% of the experiences I’ve had throughout my journey so far have been positive and there are some amazing organisations working with Norfolk’s young people. But these handful of experiences still resonate with me.
For me this was the best learning experience I could have. While professional boundaries are fundamental to the work I do, I place mutual respect at the same level of importance. We cannot build up the aspirations of young people whilst rolling our eyes at them and muttering under our breath.