21 December 2006

The road to success - don't be an advocate

Just had a quick christmas drink with someone in the pub, and they admitted that the reason they were being more successful in their job was because they'd finally realised that they shouldn't always try so hard to be an advocate...

Maybe everyone thinks this, but I do still believe the Wakefield is a more difficult place than many to be a proper advocate. The fact is that politics is still so important, sometimes it seems like you get better results if you play the game. So you sacrifice advocacy for results...

My friend thinks there will be a backlash against the increasing professionalisation of advocacy, and that projects like his, like IMCAs, etc, will eventually be rejected by the common people who want a 'proper' advocate who is going to try to make their voice heard rather than just try to get the result they want.

I think this is a challenge many of us are facing, in various ways...

2 comments:

Jody Gabriel said...

I agree, once you have got an advocate head its a bit like a curse (tried to think of a better way to put it). Like being the only one at daughters school who complains about the way that they charge for child care. Like being the only one at Wakefield College that complains about agency staff getting 22p a mile and permanent staff getting 40p a mile for expenses. I know advocacy isn't all about complaining, there is also the difficulty of taking on agency care work shifts when the places that you are sent usually have problems that you can't ignore. Or you encourage a student to challenge her work's practices and it back fires in her face. I try and support all the people I am challenging. It effects all my relationships, and there is no going back. Isn't that what advocacy is about though? - Working on relationships.

Henry said...

What I meant to add, and I did say this to my friend, was that I thought there were advocacy schemes that took quite a strong stance in this area but still managed to be successful (in the end).

That is, I think some advocates support their partners very strongly and maintain good professional standards. Sometimes they may seem to lose a lot of battles because service staff get aggrieved at the complaints and refuse to negotiate. After a couple of years of this though I think it gets easier. Various more supportive people get to hear of your work, your reputation improves, and you can continue to take the same challenging approach but find less resistance and more success...

Let's hope so anyway.