I spent my entire brief career as an attorney trying to get income- and disability-based benefits for vulnerable people. It was a grueling and traumatizing career track that I realize now (and kind of realized at the time at different times) was based not in actually helping people by understanding their circumstances and getting people what they desperately needed, but in cruelly gaslighting them and wasting their time and energy doing “intakes” and whatnot when they could least afford the expense. I have written here before about one potential client that was referred to me by a medical provider because he said people were threatening and following him. Turns out, this man was quite mentally ill and was having delusions and it was left not up to his doctors (who palmed him off on me) but to me, a young attorney, to put the pieces together for him and to figure out what was really going on, but not before wasting a significant amount of his time.
Of course, even if there were people following and threatening him there is little to nothing a lawyer could’ve done about it. I told the man to call the police if he felt threatened, and as was the policy of the nonprofit I was working for at the time, got the man’s consent to speak with the referring medical providers about his “case” when what I really wanted to do was punch the lot of them in the mouth for failing their own patient so egregiously and palming him off on me like he was garbage and I was a can. Don’t even get me started on how much I hated that job. I wasn’t well liked either and after 10 months was invited to leave. To be fair, if I hadn’t needed the money myself, having just quit a perfectly good job at a for-profit law firm (which I also hated) in order to take that one, I would’ve quit my dream job at this nonprofit after a couple of weeks once I realized what really went on there, and that “case” with the elderly Spanish-speaking mentally ill man is a decent example of what a day at the office looked like there. Here’s another: