I’ve been a qualified Social Worker now for several years. In that time, I have worked primarily within Children & Young People Services (Initial Assessment, Child Protection & Children Looked After).
Every day a new challenge presents itself. Well, if I’m honest, it’s more like several at any one time. Yes, the job is tough, involves long hours and is very emotionally draining. However, I knew this would be the case before I began studying to be a Social Worker, as some of my closest friends are in the profession.
So, why Social Work? Well, I certainly did not come into this job to be rewarded or thanked by my friends or family. In actual fact, I’m not allowed to talk about my job for fear of upsetting them. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. Likewise, I did not come into the role because of monetary rewards. I admit that the pay has significantly improved. But, if I were to work out the actual hours I do a week (and not just the 37 I’m paid for), I am likely to find that I am working for less than minimum wage.
I became a Social Worker for one simple reason – I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to work with people who were less fortunate than myself (whether opportunity or monetary). I wanted to work with societies most vulnerable people. I wanted to help them achieve and make better opportunities so as they could thrive like I have been able to because of others around me. They have often supported me in my time of need and wow, there were many of those!
My biggest belief is that we can all make good decisions and improve oneself if we are provided with 1) the right tools and 2) given an opportunity. It is this thought process or key value that is the reason as to why I have been able to remain positive in a profession that is like a hot political potato. There have been numerous changes to my work, even in the short time I have been qualified. Some have been for the better but others are more representative of a curve ball in the game of baseball. What I don’t get is the lack of connection between decision makers and those on the front-line. Because surely it makes sense to seek advice and guidance from those that have a wealth of experience?
However, no matter what negatives continue to be reported within the media about my chosen profession, I will continue to work to the very best of my ability. I will continue to strive to support others as best as I can. I will continue to develop my learning and skills/knowledge base so as I can offer a service to those deemed in need. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning and work “Friday Night Lights” (twilight hours on a Friday often involving a trip to the local Hospital).
So, to those that genuinely want to make a difference and support those in need, join the Social Work profession. Yes, it will challenge you, but when you get that single case that thanks you for what you have done or the support you have provided them so they can achieve… well, it all becomes worth it!
This has been written by a front-line Social Worker. If you would like us to publish a piece in relation to Social Care Practice, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article has been sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education