A career in social work can be extremely rewarding, as it a profession devoted to helping people. It's unlike any other career in that it offers a variety of opportunities; these positions are found in schools, hospitals, police departments, courts, and countless other workplaces. While often filled with great meaning and deep satisfaction, there are undeniably some challenges that come along with a career in this field.
Below we will discuss some information, advice, and insight about the field from the perspective of seasoned social workers.
- Continuing education is a necessity. The field of social work is constantly evolving, so practitioners need to be devoted to personal growth in the form of continuing education. Continuing education can include the pursuit of higher education and advanced degrees, or it might simply mean attending training and workshops.
- Take care of yourself. As a social worker, it's easy to get so emotionally invested in your clients that you forget to take some time to take care of yourself. However, finding an appropriate work and life balance is critical to being effective in this role. Invest time in caring for yourself and nurturing your own relationships.
- Every person and every situation is unique. When you receive a new client or assignment, remember that every person and every family is different-- however similar the circumstances may seem. Take time to get to know each person as an individual and remember that everyone has their own unique set of life circumstances that contributed to where they are today.
- Listen more than you talk. You will learn so much more by listening-- really listening-- to what others have to say than you will by talking. Listening builds trust; your clients have to know that you value what they have to say. In addition, while you may have the higher education and impressive degrees, it's a guarantee that everyone you work with can teach you something.
- Respect and be respected. While you are the authority figure, it's critical to treat each and every client with respect. Being kind and respectful will prove to be much more productive than being controlling, or worse, condescending.
- Let people know that you care. Think back to a time in your life when you were in a difficult situation. Remember the people who reached out to you during that time. Then be that person for your clients. Being compassionate doesn't mean that you have to lack appropriate boundaries.
For more information about a career in social work, please contact us.
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