Tips to have a rewarding career in social work

Social work is a field that is powered by the motivation to give back to one’s community. Professionals who choose this field of work have a drive and are compassionate and the need to uplift others around them. Social workers operate in a wide array of settings. They work with financially burdened families, underprivileged and neglected children, domestic abuse cases, and much more.

Needless to say, social work professions operate in highly stressful and emotionally draining situations. They navigate through complicated mazes of societal norms, distressful conditions, and legislation. It is usual for a professional to feel emotionally and physically drained.

It makes one wonder, is it possible to carve out a rewarding career in social work? Keep reading to find out.

Advanced Education & Training

Social work professionals are selfless, compassionate, and driven by their desire to contribute to their community. But that doesn’t mean they lack ambition and do not seek career advancement. We all desire career advancement and financial stability, and social workers seek prestige and respect above all.

It is vital to prioritize academic advancement and skill-building. Higher education opens up scores of opportunities to build a lucrative career and pursue your core ambitions. For instance, if you’re currently working with an NGO, pursuing a masters of social work online can open many doors.

Advancing your education can help you enjoy advancement in your organization. You can also perfect your resume with higher education and training to apply for your dream job. You can make your skillset more marketable and prolific to attract offers from domestic and international organizations.

Training and education will help you climb to the top and establish yourself as an expert. You can even explore prestigious teaching positions in universities and training centers.

Networking & Building Support

Networking is relevant and instrumental for professionals from any given field as it allows one to build connections. In social work, networking and relationships are essential to make support and connect with like-minded professionals.

There are numerous industry events and associations that allow networking opportunities. It is instrumental in joining all the local, state, and national organizations relevant to your field. Attending networking events and seminars will help you meet professionals from all over the country. You can seek guidance and mentorship opportunities and seek out professional support.

Numerous online and offline support groups help social workers gain emotional release and professional guidance. Some cases are delicate and emotionally gripping, and increased emotional involvement can make things complicated. Meeting with professionals and seeking their advice helps social workers carve out a healthy balance.

Prioritize Yourself

It is easy for a social worker to get caught up with a case and lose track of time. It’s easy for work hours to merge with our personal lives, and before we know it, work is the only life we have. But when your profession is emotionally and physically stressful, you need to realign your priorities.

Are you carving out enough time for yourself? Do you spend time with your partner, family, and children? Managing a social work career and a family is extremely challenging as both demand our undivided attention. It is important to set healthy boundaries and avoid merging your work hours with family time.

Leave all your paperwork and chores at the office, and avoid discussing your cases at dinner parties. Take time out to read a book, book a manicure session, and pamper yourself after concluding a stressful matter.

Don’t Get too Involved

You must have heard this a million times. Don’t get too involved in your cases, and don’t make emotional investments. Imagine a scenario where you’re working with a drug addict with a heart-wrenching history of child abuse. You spend weeks working on this case and helping the addict work through the steps of recovery.

You find yourself emotionally and mentally invested to the extent where your own family life is getting neglected. And one morning, you wake up to find that after months of investing your energies, the drug addict is using again.

As a social worker, it is your job to help people, but not at the cost of your emotional wellbeing. However, help people whenever you like, but set boundaries and do not get emotionally involved. That will only cloud your judgment and make you irrational.

Conclusion

People commonly blame social workers for the numerous lapses in the system that fail to curb social injustice and inequality. But what they fail to realize is the challenges faced by a social worker each day. Carving out a rewarding career requires balance, goals, and ambitions.

Ask yourself: where do I see myself in the next ten years? Do I want to continue serving my community or work with a renowned global organization?