So I’m going to be COMPLETELY transparent with you all I’m not ALWAYS the biggest fan of my chosen career path. I’m going to give you some of my own personal pros/cons.
To start off I began my college experience as a Nursing major. My mother had always wanted me to get my BSN however, after getting into a Nursing program and taking courses I recognized it was not for me. During the process I had began taking more classes in Human Services/ Social Work and ultimately became interested in that career path. If I’m being honest I was ALWAYS cautioned about Social Work from family/friends as most of the people interested in the profession/ working in it are. However, I continued to remain firm with my desire to help others in a different capacity than Nursing.
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
Salary! Of course I will start here. I believe it’s criminal to pay Masters educated & Licensed professionals what the median SW wage is. While, I knew prior to entering the career it wouldn’t be the most lucrative I do find that the amount of work that is done in this profession that the salary ranges should be MUCH higher. Not including continuing education requirements & licensing fees that come around regularly.
Burn Out! The burn out is so real! The first few years are definitely like the memes you see. When you’re first in the field you have so much inspiration, drive and passion however, as time progresses it takes a major toll! Constantly dealing with misfortune, sadness and constant reminders that this world is a fucked up placed can truly place you in your own depression is your self care isn’t a constant priority.
Being Downplayed! As I stated earlier my family/friends were not into my career choice. I was told things like “you’re too smart”, “don’t you want to make actual money” “why would you want to do that”? Even to this day with my feelings about my career changing daily I still think it’s so offensive. The licensing exams & Masters programs are in no shape easy & I personally wish it was a career that carried more esteem.
Helping Others! I currently work as a therapist with children/teens and I genuinely feel that I regularly make a difference in someone’s life. When I start to become burnt out I typically get a thankful client and/or family that helps to put everything back into perspective.
Cultural Competence! In Social Work they talk a lot about being culturally sensitive/ aware. I feel that my education has made me aware of a lot of the inconsistencies in this world & given me the tools to advocate for those that need advocacy.
Listening/Support! I believe that my career has made me a better daughter, sister, friend etc. Due to the amount of sadness and pain I see on a regular basis it has helped me develop more insight & in turn share that with my loved ones. I feel my career has made me more patient, understanding and supportive.
I feel that the choice to start a career in Social Work should be one that’s researched/ thought out. If you’re looking into the career or already in school for SW recognizing your needs vs. wants is key! Also, understanding your personality and what areas of Social Work would be best suited for you!