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Who Wants to be a Social Worker?


When did you decide to become a social worker?
Who influenced you?

Was there an event or person who most influenced your decision to become a social worker?

Let us know the answers to these questions below, in the comment box.

New Report from The Center for Workforce Studies
Who Wants to be a Social Worker?
Career Influences and Timing

The 2004 benchmark national study of licensed social workers provided a wealth of information about social workers’ roles and work environments. The study also raised new questions about the social work workforce that required further exploration. Although the 2004 findings pointed to a looming shortage of licensed social workers, there was still much to learn about why this was the case. In what ways did career decision points, educational debt, workplace stressors, and other factors influence the recruitment and retention of this professional workforce? The NASW Membership Workforce Study was an effort to respond to such remaining questions and to gain more insight into the social work workforce.

76 comments

  1. I decided I wanted to be a social work when I lost interest in Nursing school. I’ve influenced myself and my decision. I wanted to make a difference in the world. There was an event that influenced my decision. One bad decision I made by driving under a suspended license which landed me in jail. Paris Hilton had the same charge, but the only difference was that I served my time and money sure does take in the criminal justice sysem. I couldn’t afford a real lawyer. Being in the system I saw everything and realized how messed up our justice system works. Not only the system, but the politics behind the system. I realized that there are intellectual people incarcerated and they are real human beings that have just made bad decisions. I also had trouble recooperating from that tramatic experience and there was no rehabilitation services available prior to release. It took me a year to get my mentality back. I have no record and I am a student at Edinboro University. I was a student before I was even incarcerated. I’m currently enrolled in my first year of social work and I love it. I have a strong passion for wanting to work in the criminal justice field as a social worker. I want to accomplish getting more rehabilitation services available after incarceration, policy changes when it comes to jails, and even parenting classes. I have conducted a research paper on a poineer of social work and I’ve discovered Creasie Finney Hairston. She has a Ph.D. in social work and has done amazing research within the criminal justice field. Creasie has used her degree with great efforts in research and many publications on incarcerated issues. She sees all the things wrong with the system and how people that are incarcerated are individuals too, even parents. They are real human beings with needs. We need more social workers interested in this field. These people need help and are left helpless while incarcerated. They aren’t allowed to have freedom of speech or words to defend themselves. I know some people aren’t meant for the criminal justice field, but I urge the people who have a strong-street mentalities to belong in this field of expertise. These people need your help. Millions of people are incarcerated and even charged with incarceration everyday.

    Thank you,
    Brittany Clark

  2. I entered the undergraduate program at a four-year university majoring in Accounting. I soon found out that was NOT for me.

    I don’t believe “I” decided to be a social worker. I was destined to be a social worker. I believe it was a part of me all along; a calling from God, and I chose to walk in my calling.

    I was not influenced by anyone; however, after I entered the bachelor’s program and the professors (who were experienced in the field) shared their experiences, I knew being a social worker was the profession for me. I have been successful at it, and I enjoy doing it. That’s how I know it was meant for me to be a social worker.

  3. I think it was fate that I became a social worker. I knew I would be in the health care field but thought I would be a nurse. I actually switched majors half way through college. But, back to “fate”. My father is a Viet Nam Veteran with multiple mental health issues. I think I just learned to deal with his strange and inappropriate behaviors while I was growing up. It is a natural instinct for me to help others with mental health issues. Or maybe it’s my subconscious directing me.

  4. Joshua (Ithaca, NY)

    After graduating from The Evergreen State College with a B.A. I relocated to Portland, Oregon. A friend was able to recommend me for a job at a social service agency, Metropolitan Family Services. My supervisor was an MSW and a dynamic person to work with. 10 years later I decided to go to graduate school to get an MSW. That’s it.

  5. I wanted to become a nurse to be honest. But after nursing my partner for over eight years, I decided that a nursing career would be too emotional. I decided to become a Social Worker as I knew it would still be within the caring environment, and would still be able to make a huge change within a persons life. I hope once I have finished University I can use the chance and gift I have been given to change a persons life for the better. Being a Social Worker is not just about tellin people what they can or can’t do, but to empower them and inspire them to help themselves.

  6. After the Peace Corps and tenant organizing-I wanted a degree that offered me the possibility for higher pay and that still let me hold true to my beliefs. After looking into it-I realized that social work fit the bill. Also, my family was helped by social workers when I was younger. I think that people are not presented with a clear picture of what social work can be and it isn’t discussed as a career option as much as it should be.

  7. I decided to be a social worker when I was in my teens because I felt that I could be more effective as a social worker than as an elementary school teacher. I realized that as a teacher I would worry too much about the children once they got home and knew I could do more to help the child in their home-life as a social worker. I was influenced by several individuals and events. A court-appointed social worker in a “supportive” role protected me during a difficult time and I was truly touched. Events such as the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia impacted my desire to help others both globally and locally and truly determined my role as a social worker focusing on disaster relief. Events like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita impacted my immediate surroundings and drew me even closer to the real work of social workers. I can’t pinpoint an exact person or event that sealed the deal for me because I have come in contact with so many wonderful people and difficult circumstances that all eventually led me to where I am today. One of the most amazing things about social work is the versatility of our degree and licensure. We can do so much and in so many different settings and that keeps me hopeful. I’m very pleased to officially be a social worker and continue to strive towards my ever-expanding dreams. Go Social Work!!

  8. I decided to become a social worker when I was in high school – probably senior year. I don’t believe it was a person that influenced my decision – more personal reasons. I had some chronic health problems that began during high school and that influenced my decision to enter the helping profession.

  9. Arthur Lynch, DSW was a huge inspiration in my getting my MSW. I am the field a few yrs now and I just love the work and am constantly inspired by my clients.

    -Jules Cohen,MSW
    Social worker
    Project Contact

  10. social workers are in great demand to face the social problems of the 20th Century.

  11. What made me become a social worker is that I was tired of seeing kids adused and not being taken care of right. If you have kids I think you should change your whole life just for your kids.

  12. Charisse Jesiolowski

    I was working in customer service in a local factory and hated my job. I have always like helping and giving to others. After getting downsized from that job, I decided to take the opportunity to go back to school. I started taking Human Service classes and love it. I thought I wanted to work with kids, but wasn’t sure. I just know I wanted to be of service to others.
    At Sauk Valley Community College, I had a teacher who was and remains an inspiration and support to me, Judy Hill. She encouraged me to go on with my education. I did go on to get my bachelors. Due to some situations in life that came up I took social work classes but ended up with a bachelors in Psychology. I started out working with kids, but again situations happened, and I started working in hospice. I loved it!!! After doing some research and alking with Judy yet again, I decided to go back to get my Masters in social work so I can work in End of Life Care. I am about a year away from my Masters with certification in End of Life care from the University of Iowa. I am currently working as a social work assistant in a local hospice and love what I do. I love helping people to get through a tough time in their lives. I have lived through several deaths in my family, and now can “pay it forward” the compassion, and support I was given. I also want to get a Masters in Gerentology or at least a certificate, and certified in bereavement.
    As the baby boomer generation ages the need for hospice and palliative care is growing. There also is a growing need for social workers to be recognized to have many skills and talents that can be used in many other ways in the hospice or end of life care. I want to bring about a change in the attitude towards social workers to present the fact that we have much more to offer than we are given the opportunity. I want to make a difference in the lives of people.

  13. I knew I wanted to be a social worker when I was in the last year of undergrad. I was graduating with a degree in sociology–which was a great area of study–but all we ever did was talk about the problems. There were no solutions offered. I wanted to DO SOMETHING about these problems. An MSW degree was how I’d get to do so.

    I’m graduating with my MSW in May 2009. I can’t wait to work with children and families to hopefully bring about some change to the many problems I talked about during my undergraduate education.

  14. I was in high school and trying to decide what to do with my life, college major, etc. when my mom told me to think of something I would do even if I wasn’t getting paid for it. I realized that listening to people going through hard times and finding ways to help them through it was just natural for me. I couldn’t imagine my life not doing that, and after 5 years in the field I still feel so blessed that I actually get paid to do that!

  15. As a young man working with gangs in the streets of New York City, I had a mentor who was a social worker. He taught me how to write grant proposals so that I could get funding for my gang prevention programs. He also taught how to set up a nonprofit organization, which I created to serve Asian American youths and their families. I am very thankful to Mr. Kwang Kim, MSW for his inspiring me to become a social worker!

  16. When did you decide to become a social worker? I decided to become a social worker after having worked in the field for three years. I truly loved what I did and wanted the opportunity to progress in social work.
    Who influenced you? There are many social workers that have been my mentors, but two of them stand out: Jodi Smith and Merrilee Buchanan. They are two of the most talended, amazing social workers. I strive to be as talented as them at some point in my career.
    Was there an event or person who most influenced your decision to become a social worker? My life events were most influential in my decision. I was raised by a single mom, who relied on social services to create a healthy and happy home for our family. I have wanted to “give back” in a meaningful way and I have found the social work profession fulfills that goal.

  17. I decided to become a social worker less than a year ago, during the summer of 2008. In two weeks I will complete the first semester of my MSW program. I finished my BS in Accounting 12 years ago. Sometime during the last 5 years I realized that I wanted a career that involved helping others instead of sitting in front of a computer all day. Last year I took classes in an Occupational Therapy Assistant program, but still felt that something did not click for me. This spring I was in a serious car accident that resulted in 2 fractured ribs, PTSD, and a major depressive episode. My therapist was very supportive during this time. I had suicidal thoughts; the only thing that kept me from acting on them was that I had made a promise with her not to hurt myself. When I reached the point where I feared that I might break that promise, I decided to admit myself to a psychiatric hospital. While I was there, she would call me to see how I was doing. That meant a lot to me. After I had recovered from my depression, I decided to make some changes in my life. I had gastric bypass surgery and applied to graduate school to get my MSW. My therapist, an LCSW, has been an inspiration to me. I hope to one day be as good a therapist as she is. If I can help just one person the way she has helped me, it will mean so much to me. No other therapist in my life had ever been able to get past the barriers I had used to protect myself from getting hurt. She is a brilliant therapist and an amazing woman. I am so lucky to have her in my life.

  18. I knew I wanted to be a social worker when my family got a foster child and I got another brother. I didn’t think I would like another one frankly, but Miles had a way of changing your mind with his big gold eyes. He was killed by the police and I and my family were threatened…..that opened a whole new world for me where people were not only mistreated by actually thrown away with no value at all. I will never stop doing my best to change inhumanity in whatever ways that I can.

  19. I didn’t decide to become a social worker, it was always in me to become one. My father was a social worker and my greatest influence. He had been a mechanical engineer and was making good money, powerful job, and was miserable. He decided to go back to school and start a career he could feel good about. Social work allowed him to touch so many lives in a positive way, and I knew that I wanted to do the same thing.
    I went to college when I was 34 years old to get my Bachelor of Social Work degree. Now, I am preparing to start graduate school and be on my way to becoming a therapist. I know I will never been rich, but I feel that I am rewarded every day when I am able to make a difference.

  20. In 2000, I became a Court-Appointed Advocate for Abused and Neglected Children in Atlanta. I think I knew then that I wanted to be a Social Worker, but the pay was so low that I could not afford to do it. In 2003, I moved back home with my parents so I could afford to receive the low pay and I worked as a Case Manager in foster care for 2 years. I was hooked. I already had a Master’s degree in Criminology but what I needed was an MSW. In 2005 I began work on my MSW and as soon as I took that first class I KNEW I was in the right place. I am working now as a Forensic Social Worker (how cool is that?! I got to combine my two master’s degrees for the good of the community!) and I expect to be an LCSW in July 2009. And I LOVE my vocation!!!! Now if I could just get that student loan repayment assistance…..

  21. I decided I wanted to be a social worker when I realized that social work is very similar to psychology (my major in undergrad), except it puts more emphasis on helping people and finding their strengths rather than giving them a diagnosis and being predominately problem-focused.
    I was influenced mostly by two people to get into social work: a professor during my undergraduate career and my mother. My professor had a really good take on working with people and helping them, and it was realistic yet he put a good spin on it. He was very innovative in his work and he was a great teacher. He had a lot of experience and it was inspiring to me. My mother is a year ahead of me in the graduate social work program in which I am currently studying. She has been an integral person in helping me understand the meaning behind social work and our purpose as professionals. It is certainly helpful to have someone to talk to about my studies.

  22. When did you decide to become a social worker?

    I decided that I wanted to become a social worker when my Mum became terminally ill and she was referred to a social worker in out local area. This lady did not offer my Mother any support at all, did not make any referrals for support and after the first visit informed my Mum that there was not alot that she could do to assist her or our family…who obviously falling apart.
    I was 20 y.o at the time and due to familial financial hardship was working 12 hour shifts at night to financially support my parents (my father had fallen four stories from a uilding while he was at work a year after my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer). Dad would care for Mum during the night and I would care for Mum during the day…at times getting only an hour or two sleep each 24 hour period.
    When my Mum passed away, I contacted this social worker to ask her of she could help me find some support regarding my grief and loss and she informed me ina very cold tone that she could not assist me and hung up on me.

    Who influenced you?

    After meeting this social worker, I decided that I wanted to do what she was doing…and that one day I would be work in the area that she is in and actually do my job, unlike her.
    My Mum also helped me complete my registration for uni and really wanted me to work in that field also. So they were my main influences, myself, my Mum and this poorly skilled social worker.

    Was there an event or person who most influenced your decision to become a social worker?

    I believe that if my Mother hadnt become terminally ill, I would have continued to live a carefree life as all 20 year olds do and most likely wouldnt have given a career in social work much thought.

    When I initially completed my degree I worked within children and family services but three years later I finally got the break I was looking for in Community Aged Care. I immensely enjoy working within this field as I find the clients to be lacking in so much support and its great that I can go in and support them not only with every day tasks but also goal setting and future planning to ensure they live out the remainder of their life with quality.

    Thank you
    Lisa

  23. I didn’t know what I wanted 2 be “When I grew up”, but I got a job out of high school in a social work dept…and the rest is history..It is fulfilling, frustrating , but rewarding as well…I currently work in hospice..and I love it..It teaches u to njoy life, laugh, live and not 2 take the ones u love for granted…I am reminded of that every day and for me..I need that,

  24. I wanted to become either a Social Worker or a Psychologist back in 10th grade. It took me quite awhile to get my degrees (13 years working on my BSW as I worked full-time & raised a family) and then got my MSW in 1 year. I came from a dysfunctional family, like many… and through a lot of hard work and therapy, I came out a Survivor… not just a survivor, but a Thriver! I’ve had several mentors, Claire, who had her BSW and helped me get through my turbulent teen years, (she’s now 80!) and Gerry, who refused to give up on me and was a steady, consistent support while I finished up the last of my BSW… I like to think he “believed me well.” *smiles* While I’ve been fortunate to have several healthy role models, there wasn’t any ONE person or event that led me to go into the field of Social Work. I *am* thankful for a couple of my BSW professors & a couple of my MSW professors, they made my journey a lot more interesting and enjoyable.

  25. Brad A. Palmertree

    I moved to NYC from Tennessee shortly after high school. I had dreams of making it big on Broadway but after only a month in the City I phoned my mother to tell her that I didn’t think acting was for me. I had not auditioned for one play or made one headshot. I had, however, started to volunteer at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan as a way to get to know and involve myself in the gay community. I started with only a 3 hour weekly commitment & ended up doing 10-15 weekly hours along with other one-time events that I would commit my time to. At some point, I moved down to the Youth Enrichment Services (Y.E.S.) program where they serve young LGBTQ people. I fell in love with the kids there & saw in them what I experienced when I was their age. At some point I made a vow to never, EVER let another LGBTQ-identifying adolescent go through what I went through in middle school, high school, and beyond. That vow turned into a college application with social work as my goal and the rest is history. I am now in the junior year of my BSW program and will pursue a Master’s directly after graduating. I want to focus my field practice on LGBTQ youth. Eventually, I want to turn my attention to the policies, practices, and laws that protect (or don’t protect) them. If this means running for public office, so be it. This is why political science is my minor.

    In short, I found my own calling, & while no one person had a direct effect on my decision to pursue Social Work as a career, many have shaped the kind of social worker I want to become. Jane Addams has been a huge inspiration as has Harvey Milk (while not a social worker, he was the first openly gay elected official in the country & was assassinated while in office). I hope to improve the lives of young LGBTQ people everywhere; to educate them and empower them. My mantra for the year: EDUCATE & ACTIVATE!!!

    • Dear friend ,

      Hopefully I always thought of doing things for others
      But how I can do it
      Like serving

      Old age people

      Serving for Peace

      Teach importance of education
      to all.

      Educating child labours in India would be great

      looking for a while how to get started.

      I am almost 50 years man from India.

      Like to read your reply.

      Have a nice day

      warm regards,
      S.RAMASAMY
      INDIA
      pssramasamy@gmail.com

  26. Selamawit Mokenen

    I recently qualified as a social worker at the age of 31. Yet, I still feel it is difficult to pin-point when I decided to become a social worker. I was fortunate enough to spend a shadowing week at the social services department as part of “erhverspraktik” when I was 16 ; work experience program in Denmark. I was raised in a Catholic home and this may have had a strong impact in forming my core values and morals.

    Another major influence is my family. The circumstances that have occurred within my own family through social factors, health issues and reflections have certainly been part of me wanting to help members of my family and other people alike.

    I have also volunteered for several organisations since I was 11 years of age and 20 years on, I still do so. I have always felt the rewards in giving time to others.

    So I feel that I have been a social worker most of my life, but only recently qualified to call myself a Social Worker.

    Sincerely,

    S Mokenen

  27. Selamawit Mokenen

    I recently qualified as a social worker at the age of 31. Yet, I still feel it is difficult to pin-point when I decided to become a social worker. I was fortunate enough to spend a shadowing week at the social services department as part of “erhverspraktik” when I was 16 ; work experience program in Denmark. I was raised in a Catholic home and this may have had a strong impact in forming my core values and morals.

    Another major influence is my family. The circumstances that have occurred within my own family through social factors, health issues and reflections have certainly been part of me wanting to help members of my family and other people alike.

    I have also volunteered for several organisations since I was 11 years of age and 20 years on, I still do so. I have always felt the rewards in giving time to others.

    So I feel that I have been a social worker most of my life, but only recently qualified to call myself a Social Worker.

    Sincerely,

    S Mokenen

  28. Selamawit Mokenen

    I recently qualified as a social worker at the age of 31. Yet, I still feel it is difficult to pin-point when I decided to become a social worker. I was fortunate enough to spend a shadowing week at the social services department as part of “erhverspraktik” when I was 16 ; work experience program in Denmark. I was raised in a Catholic home and this may have had a strong impact in forming my core values and morals.

    Another major influence is my family. The circumstances that have occurred within my own family through social factors, health issues and reflections have certainly been part of me wanting to help members of my family and other people alike.

    I have also volunteered for several organisations since I was 11 years of age and 20 years on, I still do so. I have always felt the rewards in giving time to others.

    So I feel that I have been a social worker most of my life, but only recently qualified to call myself a Social Worker.

    Sincerely,

    S Mokenen

  29. Selamawit Mokenen

    I recently qualified as a social worker at the age of 31. Yet, I still feel it is difficult to pin-point when I decided to become a social worker. I was fortunate enough to spend a shadowing week at the social services department as part of “erhverspraktik” when I was 16 ; work experience program in Denmark. I was raised in a Catholic home and this may have had a strong impact in forming my core values and morals.

    Another major influence is my family. The circumstances that have occurred within my own family through social factors, health issues and reflections have certainly been part of me wanting to help members of my family and other people alike.

    I have also volunteered for several organisations since I was 11 years of age and 20 years on, I still do so. I have always felt the rewards in giving time to others.

    So I feel that I have been a social worker most of my life, but only recently qualified to call myself a Social Worker.

    Sincerely,

    S Mokenen

  30. Selamawit Mokenen

    I recently qualified as a social worker at the age of 31. Yet, I still feel it is difficult to pin-point when I decided to become a social worker. I was fortunate enough to spend a shadowing week at the social services department as part of “erhverspraktik” when I was 16 ; work experience program in Denmark. I was raised in a Catholic home and this may have had a strong impact in forming my core values and morals.

    Another major influence is my family. The circumstances that have occurred within my own family through social factors, health issues and reflections have certainly been part of me wanting to help members of my family and other people alike.

    I have also volunteered for several organisations since I was 11 years of age and 20 years on, I still do so. I have always felt the rewards in giving time to others.

    So I feel that I have been a social worker most of my life, but only recently qualified to call myself a Social Worker.

    Sincerely,

    S Mokenen

  31. I live in Greece, and i decide to be a social worker,after a personal search about my inerests,and what is this that i like to do.The only influenced that i have is my religion, and my convictions about humanity.
    The conclusion is that no one person have influence me to become a social worker.

  32. Why did I become a Social Worker? for 7 years before returning to school to become a S/wer we were foster parents. One particular child we had in our home changed my entire life – how I now practice as a s/wer – and what is intrinsically important to me.

    The first time we had Ashley she was 6 yrs old. A wonderful, bright, loving, lively young girl. After a year at our house she was returned to her mother’s care – 3 weeks later – removed and brought back to our house – this happened 3 more times with various family members ‘having a try at parenting’. Each time she would come home she would be more and more damaged by the experiences of abuse and neglect she had while others tried their hand at parenting. The decisions of her s/wers to “let everyone have a try at parenting” made me return to school and get my degree for the sole purpose of ensuring that no other child would be the subject of people “giving parenting a try”. Now as a Child Protection Social Worke – I work very hard to ensure that parents are truly ready to resume parenting when the decision to return a child is being made. If I am not 100% confident that changes to enable parenting have occurred I will not subject a child to being bounced back and forth between home and foster care. I always will honor the parent / child relationship and do whatever I can to preserve it (if in the best interest of the child) but to have this relationship and honor it does not mean they need to live together. Sometimes it is better to co-parent – between a bio-parent and foster-parent.

    I love being a S/wer and am currntly doing Guardianship and Pernamency Planning for teens. This means I am the legal guardian for 37 youth and either getting them ready for adoption or Independence as a young adult. Wouldn’t change this for anything…….

  33. I am a Respiratory Therapist going to school to be a social worker. I decided to change careers when I saw my patients going home to less then adequate housing and then being readmitted to the hospital in little more than a week. I wanted to do more to help patients, but was limited by rules and regulations. Now when I graduate I can make sure that people are going home to safe and adequate housing. I cannot think of one specific person that influenced my decision, it was more like several people including my husband, a college advisor, and friends.

  34. There were many people in my life who impacted my decision to become a social worker.
    As a small girl in foster care I saw social workers as powerful people who were able to impact my life in both positive and negative ways. I knew I wanted to become one of them but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I truly understand what the job entailed.
    Because I married and had children very young, I didn’t start college until I was in my early 30’s. My view of social work was not yet clear but I knew in order to become one I had to have the gift of empathy. Fortunately I had a wonderful mother in law who showed me how empathy for someone else could impact them in a positive way.
    I then found a BSW program run by some dedicated social workers who treated their students as clients-they helped me to see the professional aspect of the social work profession, how empathy and kindness alone cannot help your clients if you don’t follow the professional guidelines of our profession. They helped me to evolve and inspired me to apply to MSW school in order to fully realize my potential.
    Finally, the clients I worked with during my internships helped me to see in what way I could work within an imperfect system to help those whose problems I now understood on both a personal and professional level. I first entered the profession to work with children, but soon came to see I was not able to handle the frustration that results from working within a system that attempts to reunite children and parents without truly addressing the underlying needs of those parents –who often had childhoods similar to their children.
    Without all of the people I have described above I could not have made it through graduate school.

  35. I can trace my interest in wanting to be a social worker back to my days in high school. I believe growing up the oldest of three always had me positioned to be a leader and role model, along with one who people came to when they needed help, a secret kept, advice, a ride to somewhere or someone to simply listen. My parents were not always happily married, I witnessed and was a victim of family and domestic violence. I went to a high school where drugs were visible, sexual curiosities were explosive, unplanned pregnancies and unsafe sex lead to what seemed to be unmanageable experiences for people I knew well. I developed this interest in trying to learn about why people did what they did. I had tons of friends, a part time retail job, was involved in school activities and had adolescent freedoms that not everyone had. I saw things, heard things, participated in things, that were not always safe or smart. I went to college and my quest for trying to understand people’s motives and problems continued. I studied Criminal Justice and Counseling Psychology. I was drawn to CJC as it was just simply an area of interest. There was something about social pathologies that mirrored some of my life experiences growing up. I enjoyed the challenges of wanting to learn how to empower people to want to make better life choices and hopefully live more productively. Working with highly resistant individuals facing legal, substance abuse, mental health and relationship issues became a perfect fit for me. For the last 8.5 years, I have been employed as a Probation Officer, I am on a Domestic/Family Violence unit and I work with adult men and women charged with Domestic Battery, Violating an Order of Protection, Assault, Telephone Harassment and Child Abuse/Neglect. I could not be happier! Every day brings a new case with a new challenge.

  36. Beth Greene, MSW, LCSW-P

    I always knew I wanted to go into a service profession like many of my family members. ALthough I originally was majoring in another area, I decided that with the classes I had already taken,along with my desire to work with others and also considering the marketable aspect, decided to go into Social Work. It just seemed like to perfect combination for me. It wasn’t until I already already been working in the field with my BSW for a few years, that I decided to persue my MSW at the encouragement of my former boss. I went into an advance standing program and finished in 11 months. It was a tough year since the school was almost 1 hour away but in the end, it was worth all the sacrifices. My degree has given me the opportunity to be at home with my children while working part time. I currently am persuing my full licensure and although THAT will take me a few years doing it part time, I’m still working towards a goal that will benefit me when I return to the work force full time.
    I also believe that God has a plan for me to get into a profession of helping others. I love what I do, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

  37. Sara Landmann, MSW

    I decided to become a Social Worker when the other “intro” classes in college did not interest me. I was at the point when I needed to declare a major, so I flipped through the course catalog and found Social Work. As I read through the description of courses I thought…I could do this. Now here I am with a MSW and working in the medical setting as a Medical Social Worker. I never would have imagined I would be working in the hospital setting. I absolutely love what I do and I have a complete passion for the work I do on a daily basis. I would not say there was a single person and/or event in my life that drew me to Social Work. The field we have chosen to work in has so many opportunities and I am continuously looking at the different areas in which our field could be best utilized.

  38. Chanda Roberts White

    As a child, my father and stepmother adopted my stepmom’s 16 y/o cousin to get her out of foster care. They attempted to get her younger sister, but the child had too many issues to be in family with five other kids. During my college years my adopted sister was murdered by her older brother, and I lost my focus on college. I had my life planned to have my MBA by 25, CPA by 27, and being the chief financial officer of a large corporation but doing volunteer work in whatever city I lived. I worked part time at DFACS during college, and decided after my sister’s death that I could be of more service dealing with people, than with dealing with numbers.
    Ga State University’s BSW program was wonderful, and I had the chance to complete my practicum at Grady Hospital. I heard a joke that if you could survive at Grady, you could survive being a social worker. My first day of practicum, a lady’s premature baby expired over night and she wanted to say goodbye privately. The morgue brought the baby up to us still wrapped in white butcher paper with the tubes still in the nose and mouth. I wanted to run, but I stayed. Being a social worker means meeting the challenges of life, and still rising above it all to assist those in need with alleviating barriers which cause the human spirit grief and pain.
    I enjoy being a social worker as the roles are limitless. I am now doing parent education in a school system and my groups mission is to “empower parents to actively participate in their children’s education by providing support, resources, and assistance, that will increase parental involvement, enhance student achievement and promote community partnerships”. This is social work in action and I love it. Everyday I meet parents with similiar needs who want the same thing- what’s best for their child. Facilitating STEP, Nurturing Parent, PASSport, and Finding me Parenting You parent curriculums, allows me to step into the lives of families and to experience the growth of these families.
    Social work Rocks!!

  39. I decided to go into Social Work in undergrad, in the 1980’s. Worked for a while in mental health, then quit working to raise a family. After my divorce, two years ago, I decided that I would go ahead and get my master’s. I am in the first year of full-time school, and boy have things changed! But I am loving it.

    The biggest change for me has been that, suddenly, I am interested in politics. I haven’t been real interested in it previously, but with everything I am learning, I am very aware of what is going on in the country.

    I am working at the Alzheimer’s Association for my internship, and also working to complete my Gernotology Certificate while in school. My field supervisor is an inspiration, she is incredible.

  40. Why I decided to into the field of social work was to help others. I was homeless with my 2 children back in 1993 and it really touched me the way my social worker at the time really gave her all to help her clients succeed. I then got what I needed to help me get back on my feet again and did succeed. I then went to medical assistant school and then eventually for my rn nursing but in the middle of doing my nursing I had a change of heart and decided that this wasn’t the way I wanted to help others. So I decided to go into social work. I am now finishing up my bachelors at Capital University in Columbus Ohio and getting ready to go on for my Masters at Ohio State University!!! I am going to go into the field of working with the homeless since I can empathize with their situations because I once was in their shoes. I am currently working f my intership at a homeless shelter and love it. I also would like to work with the elderly too. Well see which way pulls me when i’m finished with my schooling.

  41. Zalman Lachman, LCSW

    Social work is a ‘second career’ for me. I sold my successful recycling business after 20 years and spent another 2 years pursuing spiritual studies. With the cash dwindling I started a business part-time, realized that I didn’t enjoy it, and in fact, though it had been a good living, had never enjoyed it. When I complained to my friend, a psychologist, about my situation, he suggested I see a career counselor he knew. The career counselor told me I should be a social worker or a career counselor, something I never would have considered on my own. I took him up on both of his suggestions and for the last 10 years I have been having a blast as a social worker and using my entrepreneurial skills to create new programs and agencies. Okay, so the money isn’t great, but I enjoy my work every day, and get to change the world besides. What a deal!

  42. Everyone’s stories are so inspiring! It is an honor to be a Social Worker with people who have survived horrible events and have answered their “call”.

    My story is similar: my family discovered the Power of Social Work after one of my brothers was horribly sexually and physically abused in a children’s psychiatric hospital. It was Ruth Tilden, LCSW, who helped us heal. Her warm, accepting and supportive approach insired Yours Truly to become a clinical Social Worker.

    What keeps me in Social Work? Wonderful folks like Jim Akin at NASW Florida Chapter, Mindy Phelps who does family and custody work, Robin Kohn who champions persons with physical disabilities, Barbara Brakel and Linda Kartell, who champion GLBT persons and SPMI persons, Jackie Nash who champions AIDS sufferers and many, many more! NASW has brought us together–what a wonderful gift for Social Workers!

  43. I have always wanted to be a social worker because my decision has been influenced by my culture’s history and the trauma and loss my ancestors experienced during the “1915 Armenian Genocide”. I grew up in a somber home environment where both of my maternal grandparent survived the genocide but they were never able to talk about the pain and suffering they witnessed. I want to be able to empower people who are oppressed and be a change agent not only national ly , but also internationally. Addressing bicultural needs, by making social work servies familiar to my culture. I am epowered and inspired by my professors. They examplify the social work profession as well as the value of humanity.

  44. I decided on Social Work after working as a member of students for a democratic society(SDS) mostly bailing students out of jail and organizing food co-op’s and demonstrations at the University Of California-Irvine. Bobbie Seal of the Black Panther Party was the big man on campus and People’s Park up at Berkely was always a trip.. I continued to work in church basements with Veterans awall from the service with drug and alcohol problems.I was inspired by Physicians,nurses,lawyers etc who all worked for the people.I went on to become a lobbyist for the New Jersey Medical Sociaey and have worked as a Clinical Social Worker in private practice and teach Social Work Practice and Reseach.I love the mental health community and find post modern society today presenting more challenges and demands than ever before witnessed by social work.

  45. I used to work at an agency which provided therapy for people with developmental disabilities. I was a supervisor with up to 30 staff and 30 clients. I worked with a lot of people. One of the most memorable was a young man named Ross. Ross was one of my best employees; dependable and sincere, and his clients adored him. One weekend a month, two weeks per year, he served in the National Guard. He eventually had to quit his job at our agency when he was called to serve in Iraq. On February 8, 2007 Ross was killed when his humvee was hit by an IED.
    Ross’s passing away had a great impact on my life. I’d like to share the story of how Ross’s life and passing has changed my life, and will go on to impact many others.
    For years, I had managed to push the war out of my mind. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t watch the news. I didn’t think about the thousands of brave men and women serving our country, or their loved ones here at home.
    I have always been passionate about social work, but had never thought about how it related to the military. In fact, I never really thought about the military at all, or the war that was taking place on the other side of the world. It wasn’t until Ross passed away that reality struck me. Having someone I knew and admired and appreciated lose his life in service to our country -hit very close to my heart. It was like I could no longer shut out this war; I could no longer ignore that fact that so many men and women are out there in harm’s way serving our country, for us. And I thought about all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, children and all the friends and loved ones of these brave warriors. What an impact that had on me.
    On the afternoon that I returned home from Ross’s funeral I encountered an article from the Washington Post online. It was announcing the neglect that soldiers were facing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. I read all 18 pages of the article and my heart went out to these soldiers and their families. Though I read news with a discriminating eye, I couldn’t help but feel for these people, and I felt an urgent need to GO THERE! I didn’t know what I would have to offer there, or how I would get there, but I knew I must go there!
    The first thing I did was tell my social work professor, who has been a mentor to me, and has many contacts in the community. He asked me to share my ambition with our social work class. I did, and I asked if anyone else would be interested in going with me. One classmate was up for the adventure. I immediately began making phone calls to see if someone would let us in and give us tour. I talked to about 20 different people, usually getting the run-around, and getting passed from person to person. I felt like they thought I was trying to add to the negative press and reveal some scandal. My motives were purely for educational purposes. I wanted to meet a social worker there and learn about military social work. I was determined to make it.
    Finally, after about three weeks of phone calls and emails every day, I came in contact with a social worker who was willing to let us in, give an interview, and give us a tour of the facility. We made the trip during spring break of 2007.
    I had never been to Washington, DC before. I felt it to be a very exciting place with a unique energy. One of my favorite places to visit was Arlington National Cemetery. I enjoyed being a tourist for a few days, but was reeling inside thinking of the day we would visit Walter Reed. In my heart, I felt like something huge was happening inside of me; something bigger than me. I didn’t know what it was, but it felt right.
    On the afternoon which we were scheduled to meet the social worker, on our way to the hospital we met three soldiers at a bagel shop nearby. I was so excited to see them, knowing that we must be close. We spoke with them and found out that they worked at Walter Reed and were on their way back there now. They offered to give us a ride, as we were on foot. Of course we accepted. We rode onto the hospital compound easily with the soldiers. One of them took us right to the social worker’s office. Everything seemed so meant to be, like fate was leading me right where I needed to be.
    The social worker was amazing. She was very dedicated to her job and service to soldiers, very much loved and appreciated by the soldiers and staff there at the hospital. She spent four hours with us, answering all of our questions about military social work and showing us some of the amazing things that go on at the hospital, like the making of prosthetics and the physical and occupational therapy sites. She introduced us to several soldiers who were patients there. I felt lucky to be there, and fortunate to be able to meet these people. I felt so inspired and felt this thing happening inside of me; it was like a revelation: this is what I’m supposed to do – use my social work ambition to serve soldiers!
    I had an incredible week in DC, and felt changed when I returned home. I felt like I had purpose, and a goal, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the military. I wanted to learn more about soldiers and military life so that I could serve them some day as a social worker. When classes resumed, I went to the ROTC department at BSU to see how I could learn more about military life. Of course the first person I talked to was a recruiter, who told me about a camp I could go to over the summer. There would be no commitment afterward, and I would be able to learn basic soldiering skills, and live on an Army base for a month. It was definitely out of my realm of comfort; I had never done anything like this before, or even thought of it – but I wanted to now. And I did.
    I spent 28 days at Ft. Knox at Leader’s Training Course. It was fun and challenging. I met some very amazing and inspiring people there and I gained a very deep respect for soldiers and their service. And every day while I was there I thought about whether I wanted to join or not. I knew I wanted to be a social worker, but up until this point I assumed I would be doing social work as a civilian. After I graduated from LTC and came home, I still had not decided whether I would join or not.
    One week after returning home from Ft. Knox I had another opportunity to visit Washington, DC. Again, I visited one of the places that had the deepest impact on me: Arlington Cemetery. I watched the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s hard to describe the feeling I got being there, and watching that. It made me want to be a part of it. Later that afternoon, I decided within myself that this is what I would do: I would join ROTC when I got home, get my social work degree, and serve soldiers and their families. I felt great about the decision, and also very humbled, that I had an opportunity to be a part of this institution of the Army, and that I would be able to offer something to the people who have offered everything in service to our country.
    When I got home I spoke with my recruiter, and we schedule a date for me to contract. Now, I am currently enrolled in ROTC and am a semester away from graduating. I was granted an Education Delay so that I can stay and get my Masters degree before continuing with my officer training. Many things are uncertain at this point; it was a huge leap of faith to join the Army, I feel, but I also feel that my desires and ambitions to serve those who serve our country could not be ignored. There is no way to be certain what my future holds, as is the case with so many other soldiers and service men and women. I feel good about being a part of the Army and am excited to see where it will take me. I hope to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of others, directly or indirectly.
    While Ross’s passing was a tragedy for many, and no doubt disheartening, it has changed my life in ways I never imagined. I feel honored to have known him and am proud of his service. I am thankful for all people in the military and am in awe at their selfless service and sacrifice.
    Ross’s life and service to others has been such an inspiration to me. It makes me want to act. I am thankful for his presence in my life and hope to be able to inspire others by my own life some day they way that he inspires mine.

  46. anyone who has intrest in society is a social worker

  47. Kurtis Young, LMSW

    After high school, I traveled with the musical performing and service oriented group “Up With People.” I had always volunteered in high school and felt called to a life of service, but didn’t know how it would become my career until college. A friend of mine, Seth Herman, was in social work school and I was leaning toward a sociology major. He told me that I needed a more hands-on approach since I was heavily involved in LGBT activism and leadership. I took the Intro class and I was immediately hooked! I had very inspirational professors and classmates along the way.

  48. While I was attending undergraduate school, I began to seriously look at where I wanted to go in the future. I spoke with several family members and family friends. I began to notice those that really loved what they did. Remarkably it was only 1 person and it was my (older)sister, who was a social worker. My perception of social workers then was these super conservatively dressed women with sensible shoes! Except my sister didn’t dress or behave like what I thought a social worker was like.
    To make a long story a little shorter, I became a social worker and 19 years later I love what I do and I feel great that I have had an opportunity to touch so many lives and help so many.

  49. Because my mother, Selma Mankita was a social worker, I grew up knowing I would become ANYTHING BUT one. I studied acting throughout high school and college, but armed with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and living in a new state, I had no clue where to fit myself into the world of work. Turns out that environment and genetics got the better of me. Being raised by a social worker and an insurance agent must have genetically predisposed me for case management – and I did spend almost 20 years doing hospital social work. Back then, when I realized that my lifelong passion for working with people would fit perfectly into social work, I knew I couldn’t fight it anymore and I dove into an MSW. A long list of Field instructors, professors, bosses and colleagues have challenged me to grow along the way. I’ve never regretted it for one second and currently love mentoring and teaching the next generation of professionals

  50. It’s my calling. I have a degree in Accounting. After doing accounts receivable for 5 years something was still missing in my life. I prayed and asked the LORD to give me a sign of what I’m supposed to be doing for HIM. I got my calling to be a social worker. I’m presently in school now working on my bachelor, after that I plan to continue on with my masters. I’m so overwhelmed with my calling. My heart is big for children and elders. Working in either environment will be fine with me. GOD BLESS to you all.

  51. As with a lot of people, I think, I sort of “fell” into social work. While I’ve had several good mentors along the way, there wasn’t one person in particular that inspired me to become one. Was just researching different careers one day, came across social work, and sparked enough interest in me to look into it further. It’s not the easiest job, or the highest paying, but definitely rewarding in its own ways. Most social workers I know, myself included, rank it very high in terms of job satisfaction.

  52. At the age of 30, I have realized that people get angry at everyone for nothing and after analizing a particular event on a bus while travelling home one evening, It suddenly dawned on me that my purpose is to motivate others. I even find myself telling others how to accomplish their dreams and that no obstacles should prevent them from reaching their goals.
    I also find that most people are barely living because they are struggling to reach a goal their parents want them to accomplish and it is not at all in their dreams, these have made them depressed, disorganized and angry at the world.

  53. Hello everyone, I am 37 years old, I am not a social worker but I’ve always wanted to become a social worker since 7th or 8th grade. After graduating from high school, I did one year of college and boy I wished I had continued. I want to go back to school but I keep telling myself it’s too late. I love children! I wish I could love and protect all our precious little ones here and around the world especially our children with disabilities.

  54. Natasha,

    It’s NEVER too late to become a social worker! When I taught BSW and MSW students, some of my best were “non-traditional” (aka older) students! Your life experience will help you during your education…please consider becoming a BSW or MSW.

  55. I recently got my bachelor’s degree in education. I was wondering if there is a test I could take to get my LSW without going back to school again/taking classes. I think I will want to get my Master’s in Social Work, but would like to get my LSW first if possible…help!
    Thanks,
    Ally

  56. Hello,

    I’m currently stuck between choosing to attend a MSW program or going to seminary and pursuing a MDiv. I have a heart for kids, especially those who are neglected and/or abused and that’s why I’m considering entering the social work field.

    The things that make me hesitant to enter the field are some of the values which social workers are forced to embrace. I have nothing against most of them but I realize something different is typically meant when these values are discussed.

    Social workers seem to be forced to embrace anything society embraces, no matter the individual social worker’s own values. For example, if a muslim social worker is working with a teenage girl who wants an abortion I have been told that many agencies would require that the muslim social worker provide the necessary resources for the girl so she can carry out the abortion.

    Is it true that social workers will be forced to go against their own particular values if their own values conflict with the field’s values? I’d appreciate any feedback from anyone currently in the field.

  57. I am 21 and have an associates degree in Lib. Arts & Science. I’ve taken a year off of school to try and find the career for me. I am particularly drawn to Social Work. Possibly the new take it has involving animals. I am just nervous when I hear all of the talk about the pay. I am in no way wanting this career for the money. I will be paying for school out of my own pocket (loans) and want to make sure that in the future I will be able to afford paying them off and being able to raise a family. Both my parents did not get degrees and we have struggled all our lives, so I know what it’s like. I am thinking it may be the best route to head all the way for my PhD and become a professor/do research. Any suggestions would be great!

  58. I need help. Everyone here is saying they wanted to become a social worker. Help me in that sense please, just need an advice or maybe suggestion.

  59. I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in the field after many years in business. I was influenced personally many years ago by a social worker. I do not think I would have had this opportunity had I not had this intervention. I also looked at the field from a future growth standpoint and feel it could use a more balanced approach. As it stands now the field is heavily dominated by women providing services (80%), missing a male point of view. Finally, I think that their needs to be someone in social work that takes all parties into account, including those that fund services (taxpayers/funders). My end goal is to obtain my MSW or MSSA and to be able to provide service to my fellow veterans. I am close to finishing my undergraduate degree now and look forward to be able to make a difference at the macro level. With our current military deployment rotations, our veteran community will be in need of services well into the future.

  60. I decided to become a social worker three years ago when I was in my grad 3rd year. I was pursuing a engineering degree and had no idea what to do to achieve my goal. Will a switch over help? I dint had the courage to tell my parents for the course switch over who were expecting high of me. Its been a year I have been working in IT industry and I feel this is totally not me. I want to make a difference in people’s life. I want to touch their lives. Being from a very ignorant and backward society, I have always felt that a need for social awareness is must at the root level. People are not aware of their rights. Even if I alone cant change the world, I can atleast play my part to make an effort. That is all that’s required from an individual to make a change. I want to pursue a MSW and enter the field of social work professionally. Please suggest me what should I do. As I do not have a graduate degree in social work related field.

  61. God Bless all of you for sharing your stories. I recently switched from Health Science to the Social Work program at my school and I have heard nothing but negative stories about what Social Work is from peers and the media. Your stories have put my worries at ease and made me confident on why I am going into the Social Work field.
    Thank you for being positive stories for a change!

  62. NABAKISHORE PANDU

    NBDP INDIA is a action research plan by N.K.PANDU which basic aims to towards better world those are fighting for live and live starting from India through individuals, families, self help groups, non governmental organizations, inter governmental organizations, cooperative societies, corporate sectors and Panchyat rai institutions using available resources with the principles of self identity, self respect and self help with no work against society, against government and against constitution for freedom, justice and peace to each and everybody. N.K.PANDU-NBDP INDIA

  63. THANDEKA ZINGITWA

    I decided to be a social worker when I was in high school because I realized listening to people who faces hard situations its painful then I found some ways to help them and I was not influenced by a person for my decisions,and I’m tired of seeing kids being abused and not taken care of right.People who have kids they must treat them well because out there some people are desperate for them.So if you got kids change your whole life for your kids please!!!!!!!!!

    • Simphiwe mngomezulu

      I love being social worker bcz de are children who still are not freed to go to schl and fulfill their dreams and some parents don’t care how many times a child crys for food and that if they wear warm if its cold I jst feel a need to help people who still struggle with getting out of being abused cause people are still other those tings and living under dem as a young adult I want to show case my making of things that I might be young but I stl see and feel for our nation as a whole

  64. I am a final year student, and am only a few weeks away from qualifying with a BA (Hons) in Social Work. In my late 30’s when I applied to university, I never originally set out to become a social worker. Social work kind of found me.

    I had a variety of jobs since leaving school. I worked in factories, in bars, as a driver…the list goes on. At school, I was an average student. I enjoyed it, but left after completing my 4th year exams and my grades were ok. Back then, I had dreams of going to university and wanted to make my mum proud. This never materialised back then, and I recall my mum saying “I always thought you would have been the first person in the family to go to university”. I was the oldest of 10 grandchildren, and I always felt like I had let my mum down. When my younger cousins started attending university, I used to think “I wish I would have done that after leaving school”.

    On December 26th, 2005, my mum passed away after a short illness. She had cancer and it was too advanced to do anything about it. After the initial scan and being given the news, my mum was given only six weeks to live. And this was exactly what she got. My mum was 49.

    For six weeks, the hospital allowed me to stay beside my mum. They let me stay in the family room on a small sofa bed – even though I only stayed five minutes away. I was working in a factory at the time, and my employers were very supportive. They allowed me all the time I needed to deal with things. However, when my mum passed away, I struggled to cope. I distanced myself from the family and went slightly off the rails. I turned to alcohol for a few months, and one day while sitting in my house where I had stayed for 13 years, I decided I had to leave. I needed a fresh start, so I packed a bag of clothes, grabbed my mum’s photographs and left my home town forever. Everything I ever owned I left in the house – as well as the car outside. I bought a ticket to Spain, and stayed there for a few months until I pulled myself together.

    I returned to Scotland and got a job in a pub. I stayed in the staff quarters, but realised that I had to put down roots once again. Eventually I presented as homeless to the council in Glasgow, and was offered a bed in a large scale hostel. I moved around a few homeless accommodation services over 2 years, before staying in a hostel with a supportive and caring member of staff who was my ‘key worker’. After a few months, I managed to secure a tenancy. Before I left the hostel, I asked my key worker “how did you get into this line of work?” She responded by saying “get yourself into college”. I took her advice, and this was the best thing I could have done. At the time, I don’t think the key worker realised how much those words – and her unconditional support during my hostel stay – would have an impact on my life.

    Applying for college, I was accepted onto the social care course. Enjoying it immensely, I then got into working with homeless young people. Having recent experience with homelessness myself, I found it easy to build and maintain relationships with the service users. Although I never divulged too much personal information, I had actually met some of the young people while in the homeless system. This could have proven difficult. However, it also meant that the young people could see that there is a way out of homelessness and things actually can get better.

    Working in the homelessness sector for five years, I felt that the time was right to apply to university. I was accepted for entry into the 2nd year of the course, and this was the best thing that could have happened to me. Up until now, I have enjoyed the course. However, there has been a lot of disappointment too. Listening to social workers complain about their jobs, or their colleagues, or their service users has upset me. People who have lost the passion, the drive, or the hunger to change people’s lives has been the hardest part of my placement experience, and I find it hard to accept that many people remain in the job long after they have lost their passion. They seem to have forgotten why got into the job in the first place. Their negative views affect others, and I have seen other people get sucked into this way of thinking.

    I am just about to begin my social work career, and I have promised myself one thing. The minute I lose the passion, or the hunger, or the drive to support some of the most vulnerable people in society, is the day I will hand in my notice. Why should those vulnerable people suffer further due to me being in a job I don’t want to do anymore? Yes, the job can get to you for a number of reasons. It may be easier said than done, but if you don’t want to do the job to the best of your ability, then quit. Find something else to do where your negative attitude won’t have an impact on the marginalised, stigmatised, and most disadvantaged people in society.
    I cannot wait to get started, and if I can make positive changes in some people’s lives – like the way my key worker did for me – then I will always be happy at my work. If I ever lose that, then I will know it’s time to move on.

    Yes it’s been blood, sweat and tears… and it’ll continue to be during the career. But there are two things of which I am certain.

    1. I will love my job
    2. My mum will be looking down with pride.

  65. I’ve been a Masters-level Social Worker for 30 years. When and where I began my Social Work education I embraced the idea of being an agent of positive change, an advocate for social justice, and saw Social Work as the profession that “pulled it all together” in many settings. As time has passed I’ve become alarmed by the way Social Work as a “profession” has grown so complacent towards social justice and human rights. Social Workers have become slaves to the oppressive systems in which they work. The pay has always been insufficient for more than basic survival, but now the respect seems to have dissipated as well. I became a Social Worker to create change, to level the playing field, to stand with those who felt they had no voice, etc. Unfortunately, the opportunity to engage in that work has been trampled by policies and procedures of government jobs, managed care organizations and even by the perceptions of Social Workers themselves who too often seem unable to assert their rights to be more than glorified clerks, or personal assistants to doctors, attorneys, and agency managers. I refuse to be a robotic agent of social control. The people we are supposed to be working with and for, serving, whether they are clients, patients, or whatever the label chosen, are human beings not commodities. It’s as if our fellow beings are the means to an end and not the priority. For the first 25 years of my career I was proud to tell people, “I’m a Social Worker” even if that meant having to say repeatedly, “Social Workers do more than take kids away.” The past few years I’ve started to feel ashamed of the cowering behavior and conformist attitudes in the work place. The lack of resources and the absence of a true vision of social justice and human rights has led to finger pointing, intra- and inter-agency squabbles of the little bit of money actually focused of helping others and an absence of organizing and advocacy, the kind of work that Social Workers could and should be doing. Social Workers don’t organize themselves and the organizations that employee Social Workers employee a divide-and-conquer mentality. NASW is a joke and serves those who would keep Social Workers from helping to create sustainable changes towards a more just world. Every day might not be an exhilarating experience, but if we as Social Workers can’t feel the passion and can’t survive financially then we either need to stand up together and create the changes we want to see or change careers. I’m not ready to give it all up yet, but the current state of the profession prevents me from recommending Social Work as a career to anyone.

  66. Greetings,

    I am considering entering a two-year online MSW program, having finished my BA. If I am working, how many hours a day should I plan on for studying and doing the 1000 hour internships? Is it doable while working full-time?

    Any advice from those of you who have ‘been there and done that’ will be greatly appreciated!

    Regards,

    Jules

  67. HibI realise that most of the time I like to help people on what ever situation they have.no matter what happens I always taking good care of them

  68. am a Kenyan 22 years old I really want to be a social work please help me I will always be greatiful for a hperson who help me it has always being my dream and my desire to became a social worker thanks in andances

    • Good morning Ms. Kamau:

      The National Association of Social Workers is based in the United States. However, we do have an international chapter that is run by the National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter. The international chapter could give you advice on getting into social work. Please contact them at Director@naswnc.org. We also urge you to visit the Council on Social Work Education, the US-based organization that oversees social work education: http://www.cswe.org. They could give you advice on the education you need, provided you want to work in the United States.

      Good luck!

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager

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