This might be the longest wait for a sequel outside of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, but it’s something that I have been meaning to do for a while. Previously on Things They Don’t Tell You In Social Work School, we discussed 5 things that you just don’t get told. In celebration of Social Work Month, I wanted to add to our list. As always, feel free to comment with your own suggestions.
6) Would you like me to Google that for you?– Don’t worry so much about having all the answers, the reality is that much like IT workers you’ll spend more time googling than you will thinking about what the answer might be! Need to refer someone to a program? www.where’s-the-admission-criteria.org. Not sure of a number to local resources? Let me pull that right up for you. Sometimes you’ll wonder how a person can find the time to locate your number, but not just go the extra step to find the actual number that they need…don’t think too long on that though.
7) Ante Up Your Poker Face– There’s no one who can beat you at poker now, because there’s absolutely nothing that you can see or hear that will break your facial expression after just a short time on the job. In fact, you could now give Kristen Stewart a run for her ‘blank expression’ money(see: Still more expression than Kristen Stewart). This is only developed after you are no longer shocked by admissions heard “on the couch.” You’ll find yourself saying the strangest things in a completely normal conversation tone as if you were remarking on the weather- “Yes Mr. Jones, I understand that you’re frustrated that you don’t have any more room for the cats because you already have 3 dead ones in your freezer, why don’t we come up with a plan for you to bury them and tidy things up so you can get food again.”
8) “So How Exactly May *I* Help You Today” – Ah the things Social Workers say. Make sure to have this one in your arsenal because you’ll find that most of the time you will have difficulty determining what it is that a client wants from you. “Oh you hurt yourself and are having trouble moving your boat/RV/dragon?” “Yes that is a problem… how is it that I can help you with that?” Most of the time it’s all about the active listening. “Yes, I am sorry that you’re feeling… those feelings…that you feel.” Of course, the end result still is “No, I’m sorry I can’t move your boat.”
9) Your Greatest Adversary May Be Other Social Workers– This one gets me. It still gets me every…single…time I come up against it. I see it on a micro and macro level; we are our own worst enemies when it comes to promoting social workers. No matter how many proud social workers there are, there are so many who want to limit what it is that we do and what it is that we CAN do. So often I hear, “Well I can’t do that, I’m just a case worker” or “but I’m a therapist.”, forgetting that at your core are a social worker, and you are important. Stop selling yourself short and claiming you had no part of a positive impact. You are the model of a healthy relationship. You are the stone thrown in a pond creating the ripples of change… the snowflake that created the avalanche. See, now look what you did, I’m all heated and stacking my analogies everywhere. This is why we can’t have nice things!
10) There Is Nothing Else Like It – I’ve always been one of those people who need to top the last thing I did whether it is to fly a combat plane or skydiving. It’s a constant search for the next experience. The thing is, there aren’t a lot of things I’ve come up with that can top the experiences of a social worker. Yes, there are other areas I’d like to work in, and clearly I have big aspirations, but even though I joke (or cry) that I regret my life choices, the truth is that there are few things that could ever take its place. Every goal I have comes back to a social work root. If you gave me millions of dollars and I never had to work again I would still fill my time trying to change the world. I would still be a social worker.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
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