Like all great stories I felt it was time to develop this into a trilogy, who knows, maybe we’ll make it a yearly tradition…prequels perhaps? For those of you who aren’t aware, this is Social Work month! A month where so many social workers turned to the drink they had to create St. Patty’s day as a cover story…just kidding. But, in recognition of social work day, and social work month, and all of my social workers, let’s go back to Things They Don’t Tell You in Social Work School Part III(check out the first two installments here: Part I Part II).
11) A Social Worker, Astronaut, and a Tiger walk into a bar….
Social workers have two groups. The ones with senses of humor, and the ones who hopefully aren’t reading this. Whether you think humor is a defense mechanism or the only way to get through the day, science is behind the healing and positive effects of laughing. So yeah, although social workers we might develop a sense of humor that some might find to be an acquired taste, nothing saddens me more than those who can’t find some of the things we do funny to the point of ridiculous. Irony, satire, and sometimes the morbid, it’s self-care and healing at its finest. It amazes me how many social workers seem to believe that if they don’t take an indignant or offended stance, their high horse might be sold off for glue…
*disclaimer for those in need: this is not the same as professionalism, kindness, and workplace appropriateness. Have I covered all my bases legal? Yeah? Great.”*
12) The “dumping” ground
No, I’m not talking about how everything seems to land on our desk. This is a different sort of dumping ground. If you work in the healthcare field at any level you can confirm that the amount of things you hear regarding medical and bodily occurrences is higher than you’d ever imagine as a non-medical doctor. “Yes sir I understand that I’m in a hospital, but I can’t possibly begin to confirm why you are leaking out of those areas, may I please escort you to the ER?” And what they really don’t tell you is that eventually this happens so often that you have a better percentage of correct diagnoses(that you don’t vocalize) than some med students.
13) And now for my next trick
In part II of this series we talked a little bit about how social workers have become the new google, but the reality is that we have to pull so many tricks out of a hat that we have honorary membership to the Magician’s guild(Dammit dad, we’re illusionist!). Screw MacGyver, if I ever have an unsolvable problem like a world catastrophe event that must be saved by some harebrained, completely out of the box scheme, I’m calling together social workers to save us.
14) Who’s in charge here?
Spoiler alert, but teachers aren’t always the ones we learn from. In fact, some of your greatest lessons will come directly from your clients. I’m not saying we should start paying them the copays, but one of the reasons SJS stands so firmly behind the need for social work internships is because the field is where everything clicks. We’re never done learning, and if you’re open to it, you will learn from every client that walks through your door, every student who you help mentor, and every misstep that you think will horrify you. Our expertise comes from knowing there’s a lot more to know, the possibilities are infinitely endless. And that my friends, is a beautiful thing.
15) Network connectivity problems
Social workers are literally masters of working socially, and to do this we need a vast network of people and allies that can help us. Although it wasn’t expressly taught in school, a few of us realized that like most areas, once we left the walls of the school, many of us would lose touch. Of course, our solution was to build a massive online social media empire so we could continue our friendship, but since that’s not always feasible, what we need to realize as a profession is that our strength comes from the support of our peers. Paying dues without advocacy is a waste of time. We grow as a collective, and the stronger those bonds are, the stronger our profession is. Have no fear, SJS is actively recruiting for the official McJustice League…social workers unite!
And with that in mind, don’t forget to hug a social worker today. It is together that we change the world.
By: Courtney Kidd, LCSW
SJS Staff Writer
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The dumping ground is so true. I know more about client’s bodily functions then I ever wanted to. I do not know how they know we are social workers. I have been stopped in the grocery store by people telling me their difficulties and asking advise. Of course i jump in and try to solve all there problems. Social work is like a disease you can not control. However even after being laid off and out of work for a year i still want to be a social worker. I have no idea what other career I would even choose. Only social workers understand this commitment to the profession. It just becomes a part of you.