Social Worker Career: Problems faced by social workers


This guest post was submitted by Brendine Palmer.
Any and every career choice will lead you to some stumbling blocks. Social workers are no different. When working with people, you can never really know what to expect. This is why it is important for you to find your motivation as a social worker. If you are not passionate about helping others, you might find this job draining. A career in social work can be just as rewarding. Hopefully these rewards outweigh the problems.

So what are some of the problems faced by in a social work career? Let’s discuss these.
Minimal compensation
Unfortunately social workers do not earn what they are worth. Many jobs in social work come with a low pay grade. I think we can all agree that no matter how much you love your job, restricted funds can be stressful. Working with stressed out people when receiving a few dollars an hour can leave most social workers drained.

It is impossible to sit with clients who are emotionally distressed and not have it rub off on you. Social workers have to show compassion in the most hostile situations. Working with children who just lost their parents and have no other family members can leave you emotionally fatigued. Everyone will tell you to separate your personal life from your job, but this job is not as easy to separate than an office job for example. Social workers are responsible for others’ emotional states and sometimes neglect their own.

With so many social work programs out there, a shortage in social workers still exist. This of course results in a huge workload for practising social workers. When a heavy workload is combined with low pay, it may become frustrating. Many disclosure requirements and amounts of paperwork add to the workload. The heavy workload is definitely a huge job-related stress.

Government regulations
Laws that are passed by government can make a social worker’s life difficult. These laws may include privacy of client information. Even though this is a good thing, it limits communication between caregivers and social workers. Foster parents have to supply a huge amount of documents which frustrates everyone. This of course is the responsibility of the social worker to make sure these documents are submitted. Without increasing reimbursements, foster homes are closing at an alarming rate. This is a big stress factor for social workers.

The law
We are all bound by the law and when working as a social worker you are under scrutiny at all times. Trying to do what’s best for the individual client and adhering to the law can sometimes cause conflict. Unfortunately the law always wins and you have to abide. Being caught between your client and the law is a place you should avoid as a social worker. Do not overpromise to your client as well. Creating expectation and then not being able to deliver will leave you and your client with disappointment.

If none of these problems faced by social workers scare you away from this career, then I say go for it. Prepare your social work personal statement and submit your application to a program. Just make sure when writing your personal statement that you do not let your personality be the dominant part of your application. Focus on your passion for the industry and make sure your application stands out from the rest. When you have a personal journey which pushed you into this direction, not much can change your perspective. Making a difference to the future would be rewarding in itself. Be authentic when applying for a social work program and express your love for helping others.

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Brendine Palmer is a professional blogger and content writer. She works at [] She has a Masters Degree in Social Work. Her dream is to become top blogger and write a personal book. The phrase “work hard, have fun and help people” describes her as a person.

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2 Responses

  1. Mojoiu Florin Nelu says:

    very much true

  2. Tiffany Thompson, MSW says:

    In my experience as an MSW, most people coming into the field come with their eyes wide open. Once students find out the wealth of opportunities and populations that social workers can serve, their outlook on the profession tends to be more hopeful. Most social workers know that they will not always be compensated accurately for their education, experience, or expertise. However, those who are counselors, professors, and researchers have better that average salaries in many states. Social work is truly about serving individuals, families, and communities.

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