Why Did You Choose Social Work?

Happy volunteer family separating donations stuffs on a sunny da

Ask a social worker for the reason they chose the social work profession and the standard answer is “I want to help people.”  I think this is the expected answer.  This is what the person asking wants to hear because it validates their impression of social workers and social work.  Social workers are soft, bleeding hearts, want to save the world types.  Their impression is read on their faces and in their tone as they respond, “Oh, well, that must be very rewarding.”  Then the subject changes.

None of us would dare say we went into social work to make money.  That statement would probably send listeners into a fit of hysterical, belly laughter.  As a matter of fact, we would probably start laughing before finishing the sentence.  No one, however, would laugh if a doctor or lawyer made that statement.

I think that many of us chose social work because of the good feeling that we get when we help someone.  There are other reasons, as well, based on our skills, abilities and interests.  Some chose the profession because of strong problem solving abilities.  Others chose the profession because of exceptional analytical skills.  Still others chose social work because of their proficiencies in verbal and written communication.

Do our skills have a positive influence on others?  Yes!  Does our collective ability create a powerful force in the community around us?  Absolutely!

What would happen if our response to the question was answered more definitively?  We would educate the public regarding the skillset, the complexity and the extensive nature of the work and of the social work profession.  We could also transform opinions regarding the assets contained within the profession.  Here are a few examples of answers to the big question.  Statements directly related to our skillset need to be a part of our daily conversations.

I chose social work because:

I enjoy coordinating multiple systems

I get to use my planning, managing and organizing skills

Problem-solving is my thing and I get to do a lot of that as a social worker

I can develop programs based on new technology and research

I can use my creativity in many areas within the social work profession

I want to make lots of money. (Especially true for social workers who are entrepreneurial minded)


Why did you choose social work?  I would love to hear from you, post your answers on Twitter @Marcyline #LCSW15, on our Facebook fan page REAL Social Workers Online Magazine or join the “Social” Social Workers Project.

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8 Responses

  1. Rachel Grimes says:

    I really feel like I was BORN to be a social worker! I love helping people organize their lives:)

  2. Karen Johannessen says:

    In Denmark an education as a ‘social advicer’ gives you the opportunity to work in many dirrerent fields – in public service, hospitals, drug treatment, prisons, private organisations. The many possibilities were very important to me.
    I like that every day is different and that unexpected things happen.
    I’m strong in communication both face to face and written.
    And of course I like people – everybody has got an interesting story to tell!

  3. Lorna Moses says:

    My chief reason for choosing the field of social work was to give back; to assist a young person feel valued, to use my gift of words to have the silence filled with wonder and with joy. I wanted to empower,to challenge the broken in spirit to soar past their adversity.

  4. Gwenetta Hill says:

    I chose Social Work as a profession because I want to help to bridge the gap of broken families together. Also to teach and help to build healthy parenting and family relationships.

  5. I chose social work because I`m a disabled person working with disabled people and one of the socoal workers role is to change the way we solve problems and if I don`t do it then who will ?

  6. Iain Wilson says:

    I didn’t choose social work initially, it chose me. I went into my first job in social care over 25 years ago not really knowing what I was doing or about to experience. After about a week I realised that this was what I was meant to do all along. I have progressed in my career, gone into management and got qualified, but I still recognise that working with and for the people I work with and helping them realise their true potential is what keeps me engaged with my work.

  7. Dawn Noray says:

    I did not choose Social Work. It chosed me by virtue of all the Social related things I was engaged in.
    But my overriding goal is to give a voice to those who otherwise will not be heard ie. Children seniors refugees etc

  8. Melissa says:

    I became a social worker because of my mother and a social worker who helped me when I was very young. I have found great enjoyment in working as a medical social worker. It was a great mix of social work, helping people and medical knowledge.

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