Why Did You Choose Social Work?
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.