(Closed) Social worker bees!!!!

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’m a social worker who just recently graduated with my masters. Although I just graduated, I’ve been in the field for about 4 years and have learned quite a bit!! Let me preface this by saying that everyone told me I was crazy for wanting to be a social worker and that I’d be poor for the rest of my life. Ahem. Not true. Don’t believe it when people tell you that. (Clearly I have issues with this, can’t you tell?)

The field of social work has greatly improved thanks to being required to have a Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) or a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) in order to call yourself a social worker. It used to be that anyone could be a social worker if they  worked with people in a “helping” capacity. Like I said, nowadays there are very stringent and specific licenses, CEUs, and degrees that must be earned in order to call yourself a social worker.

I love the field of social work because it’s a very holistic view of the person and their issues. Often times people compare social workers to psychologists and truly, there is limited comparison. Psychology is an extremely important field and has led us to many discoveries regarding personality, brain functioning, and therapeutic modalities and theories. However, after working with many psychologists I find that on average, they tend to focus internally on the individual and the problems associated with the individual. What I like about social workers is that we are taught to see the individual externally in their environment, within their family system, community, and social systems, and take more into account their strengths. Obviously take into account your stance, therein lies the major difference between social work and psychology.

In regard to jobs, social workers can work in hospitals, schools, law offices, nursing homes, government positions (even the military!), a wide array of agencies and with the right experience and credentials, private practice therapy. You can work in anything from foster care to research to politics. Really, social workers can get their foot in anywhere! Personally, I have experience in working with educational research regarding children with disabilities and national testing procedures (I also did my own research regarding children with Autism and Sex Ed-interesting!). I have also worked in a NICU providing counseling for families with infants who are hospitalized. I worked with adults with severe and persistent mental illness (aka schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression) facilitating groups and doing individual therapy. I also most recently worked very closely with the legal system in that I worked with kids who’ve been abused. I did psychosocial evaluations, often had to testify in their legal cases, and did individual therapy with the kids. Since I just graduated, I got my first job working at a hospital nearby in their behavioral health unit as the program’s group clinician coordinator. I’ll be creating the group therapy curriculum for a therapeutic residence consisting of 9 adolescents with behavioral problems (fun!… lol ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see, I love social work. You need to have a thick skin and lots of drive to make it work, in my opinion. Don’t let others get you down and do lots of research!! If you have any more questions definitely feel free to PM me, I asked around a lot before I decided social work was my thing ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!


Post # 5
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’m sorry, I was so caught up in explaining the field I didn’t really answer many of your questions lol!

The day in the life of a social worker is extremely varied and dependent upon your job. In regard to work life/hours, most of my jobs have been 8-4 or 9-5, however when you work with children or if you do family therapy or work in a typical counseling agency (aka you are a therapist for people who work 9-5) you will most likely have to put in a certain number of hours after 5 and maybe even on weekends to accomodate your clients’ schedules. Obviously if you work in private practice you can make your own hours. On average though, most social work jobs the hours are quite flexible. My goal is to eventually work in a school, I’m an early bird so 7-3 would be heaven, especially with summers off!! ๐Ÿ™‚

In regard to what you actually do, it also depends on your job. Typically social work jobs consist of working with people, assessing/diagnosing (if necessary), creating treatment plans, conducting therapeutic services, making referrals to other agencies or services, writing reports, and participating in clinical meetings. If you work in another capacity such as research or politics or the law, obviously your “one on one” time with people will probably be significantly less, and you’ll spend more time writing reports, in meetings, doing research, testifying, etc.

As I stated before, the best type of person for the job is someone who is caring, driven, and who has a thick skin. You’ll be working with lots of depressing issues and you have to have the resources within yourself to cope with what you’re doing. Keep in mind nobody wants to hear about your 7 year old suicidal client whose father sexually and physically abused her for years in the most horrific way. Or the 83 year old client diagnosed with schizophrenia who recently lost all her family so she stopped taking her medication, and now she’s actively hallucinating and/or delusional. Or the family who lost their 8 week old infant on the morning they were supposed to finally take her home from the hospital because she was born premature. …You see my point lol. (All true stories from my past jobs/internships..)

The “good” is that if you like helping people, you’ll be doing lots of helping for lots of people lol. There are plenty of jobs out there in social work and they tend to be pretty flexible. The salaries are NOT that bad!! lol Everyone thinks social workers make minimum wage but thats seriously not true. Get your masters though, if you decide to do it (you make more money and have more opportunities). It’s a rewarding career that definitely helps you keep life in perspective.

The “bad” is that often your work is based on getting paid from some kind of funding, be it insurance company reimbursement, grants, fund raising, or whatever. If the money runs out or your services are deemed “unnecessary” your job is gone. I know a girl who worked at an agency for African refugees who only spoke French and she helped them gain refugee/asylum status in the US. Their grant ran out and they couldn’t obtain other funding so the agency had to close up shop. Obviously that’s a super specific agency and example, but it can happen (though its rare).

The “ugly” I guess is that it is often thankless work and most people have an extreme misunderstanding of what social workers do. Someone in my family still doesn’t believe that I function as a therapist at my job because she insists that social workers “don’t do therapy”. Umm.. you’re wrong. Also, be prepared for the eye roll and sympathetic “Oh you’re such a nice person, I could never do that!” when you tell people what you do. Keep in mind you will probably hate anyone with a corporate job because you will most likely never have a job that has free gym access, free catered lunch every day, super huge bonuses, etc. (I live just outside NYC so many of my friends have these jobs with these perks… it hurts lol).

Ok… I’m going to stop writing now lol. As I said before, if you want to continue to read my extremely long personal experiences with the field, feel free to PM me ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 6
3801 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

The job is not as thankless and underpaid as you may think or hear. There are great jobs out there! I did case work for 2 years and now I am in admin. I dont enjoy admin as much and I am in school for my master’s now. I miss working directly with families/people.

I say go for it…everyday is different and the work is fast-paced, so you are never bored!

Post # 7
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Priestley-Savidge House

I’m a Social Worker & I can tell you that if you want to be a good one you have to go to get your Social Work degree. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work & in school to receive a Master’s Degree in Social Work. I love my job & I encourage it. If you don’t have your SW degree yet but want to try it out, don’t think that you can do it all. People like me have worked hard in school for years, only to see you “try” the same career. It’s insulting. I hope that you do go for it, but just please take my advice. I know that I sound mean, I just want you to be prepared. Best of luck, honestly! 

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