Some professions, by their very nature, are nobler than others. Social work is one of them. It promotes social change in favor of the downtrodden and the needy.
Every job has its unique set of challenges, but very few test your sheer resilience, patience, and will like social work.
Social workers work with people and communities from diverse backgrounds dealing with a plethora of social and economic troubles.
Their main purpose is to provide help, counseling, and assistance to promote the well-being of the people and communities they interact with.
Despite its challenges, social work is generally considered to be highly rewarding. The personal satisfaction you get at the end of a long day helping people fight their toughest battles gives you the energy for your next challenge.
Social work ranges from one-on-one interactions with people battling social issues to policy-making and generating community-based initiatives.
A profession so diverse in its scope is bound to attract a lot of people, but unfortunately, social work isn’t for everyone.
If you are thinking of jumping into this field of work, consider volunteering first. Volunteering is a great way to get your feet wet before jumping into the pool of social work.
Not only will it give you real-life experience about the realities of social work, but it will also make it crystal clear whether you have what it takes to adopt it as a full-time profession.
For people confident about professionally adopting social work as their career, an online MSW degree is a nudge in the right direction to acquire invaluable field knowledge.
Curious about what else social work teaches you? Here are 7 amazing lessons learned from doing social work.
Table of Contents
1. Teaches You to Be Quick on Your Feet
No two people have the same set of problems. Similarly, no two days are alike in social work. Every day comes with its own unique set of challenges.
For social workers, these challenges could be in the form of troubled individuals or catastrophic disasters in remote areas of the world.
No matter the challenge, social workers have to think on their feet and adapt accordingly. There is no time to panic or run for help because in most cases, you are the helping person people look up to.
Problems can arise anywhere at any time. Being prepared at all times pays well. It also makes you highly observant of your surroundings.
2. Practice Gratitude
Society has certain classes, and people prefer to move and interact within their own class. This practice makes a lot of people oblivious to the struggles faced by the less fortunate among us.
Social work does a wonderful job of picking you up from the comfort of your own circle and introducing you to the vast world outside of it.
It gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with amazing cultures, traditions, and communities, but at the same time, it shows you the harsh truth about real-life struggles faced by numerous people every day.
Not only does it humble you, but it also offers you a chance to practice gratitude for everything that you have.
You learn to identify your privilege and use it to help the people who have no control over their unfortunate circumstances.
3. Get In Touch with Your Core Values
Social work has a way of testing your limits and asking you to put your best foot forward each time. Intimidating as it seems, it also promotes a sense of compassion and resilience.
No one does social work for the money – choosing a life of social welfare stems from the belief that society must function better to uplift its most troubled citizens.
This core belief along with honesty, resilience, and justice, make up the value system of a social worker. After each setback or a bad day, these beliefs offer the social worker the energy needed to get back up again.
In a way, social work provides the self-discipline required to identify, get in touch with, and practice your core values.
4. Learn to Trust
The most practical lesson that social work teaches you is that despite your purest intentions and best efforts, you cannot do it all alone. And that is why you have to trust.
Trust the people around you to get theworkdone as, if not more, efficiently as you would. Trust the people you help to navigate their own path after the initial guidance.
Trust is the essence behind all social work. Without trust, you will not be satisfied with the quality of your work.
5. Honor Others
All lives are precious – this belief is at the core of all social work. Social workers know that each person has their own story to tell and that each story has its own wisdom to impart.
That is why it’s highly important to honor everyone you interact with. Rich or poor, no matter how unfortunate their circumstances are, your attitude should always communicate respect.
You cannot help anyone while looking down on them.
6. Don’t Take Everything Personally
People in pain have less, and sometimes, no control over their emotions. Confronting troubled people is unlike any other regular interaction.
They may shout, scream, or ramble at you about their fears, concerns, and sorrows. Your job is to understand that it comes from a place of need and fear, and to never take it personally.
These strong, barely controlled reactions are actually a call for help from someone who may have been denied their very rights, so above all, be empathetic and kind.
7. Live Life to Its Fullest
The amount of poverty, sorrow, and troubles you get to see each day in the field of social work are enough to last several lifetimes, but don’t let it bring you down.
Rather, use it to reflect on the ease that you have and enjoy every second of your life. Social work makes you realize just how fast your situation can change, so take every step you can to make your life better and happier.
The world needs social workers because of their empathy and kindness. The lessons mentioned in this article are bound to last a lifetime and improve the quality of your life. Social work may seem like a profession completely devoted to the well-being of others, but it is equally satisfying and rewarding for the social workers themselves.