As much as students try to prepare themselves for their careers throughout school and internships, it can sometimes be difficult to fully understand the complexities of their chosen industries until they are actually serving in their roles. This especially rings true in the social work industry.
Thankfully, there are many seasoned professionals who have gone through the same experiences as these young social workers who might find themselves overwhelmed by their industry. Check out some helpful advice for young social workers below.
Be the Social Worker You Would Want to Have
As a social worker, you will be dealing with individuals in unimaginable circumstances. Even though you may never have to go through their situation, it would help you do your job more effectively if you place yourself in their shoes. If you were in their position, what type of social worker would you want to have? Would you want a distant and money-driven social worker? Or would you desire a social worker that cares about getting to know you as an individual and helping find the best possible solution for you? The chances are that you would want the latter. Make sure you are that type of resource for your clients.
Invest in Hobbies Outside of Work
Throughout your career, you will come to learn the importance of having hobbies outside of work. Especially in social work, you will need to have outlets to relieve stress due to the complex nature of the cases you will be dealing with. Distracting yourself when you come home from work is a must. Maybe that will look like creating artwork, playing basketball, or even hosting a dinner party. If you do not already have a hobby, there are many that you can begin discovering and learning.
Understand That Your Emotions Will Be Affected
Even though some social workers attempt to be emotionally detached from their work, it often ends up with them being more emotionally affected than they realized. The sooner you accept your emotional attachment to your cases, the easier time you’ll have handling those emotions. Your empathy is most likely what made you desire to be in the social work field. Rather than running from this empathy, lean into it, but also understand that this can drain you at times. You might feel worn out and useless at some points. Preparing yourself for these emotions and having an outlet to speak to will be immensely helpful in combatting the negative impacts of your role.