Social workers are vital to many communities, including yours. They work endlessly to ensure that individuals and families are safe and comfortable in their homes. Unfortunately, the social work profession is not very well known. Here are five reasons why it should be.
1. They deal with all types of people.
Social workers are responsible for assisting those who deal with substance abuse/addiction, orphans, children in foster care, people with disabilities, abused/neglected children, people dealing with spousal abuse, and so much more. This type of service requires a strong and positive attitude, and these situations can be extremely depressing to deal with. When someone becomes a social worker, they must also accept that they are probably not going to evoke major changes in certain people's lives. It is easier to influence younger people/children to do good in life, rather than try to change an older person who might have already committed to a life of trouble.
2. They must draw boundaries.
From my experience as a student studying social work, I know this is already going to be difficult for me to endure. Social workers must have the skill of separating their home life from their work life. It can be heavy on a person to understand that they have to leave a child in an unsafe home or deal with a client dying, or know that someone is going to remain homeless for another night. Imagine being a child and wanting to take every puppy home from the animal shelter. That is how some social workers feel with their caseloads. When they see a person or family in distress, they just want to do everything they can for them, but sometimes, tempting as it is, this is unethical.
3. Social workers deal with loads of cases at a time.
State social workers must handle around 40-50 cases at one time, and sometimes even more. This leads to tons of paperwork to fill out and file, which can be strenuous on the mind, especially considering the type of paperwork they deal with. Reading about dozens of upsetting situations at a time and trying to find solutions to all of them is extremely stress-inducing, but social workers have the mindset and work ethic to power through and change the world.
4. They don't get paid that much...
To make a comfortable earning as a social worker, it is recommended that you earn at least a Master's degree in the field. In 2014, the Bachelor's of social work was making $46,730 on average per year. On the bright side, this number is up by almost $10,000 from was BSW's were making three years prior, in 2011. In Michigan, the average single person needs about $20,000 to get by comfortably. While this is significantly less than the average salary of a Michigan social worker, this only entails how a single person would live. If a social worker is married and has kids, or plans to do either of the two, this amount would not be so easy to live off of. Not to mention, it only costs more money to get a higher degree, which would, fortunately, give you more money. In sum, social workers must spend a large amount of money in order to make the money back.
5. Social workers care more than anything.
The goals of a social worker are to help in their community and society, in any way possible. No matter what culture or background their clients come from, social workers only want to help them and advocate for them to no end. With the realization that they don't have all the power in the world to change it, they make the best of what they can do, and that can mean a lifetime of change in some people's lives. Social workers have big hearts and an abundance of willpower. They can withstand some extremely tough areas in people's lives, and be the only spec of positive that person may experience. At the end of the day, social workers have an overwhelming amount of care to give to their clients and they want the best for all of them.
Next time you see a social worker, make sure to thank them for everything they contribute to this world!