Happy Social Work Month! Someone once said, “Social Work is the Art of listening and the Science of Hope.” As a Social Worker, I truly believe in this statement because I’ve had to listen to many testimonies of trials which provided a glimmer of hope and later became stories of triumph. Social Work is a thankless career like so many others and sometimes it makes you re-evaluate why you decided to choose it. I always ask myself why did I get into this profession? And while I don’t have a definitive answer as to why. What I do know, it’s been very enlightening and humbling.
Over the years, I’ve worked with various populations in New York, DC and now Texas. Some of these populations included people living with HIV/AIDS, homeless families, pregnant and parenting teenagers, families involved with child protective services and geriatrics. The one characteristic that stood out amongst my clients/ patients was a sense of resiliency. Despite some of their circumstances, there were many who were very resourceful and who taught me a few things along the way.
I even did a brief stint at Job Corps and a girls group home. But when the group home told me I had to go to Nebraska for two weeks training and on the second day of work, one girl jumped off the top bunk bed over my head to fight another girl, I knew I was not cut out to work there. So after four days of employment there, I was done. And Job Corps was cool but it wasn’t challenging enough so when I found a job paying more money, I made like a banana and split.
I could probably write a novel about some of the things I had to deal with as a Social Worker. Like the time, when the patient had a psychotic break, caught me off guard and hit me in the face. Let’s just say, I was shocked and upset and I wanted to slap the taste out of her mouth but I knew I couldn’t because I needed my coins. So all I did was file an incident report and took a few days off from work. Or how about the time when my patient came in to my office and proceeded to bend over, lift up her dress to show me her hemorrhoid. All I could say was #reallylady
|Courtney of @sallysoicalworkerbook on Instagram
Let’s just say there is never a dull moment as a Social Worker. And not only are the clients/patients very entertaining but my co-workers were also. Every job I’ve had, I always gained some very special friends and formed bonds with colleagues that will last forever. My colleagues have talked me out of poppin’ off in meetings, bought me drinks for happy hour, comforted me when I felt like crying and even gave me good advice about relationships (well, it probably wasn’t that good since I’m still single, lol). All in all, I don’t regret being chosen to be a Social Worker.
Now, I can’t take away from the fact that there have been countless times when I’ve come home and cried about clients who died from other illness’ due to a compromise immune system caused by HIV/AIDS. Also, teenagers who had repetitive pregnancies when they were unable to take care of themselves. But knowing that I was able to touch and hopefully impact their life in a positive consistent way made me feel better about what my calling was.
So here are three things, I’d like to share with you that helped me to be able sustain myself as a Social Worker throughout the years.
1. Self care – If you don’t take time out to take care of yourself then how can you possibly be able to help others. Whether it be a mental health day, staycation or a weekend getaway you owe that to yourself.
2. Multiple Streams of Income – Never put all your eggs in one basket. Always have a legitimate side hustle that you can fall back on just in case some thing happens to your full time bread and butter.
3. Continuing education – Keep yourself aware of new topics and trainings in your field so that when you are networking or trying to market yourself you will be abreast of the most innovative concepts in your field. It also serves as a way to get outside of your offices’ four walls to get away from the daily grind.
So to all of my fellow Social Workers in the struggle be encouraged. And please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I embark upon my newest challenge as a Psychotherapist!
Feel free to check out some of the pictures below and until next time…..