I’m re-posting the link above from another Social Work Blog: “Andrew Ellery-Really Anything and Everything“.
I really appreciated this post because not only does it hit on a common mis-perception about who social workers are and what they do specifically, he also discusses the struggle on deciding whether or not to take a path that he might not necessarily be passionate about in order to fulfill the role of what a “social worker” should be, or if his skills can be applied in areas outside of the common definition.
In discussing the misconceptions as well as the personal struggle, the author writes:
“I like to explore people’s understanding of ‘Social Work’ and what this actually is. So, if I asked you what you thought people’s responses were, what would you say? Yup, guessed it… “something like child protection”. So amidst all the trauma of being unemployed, I’m advised to work within a sector I don’t really want to work in (unless the role was particularly interesting to me), because I have degree I shouldn’t go for a role that requires anything less, and because I trained in Social Work I should go and be a Social Worker.”
“I mean I wanted to do my social work degree having worked predominantly in community work, why would I want to change the type of work I was doing (in terms of the relationship between myself and client being based on voluntary engagement as opposed to statutory intervention)?”
While Child Protection is indeed an important part of Social Work, the truth is, the process of pursuing studies for Social Justice Work and obtaining a degree in the field gives those who are passionate about making a positive impact a vast knowledge base about privilege, oppression and social justice, and wide range of skills that they can use to to serve humanity in whatever ways they are passionate about.
Thank you, Andrew Ellery for your honesty in sharing your experiences with navigating an issue that I feel is more common than we might realize. My advice to you would be to continue to search for opportunities that allow you to use yourself in the best way you can, and if community work is the way that you work best to achieve that goal, than so be it.
I think we do the best service when our work fits with our passions and strengths.
Stay encouraged in the search…
Grace & Peace,
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW
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