“Yesterday at my internship, I got asked what advice I’d give to an up and coming Masters of Social Work student and I just looked at him with a blank stare. I’ve seen everyone else describe what nursing and teaching is like, so let me describe what being a social worker is.
I know everyone sees the posts about being overbooked with clients (especially DCBS) and underpaid while being overworked. But here’s what really sinks in:
Get ready to hear about the girl sitting in front of you who was molested from age 3-15.
Be ready to deal with the 5-month pregnant momma who relapsed on meth.
Be ready for the first time you lose a client to suicide.
Get ready to deal with trauma. (Lots and lots of trauma.)
Get ready to hear about all the verbal and physical abuse a child and adult has sustained since birth.
Be ready to deal with the 11-year-old pregnant child.
Be ready to be there and support the 17-year-old boy who was just kicked out of his home and has nowhere else to go.
Get ready to be there on these clients WORST days.
Be ready for all of the worst imaginable things that could happen because they happen to our clients everyday.
Get ready to sit and listen to the recent widow who just lost her husband of 50 years and doesn’t know how to live.
Be ready to hear about the woman who was a CEO of a business who was 2 years sober relapse on alcohol.
Be ready to help your client find an abortion clinic because part of your job is providing all resources possible.
Get ready to tell the child that was dropped off at the Psych Hospital they are now in DCBS custody because their parents left them and filed for dependency.
But most of all, be ready to smile. Be ready to suck it up when you walk through the doors to your home because your home is not your work.
Be ready to cry in the car to the point where you can barley breathe.
Be ready to walk through your home and hug your babies because you could never imagine someone beating them, neglecting them, and raping them repeatedly.
Because YOU chose this profession. Because YOU love your clients and YOU want to help others.
Not for the paycheck, but because you chose to help. And you’re doing a damn good job.
Many times throughout my education, I have heard, ‘All social workers are is baby snatchers.’ Hearing this sets fire in me.
We protect children and I can promise you your child isn’t being taken away for no reason. All of the things above I have witnessed firsthand during my master’s program alone.
Social work isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but when you have a positive session with your client it is so so rewarding. When your client finally says, ‘I am good enough, I am loved, I am beautiful, and I left him/her’ you want to celebrate.
Addiction, abuse, death, and neglect affects everyone no matter the color of your skin, how much money you have, how educated you are, or what your age is.
So, next time you see a social worker or therapist tell them thank you. Because you never know what they just heard from the client before you.”
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