Hard decisions

Have you ever wondered about how wonderful Social Work is.  Despite the negative media attention, there still is a sense of job satisfaction.  The one “Thank You”, or the one smile.  Or maybe seeing a client several years on still doing well.  Of course the other good side of Social Work is the diverse nature of the job.  Which I saw today when I met a Student Social Worker completing her final placement within a School.  But it could have been a Prison, Children Centre, Family Centre, Youth Centre, Drug and Alcohol Centre, or other Voluntary settings.  That is without the statutory settings or even independent Social Workers who have their own exciting roles.


But what happens when you stop enjoying Social Work? What happens when you stop noticing the work that you do.  When the issues become bigger than you can imagine and they start coming home with you.  Sadly this can happen more often than not, poor Supervision, and a blame culture that does not promote a positive environment to work in.  


The idea of a protected case load ensures that this does not happen to newly Qualified Social Workers who may full prey to these feelings, and may who may not receive good feedback about the work they are doing.  


However, this week my Manager has shared her recent experiences of these feelings.  Oddly I am asked to look over her CV as she wants to send it out looking for new work.  “I want you to apply for my post when I leave” she informs me.  “I can not carry on working here like this” she tells me “I need to find one more challenge or retire!”  


However, as nice as her comments are, doubts are placed in my mind and if this is what I want to do.  Do I want to work in an organisation where after a few years I may find myself in the same position.  Everyday, the pressure is on.  And rightly so, ensuring that the right plan is considered for each Young Person.  The argument to fight for services and funding for services grows harder.  With an expectation and reliance on using universal services that often do not meet the need of the young person.


The question is how long can you fight for the Young People and also for your own emotional well being.  Can I be strong enough to develop the team and ensure that they also do not feel this pressure.







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3 responses

  1. wonderful post. i with there were more blogs about this issue, as i am in this situation currently. i am interested in reading how social workers re-enter the field after a period of absence due to "compassion fatigue" or secondary trauma.

  2. I can completely understand some of your thinking. It is hard sometimes to keep on top of your enthusiasm in the day to day grind at times but often it can depend on the team culture as well. I think we can take some actions to keep interested – I'm a bit biased but I've found writing my blog and reflecting on what the job actually means beyond the 'paper heavy' tasks that sometimes overwhelm have really helped to 'keep me fresh'. I have no doubt you'd be a great manager because you are asking these questions. When you start to take things for granted and stop asking – that's when the burnout begins. And teams that don't allow questions and/or reflection, that's where it happens quickest.

  3. I don’t even know what to say… I feel overwhelmed just looking at it!Sample cv

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