Is it possible to write a five year plan for your future? Once it might have been potentially easy to write. However, at present in Social Work, I wonder whether this is still the case. Or whether it is possible for anybody to still maintain a long term carer in Social Work? Budgets have been cut, services have been cut. Not just in one area but in every area, Health, Education and with Charities and voluntary sectors to.
It is worrying with the current lack of investment in Social Work, especially as the work is with vulnerable client groups that desperately need support and help. It is worrying that confidential information is still being taken out of the office, instead of the information being scanned on to a system where it can be read from an encrypted laptop. Where bin men are given Ipad’s to help with their bin routes, instead of pre programmed Satellite navigation systems or maybe Bin Men that are not under pressure to collect all of the rubbish in half the time with half the staff!
Despite this and equipped with just a note book and pen (that is counted in and out of the office, and every page checked to see if it has been used) I would not want to change my job. Case loads are growing, teams are getting smaller, which is good in a way because so is the office space! Guidance is growing and changing quicker than you can blink.
So it is not surprising that Social Workers are going off sick, battling with the work load is a constant struggle. Managing cases that you can not give enough time to, whilst still completing the vast amounts of paperwork required to access funding needed to support the clients. The real skill is to come back still focused and willing to do the job, knowing that the job will change again and again. Knowing that the staff you rely on may not be there due to cut backs or promotions. Knowing that when you are off that your work carries on and this has to be carried by the team, further creating pressure on individual workers.
So my five year plan is to carry on with my learning and training, to keep up with the changes that are taking place. Hoping that I can balance work and my home life and that the pressures of work do not come home because of decisions that have needed to be made.