The Fun Fair



Have you ever wondered how working in social work is like riding on the ‘Merry-go-Round’.  Every day, week and month you get back on the ride appearing to go around in circles.  Restricted by the legislation and budgets from veering off the path, the goal to complete your work.


Its easy to see how as Social Workers you can quickly become dizzy, confused and disorientated.  When you get on the ‘merry go round’ you understand how it works, it gently goes around in a circle with the ride you are on also going up and down.  But, what you do not expect is that the ride does not stop, that due to the time that you are required to use the computer systems that the ride can speed up.


Despite social work being like a ‘Merry-go-Round’ it is not fun! as your journey takes you around and around it makes it essential that your social work skills are used effectively.  Your perception requires you to be able to observe changes and improvements or regression in behaviours and child safety.  My favourite description of observational skills is looking at a piece of cheese.

Everybody will observe a situation and although everyone maybe looking at the same situation they may observe it from a different angle, and therefore see a different story.  When riding on the social work ‘merry go round’ it is possible that every time we complete a visit we may also see different sides of the same piece of cheese.  Which, due to the nature of social work requires real analytical skill to decipher in the spin whether you are seeing change in the family and if this is leading to a positive outcome for them. Or is it the same cheese from a different angle masking the problem.


But, Social Work is more than just going around in circles with the families we work with.  With Carer development and personal learning a good social worker will experience all of the rides in the fun fair.  A journey that is never boring, and always a challenge.  That when you get home all of the adrenaline, (pressure or stress) needs to be released to avoid the burn out.  Finding the balance is not as easy as it seems.  Knowing that young children and babies may be living in situations that cause sleepless nights, or arguing in your own head whether the right decision has been made.  

But don’t forget that as fund fairs pack up and move around in social work we like to do the same.  Instead of moving though the nature of the fun fair changes, the rides become smaller.  And the entrance fee rises, the conditions change as to who can ride on the rides.

Lets all promote positive social work and positive interventions, that social work is not a fun fair that can be forced closed or shrunk.  That like fun fairs, social work may not be liked but when done well, it can have a big impact on the community and all of the people living in it.  
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