Work is important: it’s not just how you pay the bills and rent, it’s how you spend the majority of your time. How you’re treated at work, and the people around you will define your mood and outlook in the rest of your life. When you’re flying at work, recognised and rewarded for your efforts, it brings you energy to put into the rest of your life. The sad reverse of that is when you’re mired down, giving your very best but ignored by a management that takes responsibility for your good decisions while passing down the consequences for their bad ones, it can drag down everything else.
One of the keys to finding happiness at work that can spread into the rest of your life is making sure you are valued, and that you can see how your efforts have an effect. Sending emails and attending meets all with no visible result is demoralising, but when you can see your efforts finally pay off, it’s a heady reward, so you need work that delivers that reward as regularly as possible.
It’s time to consider social work.
Why Social Work?
There’s currently a dearth of social workers in the UK. This is the sign of a sector that needs some work and transformation, but it also means it’s a great time to get in on the ground floor. There can never be enough social workers, so while getting into this career means hard work, and stretching resources as far as they can go, it means you will always be appreciated: you’ll be doing a vital job and neither you nor your managers will be able to deny it.
You’ll also be making a concrete, quantifiable difference to the lives of everyone you touch: not every case can be a success story, but for many social workers form part of a vital support structure that means a childhood free of abuse, or recovery from an addiction that could have ended their life. Even if you’re under-resourced, it’s hard to ignore the satisfaction that comes from earning your rent by helping people materially improve their lives.
Work as a social worker is undoubtedly stressful, but so is work in a career where you’re undervalued and overstretched. Social work at least has the compensation of job satisfaction, and on top of that you have remarkable freedom to design your own career. The ‘front line’ of social covers many fronts, from working with criminals, to children, to the elderly, and as you get more senior you can move into management, research or even policy setting! It’s a career choice that can last a lifetime and reward you throughout, so it’s well worth looking at ways into social work today.