Dear Future Social Worker,
I am so pleased that you have embarked on this journey, into this career. And let me tell you, I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but to be a social worker is a privilege.
Your day job will be to be human; to sit beside people in their most vulnerable, intimate moments, to celebrate their strengths and successes, to help them find the courage and abilities within themselves to change and grow, and to have an enduring belief in the possibility of change and human resilience. To witness it, day in, day out.
We all know it is not easy to be a human and it is certainly not easy to be a social worker. And guess what, you’re both of these things!
The landscape is always changing; sometimes the tides feel higher and harsher than ever before. But still, social workers venture into communities and they help people to sail across to a safer shore.
Let’s not forget the bonds you will make with colleagues, sharing the highs and the lows; but also, the compassion that you will harness, for the communities that you serve, but also for yourself.
Please remember to have compassion for yourself too. In this everchanging, fast-paced field, your mental health and wellbeing is a priority.
Social work, just like the human experience, is not linear. Some days will feel heavier than others and the responsibility can feel overwhelming.
But on other days, you’ll see what a difference you can make in helping someone to transform and shape their life, even in the smallest of ways. That is when you’ll have a glimpse of why you decided to become a social worker in the first place.
Social worker and practice educator
Emma’s letter is part of Community Care’s Choose Social Work campaign, which aims to champion the brilliant work social workers do every day, inspire the next generation of practitioners and counteract the negative media coverage of the profession.
Read about why we’ve launched this campaign, and the five steps you can take to support it. On our campaign page, you will find more inspiring stories about the difference that good social work makes, as well as our series of Dear Future Social Worker letters, encouraging the next generation to choose social work as a fulfilling, rewarding career.
More from Choose Social Work
- ‘We never hear about the children social workers help’: a day in the life of a social work team
- ‘It was wonderful to have somebody show me they really cared’
- When social work becomes a family affair
- ‘The advice that has stayed with me through my social work career’
- ‘You can literally change a young person’s life’: an 18-year-old’s message for social workers
- ‘What I wish I’d known before becoming a social worker’
What would you advise someone joining the profession?