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"You Can Help People If You Know The Law...
There are people who genuinely need help. They don't know what to do. I am mostly bound by State and Federal regulations. I don't know how to help them." (Social Worker; 2013)
"Trust Only What You Know...
I was surprised that with my position I am spending much of my time dealing with charts and graphing. Math and computer skills are essential for this position just as much as human interaction and counseling are." (Family Counselor Coordinator; 2013)
"Too Much Work...
I was surprise that as a social worker, Many families mismanage their time. I thought time was money for everyone no matter what." (Social Worker; 2013)
"Time Consuming Tasks...
I was most surprised at how little actual time we get to spend with clients and how much time we see them on paper and in computers. There's little chance to use all the skills I spent years learning for dealing with people. it's almost catch as can with using those "techniques"." (Social Services Child Protective Services Worker; 2013)
"Research An Agency Well Before Applying Or Working There...
I was surprised to find that as a family social worker, I'd be spending so much of time filling out paperwork. Attention to detail and a willingness to deal with bureaucracy are essential for this career." (Social Worker; 2013)
"People Reward Is Your Best Pay...
You must not care about climbing the financial ladder as this not high paying job. Your reward is helping families in need of financial assistance. It require that that you be a people person as you will be dealing with people from all walks of live." (Public Assistance Eligibility Specialist II; 2013)
"Numerous Different Populations To Work With...
I was surprised to find that as a mental health professional, that there was little emphasis on keeping up with current evidence based research. Research skills are important for this career." (Mental Health Professional; 2013)
"No Personal Moral Beliefs In The Work Environment...
I find that there are a lot of family in need of financial assistance in order to have or maintain a basic standard of living. I think the downside about this career is that you are to able to help everyone although you may feel personally that they need help, you have to follow protocol. This job sometimes make me feel terrible because I have to look in a family face and say they are not qualify for government assistance. It makes you feel ashamed of yourself as a moral person." (Family Social Worker; 2013)
"Must Haves For Social Work...
I was surprised to find that I had to spend so much time filling out paperwork rather than actually helping people. Patience and office skills are a must for this job." (Family Services Worker; 2013)
"Make Sure You Love What You Do...
I was surprised how undervalued and underpaid people who work in social services truly are, especially considering extremely difficult nature of the work that we do." (Social Worker; 2013)
"Make Sure You Know What You Want To Do...
That many places require supervisor experience for an entry level supervisor job even with a 4 year degree. I did not realize how much of my coursework I could apply to my work. I also did not realize how difficult it was to fund a nonprofit and what avenues of revenue they have to travel." (Direct Support Professional; 2013)
"Listening To Your Clients...
I was surprised at how interesting I found people to be. Their stories are fascinating. I felt quite empathetic with many of them." (Child Protective Services Supervisor; 2013)
"Effort, Skills And Dedication...
The most surprising thing about my profession is the amount of children you deal with who suffer from anger, hurt and dislocation from the stable home environment. These children need people like me to help them so they can attain a meaningful life goal and overcome the situations they are in." (Social Service Counselor; 2013)
"Choosing The Right Job For You...
I was surprised that sometimes it was more difficult to work with my coworkers than it was to work with my clients. I was surprised to realize it can be a depressing job at times and I had to work on myself not falling into that depression." (Family Advocate; 2013)
"Be Ready For Heartache...
I was surprised by just how much my hands are tied by the rules when I want to help people." (Social Worker; 2013)
"Be Prepared For Lower Compensation But Time For Vacation...
I was surprised that the financial compensation was so low and stayed low over time of being in the field. I was, however, surprised to find out that social work professions typically provide generous paid time off benefits." (Family Support Worker; 2013)
"Be Polite To Everyone You Meet...
I was surprised how easy it was to get in this profession. I just went to the interview and was hired." (Social Worker; 2013)
"I was surprised how most state social agencies are more focused on numbers and dollars than they are about actually caring for the kids. While working for State of Indiana DCS, they put limits on the amount of services we could give our families, especially if they involved money." (Social Worker; 2013)
"I am surprised that working with children with mental disabilities means working mostly with the parents and their issues. You can try every intervention in the book but if the parents are not on board then it will not work. It surprised me that parents can be so clueless when it comes to their own kids." (Therapeutic Staff Support; 2013)
"As a social worker in child welfare, I was surprised to find out how much more we would be interacting with parents than children. I was also surprised to discover that there are various levels of professional licensing that allow me to work towards different specialties. I was surprised to also find out that doing social work for Child Protective Services or within a school would not qualify for working towards clinical licensing(LCSW)." (Social Worker; 2013)
"As a foster care case manager, I was surprised with how much I work with the court system. Due to the level of involvement with the court system, it is important to consult as many professionals as possible and keep detailed and descriptive documentation." (Foster Care Case Manager; 2013)
"I was surprised at the amount of paperwork needed for tracking purposes. I was also surprised at the wide array of duties that would fall into the role of a social worker." (Targeted Case Manager; 2013)
"I was surprised at how much people skills and the ability to read people I would need in order to be a successful social worker. You need to be able to empathize people and read people so that you can truly help them." (Social Worker; 2013)
"I was surprised by how quickly I got burnt out. Unfortunately my empathy has kind of dropped since I started working more directly and frequently with disadvantaged people. This is a shame because I got in to this field because I wanted to help (and I still do), but I have found that my internal motivation has wanted a bit." (Social Services Director; 2013)
"I was surprised to find out that being a family social worker involves a lot more intense situations that I anticipated. Having patience and a good heart are necessary skills." (Social Worker; 2013)
"I was surprised at how governmental budgets play a big role in my field. I was also surprised at some of the awful situations that children and teens are in. I did not expect to be emotionally invested as much as I am and some times it is hard to separate work from personal life. This was surprising to me." (Social Service Counselor; 2013)
"I was surprised to find out that I would be spending most of my time with children and families, and that some of the things I would see would really hurt me inside, and make me rethink my job." (Family Social Worker; 2013)
"You have to work very long hours for minimum pay. It's a struggle to make ends meet because entry Psychology (BA) jobs do not earn a lot and you are going to be doing other Masters and PhD's dirty work. The work itself is rewarding because you are making a difference in another's live. There are good days with face to face interaction and then there are days when it's just truck loads of paperwork assigned by the employers. There is also mailing and office work involved. I was surprised that you needed a lot of math and statistics (SPSS) in order to get through the data collection. You need great patience and the determination to go back to school to get a higher degree so you can advance in your career." (Behaviorist Intern; 2013)
"I was surprised at the variety of people I have met since I started being a family social worker. The family values, cultural and religious beliefs and ideas about child rearing were interesting and informative, while also helping me gain another perspective on my own parenting skills." (Family Social Worker; 2013)
"I was surprised with the amount of patience and self control needed for this job. It is often important to work straight through lunch in order to clear backlogged paperwork, and many of the clients will intentionally test social worker's patience." (Client Specialist; 2012)
"I was surprised at how much the field is filled with people who hate other people in general. I thought social work would be filled with caring people who wished to help others but what I've found is that a large majority of people I work with seem to be there to brow beat people in a position under them. Sad but true." (Client Advocate; 2012)
Social Worker: "One of the best parts of being a social worker, of course, are the rewards of seeing changed lives. It is amazing to be able to teach a child skills to cope with every day stressors, how to avoid anger, and to reach through depression and then to watch them soar as they catch on and get excited about their future. The worst part of being a social worker is that sometimes there is too much red tape in actually getting to help a client. Money needed to truly help is not always available and this year, Congress has taken most money from social services. Of course, the rewards greatly outweigh these negatives." (2011)
Social Worker: "One of the best parts of my career is that I am able to make a difference in the lives of children. I work with hundreds of kids and families and am able to see a child successfully be reunified with their biological family or be adopted by their foster family. It is great to see children achieve some kind of permanency in their lives. The worst part of my job is that it can be emotionally draining. It can affect my personal life when I see children go through tough times, undeserving of it all." (2011)
Social Worker: "The best part of my career is that I am making a difference in the lives of children. Even though children do not want to be in foster care, they are able to receive a better life with more opportunities than they would have if they were still in a neglectful and/or abusive environment. The worst part of my career is the long hours and the emotional toll that it can take on me." (2011)
Residential Mental Health Specialist: "The best part of my career is being able to help kids in need and actually see them appreciate it and use the skills they learn in the real world. It is rewarding when our kids do well in school or get a job and start saving money. The worst part of the job, though, is when these things don't happen and kids steer away from their treatment, which often leads to them ending up even worse off." (2011)
Social Worker: "The best part of my job is that I help young people in foster care prepare to be productive members of society. I help them realize that just because they are in foster care, or have aged out of foster care, they are not any less likely to succeed as an adult. The worst part of my job is that it is emotionally taxing and there are no set hours during which I work. This creates a strain on my own personal life and can be very stressful." (2011)
Foster Family Support & Home Licensing Worker: "The best part of working with foster families is providing emotional support for parents who have volunteered to provide a safe, loving home environment to children who are not their own. Being a foster parent means having to deal with a myriad of agencies and with the natural parents. This is not easy and can impose great stress on foster families. Support workers advocate for the needs of foster parents and intervene on their behalf with the various systems involved such as the health care and court systems." (2011)
Social Worker: "The best part of the job is working with the dedicated, caring foster parents who take children into their homes so they can thrive and develop in a family environment. I have seen children go to college and become successful adults. Babies with drug addictions and other health issues who were placed at birth become active and happy toddlers who blossom in foster care. Although very rewarding, the job can also be stressful. It is hard to make plans after work and it takes away the time I could be spending with my family. There is also a great deal of writing involved with assessments, annual re-evaluations and bi-monthly dictation. We have just had a new computer system installed that we are trying to learn. The one thing you can be certain of is not being bored. There is a great deal of interaction with many people including co-workers, collaterals and the foster families. I have learned so much in this job that I will take with me when I am ready to retire." (2010)
Foster Care Case Manager: "Make sure you do not make any decisions independently. Always consult DCS workers, foster parents, therapists, physicians, and attorneys as needed. All decisions are a team effort." (2013)
Targeted Case Manager: "Be aware that in order to advance in the social work field, education past the bachelor level degree is required." (2013)
Social Worker: "1. Make sure to engage in as many internships and learning experiences as possible. The more hands-on experience you get the better you will be prepared in the real-world. 2. Be sure to always be professional when on the job. Too many social workers can be rude and unprofessional which can cause problems for clients." (2013)
Social Services Director: "I would be sure to explore all career options thoroughly before I decide to go into social work. If you want to help people, there are many ways to do this (through volunteering, for example) without being an underpaid social worker for the rest of your life." (2013)
Social Worker: "Make sure you understand what it takes to get through to someone. The people that social workers work with are generally very difficult to handle and can sometimes be very overwhelming." (2013)
Social Service Counselor: "Make sure you are aware and prepared to be very meticulous with filling out paperwork. Much of this job seems like it would be simply talking to people about their situations and coming up with reasonable solutions. This is only partially true. Most of my time is spend filling out paperwork and double checking to make sure I filled out paperwork correctly and have it submitted in specific timeframes." (2013)
Family Social Worker: "Make sure that you're ready to deal with anything at anytime in the field. You never know what you're going to step into." (2013)
Behaviorist Intern: "Know that being an entry level Psychology intern (or anything related) does not offer sufficient salaries. It is also very competitive to find good work in a Psychology related field with only a BA. Graduate school is also very competitive, however if it is what you love, it will be alright. If you do not have a high GPA or come from a prestigious university you are already at a disadvantage. Make sure to look at the program quality also! I cannot stress this enough, see how well known the Psychology program itself is - by looking at the professors' written work. Have a strong interest in a specific subject and work with professors with related interests." (2013)
Family Social Worker: "For those who decide to pursue this career know that it's not easy, clients, co-workers and supervisors alike can be very demanding of your time so make sure you establish boundaries and pursue activities outside of work, because it's easy to make this job your life. Also, learn all you can in your classes but also be open to learning from your co-workers, supervisors and clients. They may teach you more than your text books ever could." (2013)
Social Service Counselor: "Study hard and acknowledge that even though you feel you are doing your best there are ones who depended on your very best. So take every class to heart and input you best." (2013)
Social Worker: "Agencies vary widely in terms of pay, working conditions, and employee morale. Research an agency very carefully before you apply by checking out its website. Ask your professors and current employees what they think about the agency. Checking the WWW for employee reviews of the agency and prepare good questions for agency HR people at job fairs and interviews." (2013)
Family Services Worker: "Make sure you are well versed in office programs and equipment." (2013)
Family Counselor Coordinator: "Be sure to know the way to get around people's descriptions of what is happening to them. Use what you have learned to not initially trust them, this will only help you and them in the future. Pry the truth" (2013)
Social Worker: "If you like working harder than other professionals and getting less pay chose Social Work. If you find making the same amount of money if you have your BSW or MSW go into Social Work. If you can find social work jobs on the internet, paper or anywhere then go into it but I don't recommend it at all. Been doing it for 7 years, can't do anything else and work my butt off making less than others where I work with less education than me. Explore nursing or Occupational Therapy, you will make more money, have less paperwork and not get burned out as fast if at all. Your pay will be so much more also if that maters. You can still "Help People" and get "Paid" what your worth in everything else but Social Work." (2013)
Child Protective Services Supervisor: "Make sure you take the time to really listen. Do not judge but try to understand the world your client experiences." (2013)
Family Social Worker: "Make sure you have a "tough skin", you have to cut the emotions out of your job, and you may have to follow protocol you know that is against your moral beliefs." (2013)
Social Worker: "Make sure you care for everyone equally. Someone could be having a bad day" (2013)
Mental Health Professional: "Make sure to decide which population you would like to work with. The population you choose can influence your job satisfaction." (2013)
Social Worker: "Be ready to deal with a never-ending amount of red tape and rules and laws that will restrict your ability to do what you feel is right. Also be ready to shoulder a high emotional toll from this line of work." (2013)
Social Worker: "Make sure you truly enjoy the work that you do because it is something that is very unlikely to provide adequate compensation." (2013)
Family Advocate: "Don't be afraid to pursue a career path that is right for you. You can use a social work degree in many different area, such as health care, school settings. Choose one that is right for you." (2013)
Social Services Child Protective Services Worker: "Be aware that a lot of time is spent on paperwork, processing, and other factors not related to actually interacting with clients." (2013)
Social Worker: "Understand people and the specific ways you can help them. Know the people and the regulations that apply." (2013)
Family Support Worker: "Be sure you are prepared to possibly take on a second job of some sort but also keep in mind you will have plenty of time to take vacations." (2013)
Public Assistance Eligibility Specialist II: "Please note that a degree is social work is not required as you can apply for this position without a college degree in social worker, however it is better that you have this background as it helps to be prepared with dealing with different people issues." (2013)
Direct Support Professional: "Work with different age groups so you can be certain about which age group you want to specialize in." (2013)
Social Worker: "You really have to have a heart for social work. The pay is not always in line with the importance of the job. Even though "red tape" may sometimes get in the way of your work, you should always work like nothing is impossible. Being able to relate to people of all different cultures, genders, backgrounds, etc. is a really important part of being a social worker. You must remain open minded at all times. Your clients WILL have different views from your own, but you must respect them and help them nonetheless." (2011)
Social Worker: "Although social work can be emotionally draining and demanding, it is worth it to be able to see the difference that you have made in someone's life. Look into pursing your education further; there are many additional opportunities in the social work field for those who have a degree higher than a Bachelor's. Many organizations offer tuition assistance, and that is definitely worth looking into. Also, keep an open mind when it comes to social work. You might find yourself interested in working with those whom you thought you wouldn't, and this can open many doors for you." (2011)
Social Worker: "The first piece of advice is to try and obtain a higher education. There are many more careers available to social workers who have their Master's degrees, and especially to social workers who are licensed. The salary will always be too low for what we do; however, your salary can increase if you have a higher degree. The second piece of advice is to make sure you establish healthy personal boundaries for yourself. It's easy to get caught up in your job, but remember to take breaks. Try and leave work at work every day, even though it may be hard. The third peice of advice is to always keep in mind why you do what you do. Over the years it can be easy to lose sight of your mission, and view your job as "just a job." Remember the children and families that you are helping." (2011)
Residential Mental Health Specialist: "If I were to advise someone pursuing this type of career, I would alert them that it is indeed frustrating, but it can also be rewarding. It certainly helps to have a high tolerance for behavioral issues and a willingness to forgive certain actions. As far as education, basic psychology courses or degrees help in identifying certain problems with each child. The bottom line is to just be open to helping them out and being there when they need it the most." (2011)
Social Worker: "Three tips I suggest for a person looking for a job like this are to be flexible, prepare for low salaries, and stay hopeful, no matter what. Flexibility is vital because there is little to no predictability to what you will be doing day to day. Social work is not a high paying job, and is usually under a contract, which means you are only guaranteed employment for a set amount of time - usually a year. Be smart with your money. And lastly, never give up hope for these young people, as challenging as it may seem." (2011)
Foster Family Support & Home Licensing Worker: "The recommendations I make to those desiring to pursue a child welfare career are: 1. It is an absolute must that you take psychology courses. They will help you understand our mental process and human behavior. This is important for understanding and relating to the psyche of foster children. 2. Learn as much as you can about child abuse and neglect in your state or country and the impact it has on foster children. 3. Talk with current or former foster parents and foster children to learn about their positive and negative experiences." (2011)
Social Worker: "If you are looking into an MSW (that is, a master's in social work), think of a state college where you can get a two-year degree for less money then a private college. You can work full-time and attend a part-time graduate program if money is an issue. Our agency, for example, provides financial assistance in obtaining an advanced degree. Working for this agency provides you with a wealth of knowledge if you decide to work for another service agency. The people skills you gain can be utilized in various other capacities. If you want to help people and enjoy children this is a good place to see many success stories. I have personally received positive feedback from the people I work with and I enjoy my job. The most important tool for a social worker is the skill set you have in understanding and not judging people. If you cannot relate to people, you need to think of another occupation." (2010)