Social Work Careers in 2020 | What To Expect As A Social Worker

hey everybody is mineka mental health

therapist in today's video we're going

to be talking about social work as a

career seven things that you should

expect if you're interested in this

video then please keep watching I'm

Anika Thomas the founder and clinical

social worker at kindred connections

therapy Center I've been a social worker

for over 12 years I decided to do an

entire YouTube channel on my journey

from cubicle working social worker to

successful entrepreneur welcome to my

channel so many of you probably clicked

on this video because you're either

enrolled in a Social Work program or

you're just starting out in your Social

Work career so what we're going to talk

about today are seven things that you

can expect when you're starting into

social work now the reason why you

became a social worker are varied I

became a social worker because I wanted

to make a difference in the lives of

people but one of the things that you'll

find is that wanting to make a

difference in social work is not just

the bulk of the work there are other

things that you have to do within a

profession that you're taught when

you're in school but they manifest

themselves in totally different ways

when you get out into the field so you

might find that you get discouraged when

you're in the field or you might

second-guess your decision as to why you

became a social worker because once you

begin doing the work you find that it's

not just about helping people there are

a lot of other things in the profession

that you have to deal with so we're

going to talk about what some of those

things are today number one is to expect

to work long hours I think regardless of

whatever Social Work career that you go

into as a social worker because we're

meeting the needs of people we have to

meet people where they are and that's

not in this clearly defined box of a

nine-to-five job sometimes we have to

work very early in the morning or

sometimes we have to work around the

clock shifts or sometimes we have to

work well into the evening so I am a

mental health therapist in private

practice so that means I could have

formed my practice to be a regular

nine-to-five practice for people coming

in the morning and then I start my day

at 5:00 but because I want it to meet

the needs of the community

I know that many of my clients can't

meet during the day because they work so

I knew that I had to extend my hours to

7 p.m. so I see clients up until that

time so if you're working in Children's

Services if you're working in an

after-school program if you're working

in a hospital just know that some of

those settings will require you to work

long hours and it won't be a traditional

nine-to-five job

number two is to expect a lot of

paperwork now we all know this when we

go to school we take our class about how

to do set notes and def notes and how to

do documentation and importance of

documentation but when you get into the

field every agency has their own

requirement about what documentation is

required and every agency is not

operating in this century some agencies

are very educated in how they document

very antiquated in their policies and

procedures in the way in which they keep

documentation and all agencies are not

online so you'll find that in some

agencies you're still having to write

out notes by hand still having to copy

off a lot of papers still having to fill

out a lot of forms that aren't online or

not electronic so even though in your

everyday life you're finding ways that

you're using the internet more and

actually using downloadable forms but it

can be discouraging and disappointing

when you go into agencies and they've

not caught up with the times so you have

to be aware of that and you have to be

aware that every agency may use their

own software in their own systems and

sometimes those software and systems do

not speak to one another so you're

finding that you're going into this

software program to complete this form

then you're having to go into another

program to complete another form and

then the documentation is just the

documentation doesn't match up so just

know that there may be a lot of

paperwork that you have to complete you

have to do a really good job of

documenting and then when you're taking

notes around the progress that your

clients are having some agencies will be

online but some some agencies are still

paper and pencil number 3 expect to be a

problem-solver if you're someone who

gets easily overwhelmed by difficulty

and challenges and

problems know that this may not be a

good fit for you you always have to be

thinking one step ahead you always have

to be in solution mode not saying that

you don't deal with the problems when

they come you absolutely do that in the

moment but when dealing with the problem

you have to be aware of it's going to be

your responsibility to help clients come

up with the solution to those problems

so that means you yourself have to know

about community resources you need to

know where people can go to get access

to the services that they need you

should probably be the one making

collateral calls to organizations and

agencies within your community to make

sure the services are still available

for people I think one of the most

frustrating things for clients is for us

to refer them to an agency or an

organization and the service is no

longer available or a service that used

to be free now has a cost associated

with it so if we're making these calls

ahead of time and letting our clients

know what services are available in the

community we are putting ourselves out

there it's that number one resource that

clients can rely on for information

that's accurate and up to date so

another way in which your you are going

to be a problem solver it's helping

clients learn how to solve their

problems themselves so this doesn't mean

that you lay out all of the solutions

and all the ideas for your clients and

then expect them to follow through with

exactly what you want them to do in some

instances and in some agencies if you

work for Children Services for example

if a client is working a case plan then

sometimes exactly what you have to do

but I find the best way to engage and

work with with clients is to engage them

in the process to ask them what is

important to them what outcomes would

they like to see for their lives what

goals do they have and what are some

things that they are thinking that they

would like to see happen as a result of

your interaction together so the more

that you can create case plans and

strategies with clients sometimes the

least amount of resistance that you get

because they see themselves as being

part of the process and it's not just

this plan or this program that's imposed

upon them but it's something that they

had an equal say in creating so you have

to think of ways that you can do that

for your client think about ways that

you can engage them in the process and

think about the questions that you would

need to

ask them in order to engage them in the

process so some questions that I'd like

to ask clients are what do you think

about adding this part into your case

plan or what are your thoughts and ideas

if we chose to go this route or how do

you think this will be beneficial for

you if we decided to do this as opposed

to this or what did you have in mind if

the judge says that you need anger

management what types of things do you

notice that you struggle with or that

are triggers for you that you think

would be most helpful and most

beneficial so you take yourself out of

the role of always having to be the

problem solver and you put some of that

responsibility on the client and then

you guys just work that process together

number four one of the other things that

you have to expect in this profession is

stress this profession comes with a high

level of stress and it's documented the

social workers sometimes carry the

stress of their clients so if you're

working with women into the end domestic

violence situations if you're working

with children who are being removed from

their families if you're working with

highly traumatized populations then your

work is going to come with a high level

of stress and it's good to know that

going into it so that you can have ways

to manage your stress you can have ways

to de-stress and then you can also know

what your triggers are that will create

more stress for you so if you are a

domestic violence survivor yourself and

you're working very closely with

domestic violence survivors you know

that that interaction can potentially be

a trigger for you because you're so

close to that work so it may be hard for

you to disconnect from it you may find

yourself totally engaged in the work

where it's hard for you to pull yourself

away from it and sometimes it's hard to

see where you stop and the work begins

so if that is the environment in which

you're working you have to know that

being that close to the work will create

a lot of stress in your life and I have

created a free audio for social workers

to help manage overwhelming stress so if

you're interested in the audio I'll put

it in the description so you can check

that out and it comes with a free guide

that walks you through five strategies

to reduce overwhelm in your career in

life and if you find it helpful please

share it with someone else and then

reach out to me and let me know if you

found the audio helpful number five

one thing that you have to expect when

you go into this field is dealing with

red tape and politics what that means is

there's always a policy that impacts the

work that we do so before when I gave

you the example of the domestic violence

client that you might be working with

there are government policies and there

are state statutes and regulations that

will impact the work that you're doing

with domestic violence survivors so you

have to understand that when you're

dealing with social issues social issues

come with political influences and those

political influences can sometimes feel

as if they weigh more heavier than the

work that we're doing so if there's a

politician who has a certain agenda or

if there's something in your city that's

going on that's highly driven by

politics you have to know that the

well-being of clients and the well-being

of vulnerable communities may not be at

the top of the priority list and you'll

find that in your work and it can be

very frustrated but just because you

expected doesn't mean that you have to

accept it and that's one of the tenants

within our social work practice is

advocacy so whenever we see that those

policies and politics are weighing more

heavily and showing to be more important

than the needs of our community then

that's when our advocacy comes into play

making sure that politicians and making

sure our government leaders and our

government officials keep those

priorities keep those priorities for and

keep those needs of vulnerable

populations at the forefront of the

decision-making that's happening within

our communities in red tape is just all

of those agency difficulties that makes

it hard for you to provide services to

your clients that's something that

you're going to have to expect but again

just because you expect it does it mean

that you accepted you should always be

questioning agency policy and whether or

not is relevant to the times whether or

not it's meeting the needs of the

community at the state and which it

stands you should always be advocating

for the things that you hear your

clients say and just because your agency

has done things over and over again year

after year after year and the status quo

is maintained

doesn't mean that that's that

quo has to keep going in the way that it

is if it's not meeting the needs of the

community and if it's creating too many

roadblocks and difficulties for clients

to access services so you knowing how to

effectively advocate in the reduction of

red tape and come with solution oriented

responses that can create a way for

clients to get easier access to services

and to eliminate and to eliminate

barriers that's going to be a key way

for you to reduce your stress in this

profession number six one thing to

expect unfortunately is that feeling

that you feel like you're not making the

difference I think all of us within the

Social Work field have experienced that

feeling where we went into the field and

went into the profession for one thing

but the client demographic that we

wanted to serve the change that we

wanted to see happen within clients or

within our community we just didn't see

that impact or the impact took a really

long time to come into play in even

before when I was talking about policy

and politics and red tape red tape can

be those things that make it hard for

you to see change in your clients or

make it hard for you to see that things

are progressing on your caseload so you

have to know that when you're working in

this field that you will experience

those feelings that you're not making a

difference and I also did a video before

about four mistakes that social workers

make when starting in the profession and

one of those mistakes were staying in a

position for too long so if you find

that you stayed in a position for too

long then that can further this feeling

that you you're not making a difference

so you have to be mindful of where you

are and the impact that you're having

and whether or not the work is a good

fit for where you feel that you are in

your life and then you have to define

for yourself what is making a difference

mean to you making a difference means

different things to different people and

we have to be realistic about what

making a difference means making a

difference can mean that a client

changed their way of thinking about what

it meant to parent or a client learned a

new way to interact with their child or

a woman who was in a domestic violence

situation was

more mindful of her work in her value it

doesn't mean that she doesn't get into

another domestic violent situation it

could just mean that she increased her

awareness over what she wants and what

she deserves

in her life and she's not progressed in

the way that maybe makes you feel that

she's ready to make change but change

for her may require a little bit more

time and a little bit more learning so

sometimes we're never around to see the

fruit of the seeds that we plant within

our clients because we don't see those

immediate changes within their lives but

just because we don't see it manifest in

front of us doesn't mean that the client

isn't going to make change so having a

realistic expectation about what change

means to you is important because in

your mind you may think you may be

thinking that you want clients to have

leaps and bounds of change but for some

clients change can be very small and

incremental so making sure that you're

not putting your expectation of change

onto the client is important we have to

meet people where they are we have to

know that people are coming from

sometimes very traumatic situations and

they've learned these adaptive behaviors

within their life that can take a very

long time to disconnect and detach from

them and it's not our job to judge their

journey is not our job to judge how far

along they're coming on that journey but

it's making sure that we're giving them

the skills the knowledge and the

empowerment to know that they can move

their lives along in the direction that

they want it to go expect to have that

one client that surprises you that one

who you never thought in a million years

that they would turn it around and that

they would get themselves together or

the client that just seemed like they

really weren't listening to what you had

to say that what you said seemed like it

went through one ear and out the other

that they really didn't resonate with

what you were saying that they really

weren't listening to what you were

saying but then you see them years down

the line and their lives are improving

things are going well or you talk to

them months down the line and they've

implemented some things that you have

said to them or that you suggested so

that's sometimes the reward of the work

that like I said before we're not always

able to see what

the fruits of our labor manifest for our

clients but know that those rewards do

come and those are sometimes the most

fulfilling moments of being in the

Social Work profession so I hope these

seven things to expect were helpful for

you please share this with another

social worker who you think will benefit

from this information if you've not

already please subscribe to my channel

we'll be releasing more videos about

Social Work careers and professions as

well as mental health in the

entrepreneur side of clinical social

work thank you all so much for watching

and as always be well