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Life goals

Hi, 

I'm just struggling to weigh up if I should complete my Bachelor of Social Work or continue onto another degree, everyone in my life is telling me that I will burn out and that I'm not resilient enough to be a Social worker, although I wanted to do this degree, I've been thinking about it more and more and I'm not sure anymore. I really love working with people, especially because I myself struggle with certain circumstances, however I know that roles in social work are not highly paid, burn out rate is high and I don't know if it is a good career move. I sound a bit privileged in saying that it doesnt pay that well, however I don't come from an affluent background and need to help my family financially. I also really want a career I can be secure in, I keep going back and fourth and it has really given me bad anxiety, especially on census dates or last day to enrol, it just seems I'm stuck in a cycle and can't get out. Any advice is welcomed, especially as this is anonymous. (another point is I have been struggling for 4 years now and feel I need to move on as its effecting my whole life)  

Re: Life goals

hey @Smooshi, I totally understand why you might feel a bit concerned or anxious about social work as a profession. I completed a similar degree (psych) and a lot of my mates had similar concerns part of the way through/at the end of my degree. What I would recommend is taking a look at the different pathways that are available to Social Work graduates. Even though it might feel like its a very specific field, there's actually a whole bunch of jobs you can do like policy, or counselling. Do you know what sort of area you'd want to go into as a profession if not social work?

Re: Life goals

Thanks for your advice, I have definetly looked into the different pathways I could do with social work and there are plenty! But a lot look like they are part time or are dependant on funding, which really adds to my worri s is being secure. I have been looking into more business careers like hr but feel it’s a waste because I’m half way through my degree and have paid lots. Also I have this weird pressure to finish a qualification sooner rather than later so it’s all a bit of a mess and a cycle of doubts, I don’t like comparing myself to my peers but feel like I do anyways and this really gets the better of me as I feel I should know by now what career I should want to pursue, I just find that my mind goes foggy or that I avoid any topic relating to uni or career bcos I’ve just grown scared of it 

Re: Life goals

Heya @Smooshi 

 

Thought I would jump on and share some of my experiences. I am older than you now but when I was studying my undergrad in social science I was having the same feelings. And people were also saying lots of things to me about whether psychology or social work was the best place for me as I had been though a bit of trauma. Anyway My step mum was super helpful and said you started the degree because you were interested and although you may not want to work in it straight away you will have that qualification and its something that you can use in many sectors. She was right so I finished the degree but then didn't actually use it until about 3 years later and I have been able to work in so many different areas such as corporate, government and not-for profit. I have done frontline face to face work and worked behind the scenes and now I manage the wonderful community team in an online space. There are heaps of transferable skills that are really valued. Anyway I reckon that you do what makes you happy and just remember your career is long and it can take many turns, which is actually a good thing Smiley Happy

 

Re: Life goals

Hey @Smooshi I can empathise with what you have posted here. I think something that could help is to look what you want to despite what everyone thinks and think of yourself what you and if social work is the job you want then look what you can do to make it a more realistic career pathway or advantage you can work towards that an employer may like.

Re: Life goals

Hi @Smooshi, I think maybe you can complete your bachelor of social work if you really really like it, and then you can find a job and work for a while and see whether this is the job that you want. For the resilience, I personally believe that people can develop a good resilience once they experience more and find a good way to cope with the stress and difficulties (no one born with resilience and these skills). If you don't like it, you can think about going back uni and change your major. Another suggestion is that finding some volunteering works or part-time jobs that are relevant with social work, and see whether you like them .

Re: Life goals

Hi, thanks all for the advice. I think my main fear is whether or born id find a good job that would pay me well. I honestly think there is a reason I chose social work, but am too concerned about people telling me I’d never have a permanent job or that like I will always be broke. I want a good life for myself and my future family.

Re: Life goals

@Smooshi One does not work in a helping profession e.g. social worker for the pay, but rather for a purpose

 

Have you looked into what job prospects are like for social workers? 

 

I noticed you mentioned that there is a reason you chose social work, what might be the reason(s) for this?

 

 

Re: Life goals

Hey @Smooshi, a lot of people have those fears especially while studying or in the early stages of their career. It can be hard to know how things are going to pan out. How would you feel about contacting some local social workers to talk about their experience? It sounds daunting and while it is an uncomfortable situation, they might have some tips and valuable inside knowledge to impart Smiley Happy

Re: Life goals

Hey @Smooshi !

I just wanted to jump in on this thread and introduce myself Smiley Happy I am a social worker and I finished my social work degree at the end of 2019. I think you've raised a lot of really valid points and concerns and I hope its ok if i share some of my thoughts with you.

One of the things that most excited me about studying social work was how broad a field it is. Before I started my degree I would look at all sorts of different job adds for jobs I thought i might find fulfilling - and lots of them were social work related. Have you had a look into some of the jobs you might like to do? 

I also know a lot of social workers who have gone into higher level positions like managers, team leaders, private practitioners, government policy work, and supervisors. All these positions are well paid, and a lot of entry level social work positions have pretty good pay rates too. I also know that it's very unlikely I will ever be paid as much as a brain surgeon lol but I'm ok with that.

 

Something else that you mentioned about resilience really resonated with me. There are definitely social work roles that can be full on - but not all of them deal with trauma everyday.  There are lots of amazing social work roles in advocacy, policy, and as educators that are options too and are really important. Also what certain people find intense, others might not. I know for example that I personally wouldn't want to work as a social worker in an intensive care unit, but I also know some social workers who don't want to work in mental health - which is my passion. We're all different and need to find jobs that work for us. I was able to talk to some uni staff and my placement supervisors about my thoughts around my future and social work career, have you got any supervisors or uni tutors you could chat to about your thoughts?