5 Questions to Consider Before Beginning a Social Service Career

social service career

This post may contain affiliate links which means we may get a commission if you purchase something through our links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

The job market is still stagnant, but a few areas have seen some growth. Workers in these fields have the benefits of enhanced job security, mobility, and predictable raises. Social work is one such field, which also has the benefit of offering those who make it their career the immense personal satisfaction gained by helping others. Read on to discover if you would make a good social worker.

There are several important questions to ask yourself before applying to a social work program. Rather than only relying on your self-assessment, it is a good idea to speak with a career counselor. They can provide more objective assessments, which help students avoid bad career choices. The following questions provide a good introduction into the personality traits of successful social workers.

Are You Emotionally Stable and Physically Healthy?

Whether you work with children at a delinquency center or in a hospice setting, you need to have an understanding of your emotional health, problem triggers, and stress management. Social workers encounter troubling situations frequently, and a successful worker will be able to process complex emotions instead of bottling them up or letting them spill onto clients.

Even emotionally stable and dedicated workers buckle under stress. You will hear heart-wrenching stories and be the recipient of confidential information that you will pray is not true. You will know it is true, though. All this stress takes a toll on the body, and your success depends on the adoption of healthy habits.

Do You Often Make Assumptions About Others?

Assumptions are a serious drawback in social work. The classic example is a worker becoming irate when a BMW owner applies for nutrition assistance. You often have no way of knowing a person’s story unless they share, and there are many reasons for not sharing it. A successful worker approaches any given situation with a sense of curiosity.

Are you a Peace Maker?

The professionals have many subtle methods for diverting attention from conflict, calming irrational anger, and helping people reach a place where rational thought about their problems becomes possible. A social worker must be able to attentively listen and evince sincerity. Active listening is vital in some areas where workers are called upon to make life-affecting recommendations.

Can You Compartmentalize?

Are you a person who can put off grieving a break-up in order to study for a big test? Only a small portion of society is composed of child molesters, abused children, rape survivors, and neglectful parents. The average person encounters victims and offenders only rarely, while social workers in some areas will meet them daily. You must be able to compartmentalize in order to prevent such meetings and occurrences from spilling over into your personal life.

Are You Dedicated to Helping People?

Social service careers are not glamorous, and the starting salary is rather dismal. That won’t matter the first time you make a difference in someone’s life. However, you may face ten verbal threats and other demoralizing events before getting to the one person really needing your help.

Social service careers are available in a variety of areas and are unlike any other type of work. If you have the traits discussed above, you will never face a lack of those who need your help. There are several schools that offer degrees in social work, including University of New England and Boston University.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *