Some careers only help you grow in a way that makes the company flourish. Others, however, provide you with the means to become a kinder, brighter, and well-rounded individual. Social work falls under the latter.
Without even realizing it, those who spend their years supporting clients during a social work career slowly but surely become better versions of themselves. Curious about how this happens?
Here is how a career in social work makes you a better person:
You Become Better Educated
You don’t just fall into the field of social work – you must first get educated, both through academic courses and work experience. Not only does this provide you with the necessary skills to be an excellent social worker, but it also ensures you are knowledgeable in general about societal issues and human psychology. If you are interested in getting educated and your social work licensure, look at a Master’s of Social Work.
You Learn About Different Cultures and Lifestyles
Social work puts you in front of many different types of cultures and lifestyles. As well as opening your mind, you will also develop deep knowledge about these different ways of living, along with an understanding that not many people can claim to have. Your clients will have a mixture of races, sexual preferences, religions, and economic backgrounds, and you will learn more about each one every single day.
You Develop a Good Sense of Humor
It is difficult to make it as a social worker without a great sense of humor. While you might be serious all the time in the beginning, over time, you will learn that making light jokes and seeing the brighter side is often mores sensible, and in turn, you’ll develop a sense of humor that is unmatched.
You Learn How to Deal with Difficult People
Knowing how to deal with difficult people is an excellent life skill to have. It is, of course, handy for your social work career, as there will be many times you have to calm down angry clients, but it is helpful for your home life, too. The next time you come across a disgruntled shopper, an annoyed loved one, or a stranger who gets in your face, you will know how to deal with the situation without exacerbating emotions.
You Become an Active Listener
Communication skills are an integral part of being a well-rounded person, but it’s not just about speaking with confidence – it is also about knowing when to listen. As a social worker, you will get plenty of practice at this, which will turn you into someone who makes people feel truly listened to. It will come across in your silences between sentences as well as your body language, and others will truly appreciate that part of you.
After all, everybody wants to be heard!
You Grow Stronger Through the Challenges
It’s true – you grow stronger through difficulties, and social work will certainly provide you with enough challenges to turn you into an incredibly mentally strong person. While dealing with upsetting tragedies and situations will never be easy, you will learn how to deal with them in a strong and focused manner.
You Understand Societal Issues
Many people don’t quite understand issues like poverty, homelessness, child abuse, and racial discrimination, which means they can turn a blind eye to it. For social workers, though, they get to see the devastating impact of these issues. While it is hard to witness, it is also always better to be aware of the issues so you can be a beacon of hope and change.
You Take Better Care of Yourself
To thrive as a social worker, you have to take good care of yourself. Otherwise, you might end up overworked and stressed, which could, in turn, lead to burnout. Through experience and tips from your fellow social workers, then, you will learn what it takes to look after yourself, doing things such as ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, and eating meals that provide enough energy for the day.
You Understand the Importance of Organization
Good organization skills are a must for anyone. Luckily, due to the nature of social work, you will learn how to keep an organized schedule and a general work area, and those skills will seep over into your home life. As well as being able to stick to a strict itinerary at work, you will also be able to structure your free time to make the most out of it.
You Become Extremely Patient
Some people are naturally patient, whereas others find it difficult to cope with any situation that has them waiting, whether that is for a person to calm down or for a queue to speed up. As a social worker, you will consistently handle situations that require patience.
Even if you start the journey with only a mediocre amount, you will come out the other end with patience that lasts even the longest, most excruciating moments. There are many areas this will benefit your life away from work, such as being able to handle children better and not moaning when your order at a restaurant takes a little longer than usual.
You Learn to Never Judge a Book By its Cover
People are told from school age that they should never judge a book by its cover, but how many carry that with them after growing up? The unfortunate truth is not many. Social workers, though, receive that lesson once more when they enter their careers. Time and time again, you will deal with people who may look a certain way on the outside but demonstrate a completely different type of person underneath. Through that, you will learn that making judgments based on appearances is wrong.
Social work is a hard job at times, but the rewards far outweigh the hardships. At the very least, you can be sure that your time as a social worker turns you into an empathetic, intelligent, open-minded, and patient individual.
*Photos by George Milton