A social worker job is always one that is going to push you to your limits. If you are considering this sort of role, don’t expect there to be an easy day. Each one will bring its own unique challenges to overcome, and you will need to rely on a wide variety of skills. Although being one of the more challenging careers out there, it can also be one of the most rewarding. In this article, we will look at what is needed to be a successful social worker, and some techniques that will be needed if you are going to thrive in this sector.
Resilience in the world of social work is an absolute must. It is important to remember that resilience is something that will naturally develop and evolve as you face a variety of difficulties within the social work sector. Over time this will be learned and absorbed, especially as similarities from one case to the next start appearing. This means you shouldn’t think you’re not cut out for social work if you have trouble with maintaining this resilience in the early stages of your career.
At this early stage of your career, it is worth taking the time to develop this emotional resilience. This can take a large amount of effort, and can feel like a waste of time, especially when you have a heavy caseload. However, this needs to be seen as an investment into your future wellbeing. A way in which you are able to protect your mental health, develop coping mechanisms, managing stress, etc. These are all vital tools if your career is going to be sustainable, and a way in which to ensure you won’t get burnt out in this career too quickly.
Supervision is a large part of the professional structure of social work. This doesn’t just mean in an administrative or managerial way, but also in terms of development and personal reflection. Experience of your colleagues in social work is something you must tap into to improve your own social work techniques. Often, this can be in ways to help develop some of the aforementioned techniques to help build up resilience. It can also be more specific case-related problems, as previous cases of colleagues may give a new insight to a case. Likewise, when you’re a more experienced social worker, make sure you return this favour of using your experience to help others less experienced.