What does a social worker do?
Every day people deal with terrible situations, from drug addiction to divorce to unemployment. Think about that for a moment. If, instead of feeling depressed, you’re thinking, “Yes, but all of these people can improve their lives, given the right resources,” then a career as a social worker might be the one for you.
A social worker gets paid to help people. But this job isn’t going to fulfill some dreamy notion you might have about changing the world; this is about being realistic. Your basic role as a social worker is to connect people with the tools that will help them make progress in their lives. So you have to know a lot about various government and nonprofit programs, who’s eligible for which ones, and what’s going on in your clients’ communities in general.
You might work for a government agency, hospital, school, nursing home, or private company. You might deal with family disputes, alcoholism, behavioral issues in children, re-entering the workforce after a prison sentence, or a range of other situations. Whatever your specialty, you will act as a listener, counselor, coach, researcher, and project manager for your clients.
Working with such intense issues every day can be emotionally draining, so you need to take good care of yourself. Your emotional maturity helps you do your part to guide people through this messy world.