Social work is an employment field which is popular to discuss in the modern world because social workers are as different as a society. Social workers are involved in absolutely all spheres of the society performing various responsibilities. Therefore, it is interesting to listen to the opinion of a certain social worker who may describe the situation from their own experience.
There are various roles of social workers as a mediator, integrator, manager, educator, and others. Mostly, they work in state organizations and structures; however, it was to interview a person who is close to the role of enabler, for example, someone who helps a client to overcome the unpleasant situation or to cope with some problem. Therefore, the enabler enables a person to live (even if it sounds like a tautology).
The woman who has kindly agreed to give an interview is a direct-service social worker. It means that she works directly with those who need help at home, not in the hospital or any other institution. Predominantly, her clients are elderly people, who either cannot help themselves in daily routine (cooking, for example) or can help themselves at home, but are not able to go outside and complete everyday actions (pay for something, buy food, etc). Depending on their wishes/requirements, a social worker visits them a few times per week. In the list of her primary work responsibilities is assistance with cooking and cleaning, laundry, buying food and necessary things in supermarkets, bringing payments to various state institutions, looking for medicine in the pharmacy, helping people to get help from the government agencies, and following up with clients. Consequently, such type of work is not easy, and there are always some challenges.
First of all, the interviewed woman said that some of the clients expect more than the social worker can do. It means that some people want the social worker to stay longer than she can, do some extra cleaning, etc. Therefore, it can be hard to refuse, knowing that the relatives do not care too much about the life of the elderly. However, she admits that some clients are extremely thankful that she forgets about all the unpleasant or challenging moments. They often offer her a cup of tea or coffee, because they consider her not only as a social worker but as a friend. “Happiness and satisfaction of the client is the best reward which a person who works with people can receive”, says the woman.
When I asked her about the preparation for this work, she answered that it depends on a company. Without a doubt, the one who wants to become a social worker needs to graduate a college. For the majority of direct-service jobs, the person must have a Bachelor’s Degree in the field of social work. However, sometimes employers hire people with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology or Psychology, for example. In addition to this, it is also encouraging if a person has an experience of volunteering with the elderly, children or other social groups.
Social work is both self-developing and useful for society. Personally, I am not sure if I am a suitable person for such a position because I do not know enough about the limits of my skills. The social worker should be patient, compassionate, careful, a good listener, and the one who is able to find the contact with different people easily. Being a social worker means to develop these qualities or just go away. I think that I should try some volunteering both on macro and micro levels first in order to get some practice and to realize whether I will enjoy this type of work.