Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Social Work

I have a theory about social workers.  98% of the people who get a degree in social work are crazy in one way or another.  And by crazy I mean the whole gambit; quirky and excentric to bairly hanging on.  And by crazy I mean the type of crazy that correlates with dedication, hard work and creative problem solving.  

How do I know? Well to start off, social workers are generally required to get a master degree and then train for two years for a license.  And, when it is all said and done, we still make less money than nurses or teachers or the unionized physical labor force.  Based on financial considerations, it is an rational choice.

(I'll conceed that social work does make some sense if you have an issue with touching someone's festering body parts.  First rule of social work?  Don’t touch nobody’s nothing’!)

In addition, a large part of the social work curriculum is doing role playing, and who doesn’t have anything more enjoyable to do than pretend to be therapist for two hours while everyone critiques you? So even though they are role plays, you can see the underlying crazy peeking out.

Also, it appears that half of new social worker students start the program with a big-eyed, warm and fuzzy type of feeling, ready to save the homeless, the mentally ill and all the cats stuck in trees.  The other half  comes in already over the top pissed off, ready to pulverize any old, rich, white dude who dare stand in the way.

Inevitably, if they stay in the field, most social workers live through years of client resistance, government bureaucracy and general ineffectiveness within the system. They become burned out, middle-aged women who do not suffer fools gladly. So even if you don’t start out crazy you end up crazy or crazier than when you started.

My final argument?  How about twenty plus years of working with social workers? Most of the social workers I've asked are fairly quick to say choosing a poorly paid, overwhelming, make it up as you go career was driven by hopes they could drop some of their own emotional baggage.

Anyway, my theory is, if you are going to hire a social worker just know  you are most likely getting some kind of crazy. The goal is to decide what type of crazy you are willing to put up with.  

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