10 July 2013

Why I Suck at Being a Social Worker

Full disclosure: not a social worker yet. I am currently starting my second year in my Masters of Social Work program and have about two more years and thousands of dollars of debt until I can actually call myself a certified social worker. But whatever, minor detail. 

Today we had our last classes for our mini Summer semester and we had our term paper due which was 12 to 15 pages long and was kind of a big deal but it wasn't awful. 

I went to a pretty strenuous school for my undergrad and I learned to knock out papers and to put up and shut up. My classes were usually very large and my professors were ambassadors, government officials and DC hot-shots. They did not care if you had a personal emergency or were in the hospital. Paper is due. 

In social work school, it is so different. 

Everything is about emotions. We start off each class arranging our chairs into circles and then spend another thirty minutes talking about how stressed everyone was about finishing the paper and whatnot and so forth. 

It's usually at this time that I pull out my laptop and do my mandatory Google search of puppies kissing. 

Today I almost lost it because we spent thirty minutes discussing why our professor doesn't use red ink to mark our papers and how that contributed to our self esteem. 

Sayyyy whaaaat?

I am already noticing how snarky this post is and I almost want to edit it so I don't sound like such a bitch... But sometimes I have bitchy thoughts. Usually when I am hungry. 

As a future social worker, spending 15 minutes arranging chairs in circles, discussing red versus green pens and practicing breathing exercises before taking group tests (yes- group tests) is pretty much the job description. 

Luckily I have enough experience working with various organizations and agencies to learn that not all social workers are like this. Yes, a lot are and a lot shop exclusively at Chico's and wear lots of bangles and have like 30 bumper stickers on their car but there are some that don't and I am hoping to somehow find myself fitting in that category. 

So what is the point of this rambling bitchy noise? 

There is none. 



  1. Well...I actually get the whole harsh red pen thing...but maybe red is just misunderstood? I mean if papers always got graded in green the green would be harsh. Is it the color or is it the message? Perhaps it hurts everyones self esteem knowing their paper will be picked apart word for word then written over in red ink? I'll admit I might be more upset if someone wrote good job in red then "this is terrible you should drop out...dumbass." in green. Why is that? Has red been given a negative and possibly incorrect connotation? Can the damage be reversed? Will blogger comment section stop me before I go any further? Can anyone?
    How was that for a pointless point? :)
    But I do understand...my inner bitch comes out when I'm hungry...I'm even amazed at the things I say under the influence of hunger.

  2. hahaha. I am a social worker and this does sound like grad school...though throw in a lot more lectures! I loved MSW school even though it was stressful, but being a social worker wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be. But girlfran, I feel yuh.

  3. i would last a whole five seconds. ugh.

  4. I work in an office and reading this all I can think is...man when these people hit the real world....there is going to be some reality that hits them in the face like a red pen. Someone needs to put their big girl and boy panties on and move out of a circle because life isn't all hugs and kisses and I am pretty sure a red pen is going to be the least of the problems the people a social worker sees. Maybe I am wrong but I thought it was about crack babies. My head hurts. How is this helping you deal with mothers with baby daddies? Nevermind.

    1. Anonymous3:13 AM


      How is it helping us deal with the real world? Easy, it isn't.

      For the reasons expressed above, plus a change of heart after meeting the very people I was "helping" in my internships, I got the hell out of social work. Fortunately, I was still young enough at the time to be employable, and not a burnt out 35-year-old. I went into the business world, and I now work at a tech company.

      By the way, as "nice and cuddly" as social workers like to act, deep down they are usually disgusting human beings who care more about promoting their political ideology than actually solving societal problems. They also have no concept of how money or funding works, personal responsibility, or American freedom.

      The business world is actually far more tolerant and open-minded than any MSW I've ever encountered. And yes, this is coming from an LMSW.

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