Career Talk: How to Emotionally Prepare for the Life of a Social Worker

Social work is one of the most admirable career paths you can choose when you’re in college. There might be some things that you are not told during your studies in one of the online MSW degrees. The job itself can be emotionally taxing at times. Social workers deal with substance abuse, health problems, and family conflicts. In order to be an accomplished social worker, you need to be willing and able to deal with all sorts of stressful situations. Here are four tips to emotionally prepare for the life of a social worker.

1. Emotional Intelligence

To be a social worker, you need to have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence means having sympathy and empathy towards the people you're working with, but also understanding how to channel emotions in such a way that can benefit you and your clients, rather than being carried away. Emotional intelligence means knowing how to deliver bad news and work with clients through problems.

2. Commitment

Unlike other jobs that let you forget about them after you punch out at 5 o'clock, social work is a job that follows you home. Even if you don't have any work to do after hours, you are likely to be thinking about your day even as you prepare to go to sleep. You might also have clients getting in contact with you when you're off the clock. To be a social worker, you need to be willing to stay on task, even on your "days off."

3. Flexibility

As a social worker, you'll find that not all cases are made the same. Some might be relatively easy to deal with, but others might be incredibly stressful. You can't apply the same solution for every case. You have to take them all as they come. If you find that a method isn't working, you should adjust accordingly. You are bound to make mistakes. Rather than blame yourself and get frustrated, you need to focus on trying as many methods as possible.

4. Patience

If you're looking into social work, it's because you care about others and want to help the world. That's admirable, but you should keep in mind how hard it can be. There will be incredibly stressful days along with the incredibly rewarding ones. Being a social worker means practicing patience and understanding that success comes through consistency and effort.

We hope this has given you a good idea on how to emotionally prepare for the life of a social worker. It is an admirable career field that can benefit society. By following these tips, you can become a great social worker.

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