Career transition from social work field

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Frustrated in Lincolnton, North Carolina

33 months ago

I am currently a MSW student and I am already feeling anxious about finishing. I had to take a semester off just to breathe. While on break ( currently) I begin to perform job searches just to see if my BSW would get me anywhere. NOTHING. Had two interviews, guess they gave the job to someone else. I barley have any experience since I have been in school most of my young adulthood. I really hate the fact that I started graduate school and i am seriously considereing not finishing. I am considering going into the medical field. I was thinking about teaching, but since the recent layoffs around the country I am scared to try it. I may just go get a manufacturing job that develops products in high demand. I just wish I could feel better about the social work field, but I dont. I am in such a tight fight I have two months to decide what to do. I had to take my grace period early because school had me so stressed out. Like I said earlier I have been researching and have found so few job opportunities. The social work field has me worried. What if I finish and find NO job. I am trying to be positive but the research is to real.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

Hi Frustrated in Lincolnton, I feel your situation wholeheartedly! There are many things for you to figure out about the MSW degree due the change in this economy! However, I believe you should complete your program since your almost finished. Having that degree will help you when you happen to find a position in anything? Continue to develop your skills and get your licensure, which is what I'm working on now! I also want to enter into the medical field, particularly nursing because there are many opinions to consider. In today's economic climate many professionals have informed me to think "globally" and to have interests in areas that will allow me to be in demand! Your MSW will help you in social services and administration (if there are any open and available positions left in your area). From my experience, many folks hold on those positions due to the compensation and this economy. However, having a "science" related degree in a clinically orientated field will open more doors for you. The MSW will show employers too that you are competent in working with others, which is key to many organizations. These are my two cents, and are just my opinion based my experience. When I graduated from my MSW program, I was unemployed for almost 8 months. Then I found a position working in community MH and the pay was an insult to me and my professional background! Now, I'm working for a university and applying to their Exec. MPH program. The university will pay for it, plus the MPH will allow me to gain more knowledge about administration and policy from a public health scope! This background will help me as I pursue nursing because I will gain insight into the medical community from a public health perspective! Good luck with your educational and career pursues. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!

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Frustrated in Lincolnton, North Carolina

33 months ago

Thanks for your response pfishermsw. I wish you well in your endeavors. Ihad thought abou nursing, but from time to time I suffer from anxiety. Partly the reason I had to take time off from grad school. I have alot to think about. Plus i really need to feel good about what I choose next because my body cannot take anymore schooling. Plus, I owe quit a bit of money in college loans. I just wish I could find ajob now so that I could take time off from school. I may have to take a unemployment deferrment just to give me more time to think about my next steps. I am not trying to say SW is awful it is just so apparent that even with a MSW you have to have previous exp. Which I dont have. I am not young anymore. If I am not going to be given a chance than I want to go ahead into a field that REALLY needs people and not waste anymore time in school. I dont mean to sound citical. I am just mad at myself.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

Hi Frustrated in Lincolnton, I definitely understand your frustration...I've been there! There were times that I cursed at myself or getting my MSW and no consider other options...as they say you "live and learn". My advice is to take some time off and consider your options and what you are passionate about! Social Work is a great field to help others. However, one has to be realistic and responsible! I had to find that out the hard way! I owe over $70,000 in school loans due to my graduate and undergraduate degrees! However, I will not allow that to stop me! I learned that you have to be creative in this job market...look into networking with folks who's fields interest you! Also, don't settle for less than what you are worth! Also, don't be ashamed to use deferment options with your student loans, they are always going to be there. Look for ways have an employer forgive your loans or look into public programs that will forgive your loans through service. There are always options. Lastly, your never too old to embark on anything new...if you're unhappy about something...my philosophy is "change it". Do what makes you happy...from one social worker to another...you deserve it!

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Frustrated in Lincolnton, North Carolina

33 months ago

pfishermsw Thanks so much for your encourgement. It really makes a difference to know that someone else has been there. How does an employer forgive your loans? I have heard of programs that forgive loans Nursing is one occupation that the program focuses on. I will have to look it up. I cant remember the name of it at this momemt. I hope to continue talking with you as I embark on my journey.

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Frustrated in Lincolnton, North Carolina

33 months ago

pfishermsw, Thanks for the encouragement. I want you to know I appreciate all your kind words and useful information. I can see why you went into SW. I hope we can continue talkng as I embark on my journey.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

Frustrated in Lincolnton, North Carolina said: pfishermsw, Thanks for the encouragement. I want you to know I appreciate all your kind words and useful information. I can see why you went into SW. I hope we can continue talkng as I embark on my journey.

Sure, I enjoy encouraging others just like those who have encouraged me! My email is pfishermsw@gmail.com!

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

tiffva in Rocky Mount, Virginia said: It is nice to see so many people who are in the same boat as I am! I am burned out with Social Work and get so mad every time I make a student loan payment because I know many people with no more than a high school education making more than I am. When I see commercials on tv that tell people how much more someone with a college degree will make compaired to someone with a high school degree I say "Bull Crap". Like many of you,I am also having a hard time finding another job. I don't think many employers understand the skills and experience that a Social Worker has: customer service (we have dealt with ALL kinds of people), administrative assistant (I don't know about the rest of you, but I am my own secretary), etc... I just try to point out the skills I have related to a job on my cover letter-I am more than JUST a Social Worker. I also started my career with grant funded jobs so on my resume I put that it was a grant funded position to help explain the "job hopping", but I guess private sector employers do not understand what "grant funded" means and will still ask me why I left that job.

I definitely agree with you on this! On the various interviews I have been on, I have tried to convey or a least convince that I have more to offer then my "Social Work" skills! Many employers have looked at my MSW and only believe that I am capable of only case management and/or psychotherapy! I have experience beyond that, which is motivation for me to return to school (i.e. research and teaching prior to obtaining my MSW). I enjoy psychotherapy, but I don't want to do it all of the time. In addition, I don't want to continue doing social work related tasks like case management because it can become tedious and burdensome...I lot of responsibility! However, good luck with your goals as well!

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Frustrated in Lincolnton, North Carolina

33 months ago

tiffva, I agree. It does seem like lots of people do not understand a social workers skills. I have had people ask " so are you going to work at DSS". We are told in school that a social workers education will go far. What? I too know people who make more money than someone with a four year degee. Heck, the Chiquita banana plant near where I live starts their assembly line workers out with 35,000. I am currently pursuing my Master's, but have taken a break to seriously think about my next steps. Jobs are so dry down here in NC. There are more customer service jobs and healthcare than aything else. I can't even get one of those and I am college educated.

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samdabro in New York, New York

33 months ago

I am in the exact same boat. I have been in the social work field for the past 7 years including grad school and ever since my first job out of school, I have been trying to leave the field. I have had mostly horrible experiences since working in this field and have been completely dissatisfied. I too wish I had done more research and had not followed through on my idealist views of my youth.

I'm broke, I live in a tiny apartment, and while most of my friends are married and have families, I'm trying to repay $100K student loans, which at the financial rate I'm going, I'll never be able to pay off in this lifetime.

But like they say, when you know better, you do better and with each year, I gain more knowledge, skills and confidence that I can eventually make this career transition.
If anyone has any tips, it would be greatly appreciated. I wish everyone with the same goals, the best of luck

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samdabro in New York, New York

33 months ago

Has anyone had any luck transitioning in Human Resources? This is an area I'm really interested in that uses all our skills!

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tiffva in Rocky Mount, Virginia

33 months ago

samdabro, I have applied for several HR jobs but have not had any luck. They want experience and also education. I have thought of looking into taking some classes related to HR. I do not mind taking some classes but at this time I am not interested, or can afford, to even get a one year certificate. Maybe things are different in New York, but that is what I have experienced when looking at HR job postings.

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samdabro in New York, New York

33 months ago

Grrrrrrr.....

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suebee in Meriden, Connecticut

33 months ago

Wow, I feel so much less alone. But also wonder how we all end up so burnt out which says to me there is a serious problem with the field. I am 4 years post MSW, all in NYC child welfare. I assumed child welfare was the problem, but after reading this I sew that switching to case management or medical social work is not going to change anything for me.
So what other careers do out skills transition to? We are all hard workers, dedicated, good people skills, problem solvers: so who will take a risk to train us in their field without more education that we can't afford? Anyone have any success switching over to anything else? I was considering going back to brewing corporate coffee, but am sadly probably too over qualified to return to my pre-MSW job...

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Adnil90 in London, United Kingdom

32 months ago

I am a social worker in the uk. I have been a qualified social worker in the uk for approx 17 years. I had the same feelings as you guys after the the first 7 years. I was trying to find a way out of social work, like yourselves. Catalyst was my father passing, unsympathetic managers. As a consequence I requested a two year sabbatical, I too had a mortgatge and loans to pay. This sabbatical led me into agency working, which availed me to other opportunities within the social work field which I wold not have obtained if I had stayed in my previous role.
This eventually led to me becoming a manager, which I lost when made redundant earlier this year. I was blessed by GOd for losing that role as I had become more stressed, over the years. I did love the challenge of that role though. I am currently in a role one step down from a manager and a I really enjoy it. Yeah it's stressful at times, name a job in this current economic climate that is not. I am glad that I am in employment, I am glad that I can effect change, I am glad that I have an income. Sometimes in evaluating your position do not always view it as all or nothing, can you become mentors, or teachers for new trainees, can you be guest lecturers? In essence I am trying to advise that it old be a lot worse. You are the captain of your canoe, steer yourself in any direction you want. All the best

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Rose in Ireland

32 months ago

I too have been in social work for 15 years and left a permanent permanent job one and a half years ago and have worked as a locum in a different area for the past 10 months. A good experience and locum work didn't feel like such 'a trap' while Iam thiking about the next move...looking into doing a masters in career guidance which I believe is very transferrable and gives the opportunity to be self- employed + who knows,just take the leap of faith and just do what you love - even if voluntary and I just believe it works out. People think I am crazy and I get the negative projections of doom , gloom and unemployment all of the time - mostly from those who want desperately to leave themselves but are scared of the unknown... eg.regular phone calls from former colleagues wondering if I am still finding work! I haven't felt so free in years - despite the economy!

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nikki in Bronx, New York

32 months ago

Wow this is amazing, Im 37 years old sitting here in my dining area thinking how much I hate to return back to work Thursday. Im acutally starting to feel depressed. I work in a nursing home, Ive been working in a nursing home for about four years now. Prior to the nursing home, Ive worked in shelters, domestic violence shelters etc... This work it tough not to mention some of it is quite unattractive. The pay is low, but the work is intense. I do too want to do something completely different. I know I have great skills in leading, counseling, educating, and managing, but where do I take these skills to. Im tired of listening to people and their problems, and if you dont want to be around grieving, stay out of the nursing home. I wish I was really good at numbers and savvy in the finance field. I would love to educate clients how to save, manage, and spend their money wisely. If I had to continue counseling, it will be on that level. Help Help Help I want out of social work.

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FaithAlways84 in Detroit, Michigan

32 months ago

Wow! I agree with all your comments everyone. I'm 28 and I've been working in this field for almost 6 years and I am ready to explode. I was unemployed for nearly a year. I thought it was originally child welfare that made me go insane but its not. Its the whole social work thing. It's all human services type work for me. Dealing with the burn out, the meds, anxiety, being angry all the time etc. I can't do it anymore. I sit in case reviews, supervision whatever and daydream about doing something else. I can't do it anymore. I am tired of helping people. I'm tired of driving around, wasting gas, my car is running like crap right now and I can't even afford to fix it right now. The list goes on. I had to move back in with my mom. It's embaressing. Although its gotten much better, I wake up every morning with anxiety and have a hard time gettting out of bed. It was much worse when I was in child welfare. I have to change careers and its so hard! I feel like social work keeps you in a box. Yes you can move around, but to totally get out of it seems really hard. How do you transfer the skills you already have to a new job? I'm going to see a career counselor and gets some help because I don't know what else to do. I feel like I'm trying to get out of the drug dealing game or something. Very frustrated.

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nikki in Bronx, New York

32 months ago

Faith sound like me, omg the daydreaming part nailed it. I think your right career counseling is the way to go.

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gnote in Long Beach, California

32 months ago

Faith,
I am decades older than you and have been in and out of social work. Out to go to school and temporarily pursue something else. You are only 28, and you really have a lot of time, not only to change careers, but also decades to sink into whatever drives your crazy about social work driving you into greater anxiety, depression, or whatever. We always have a choice in life. Good luck with your career counselor!

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pfishermsw in Darby, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

Wow, it is interesting how many Social Work professionals are displeased with his or her careers! It's a shame and it not anyone's fault. I believe that the field itself needs to improve not only for the clients we serve, but also to improve the services and support for its social workers!! When, I graduated with my MSW I thought I was competent and knowledgeable to provide good social work and therapeutic services. However, as a social worker, I didn't receive any support and I have been "minimized" in my role as a competent social worker. At times, I have felt totally disrespected by my supervisors who had their own issues and projected them to their staff and even clients! Now, I am focused in changing careers. I am going into a career where I am valued and compensated well for what I know and what I can provide in terms of quality service to help those in need!

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Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York

32 months ago

I have been reading this forum for several days now and I must say many of these posts are pretty negative and discouraging. I could've slipped into a bout of depression myself after having read many of these posts from discouraged, disheartened professionals but after giving it some thought, I decided to refuse to allow myself to continue to wallow. I too have wanted to leave this field for the last 6 years from the moment I finished grad school and started working-I realized then that this is totally not for me. I have some pretty serious setbacks while working under very poor and unsafe conditions. I am drowning in student loan debt and was it not for the VERY generous support of my family, my situation would be far worse because I live in the very expensive NYC-I’ve wanted to move to a less expensive city on many occasions but living paycheck to paycheck and not having a Social License but a license in Creative Arts Therapy which is not recognized in other states has prevented me from being able to do so. I hate living under my current circumstances where I cannot save much money or move forward with goals like buying a home, starting a family etc. But I've stuck with it through all the highs and lows and have learned a tremendous amount in the process-about myself, about people and about what I truly want in life which is to no longer try to rescue other people-some whom couldn’t care less, but to rescue myself instead. My personal story has it’s traumas that initially led me to this work and now it has taken me 6 whole years to finally come to the realization that I do not have to waste another moment of my life accepting these circumstances. I can do everything in my power to rescue myself and overcome the unconsciously made, misguided decisions that led me here.
I also know have to work my A$#% off to get out of these circumstances. Like we tell our clients, taking action steps is the only way to resolve problems and find solutions. I have taken some huge

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Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York

32 months ago

action steps that have started to move me forward out of these circumstances and make me feel like there is hope. I've been working with a career-transition job coach who has taught me amazing job search and networking strategies to help a person switch careers. I have taken career aptitude tests. I also constantly attend networking events to meet people in the field I am seeking to enter, send out networking emails and contact with people on Linked In, email people and set up coffee meetings to get a better sense of the landscape of other fields, do online trainings so I can sound knowledgeable and informed when speaking to these people, asking for opportunities at work to hone new skills I’m interested in developing and more…
Listen, I’m not gonna lie. It is not easy at all and really hard to maintain my motivation and performance at my current job working with the chronically and severely mentally ill, an area I am no longer invested in. In fact, I slip from time to time because my energies are now being invested elsewhere until I am able to leave. All I know is that when I am able to look back when in a new, hopefully more satisfying career and say I made it out alive, I will feel such a tremendous sense of pride and satisfaction that it all would have been worth it.
I wish everyone out there the best. I’m even thinking we should start some type of teleconference program where we can all support each other by phone through this transition process.
What do you think?

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nikki in Bronx, New York

32 months ago

teleconference sounds cool! Ive sobbed enough, now its time to move to action! doing something about it.

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pfishermsw in Darby, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

Hi Clubhouse,
I think the teleconference would be a great idea! We all need this type of support and network!

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Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York

32 months ago

AWESOME! I'm gonna try to arrange something by looking into some teleconfering websites and get back to you all.

I'm excited about sharing ideas and feedback so we can all find our way to our true bliss!

-Clubhouse

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CC in Beaverton, Oregon

32 months ago

I was talking with a Chiropractor the other day about jobs and he turned to me and said " I don't know why anyone would want to do social work/mental health. The pay is horrible, it's emotionally and physically draining, and it gives you nothing in return". That statement got me thinking. I just turned 39, I've been doing mental health for over 16 years and I have NOTHING, not a damn thing to show for it. No retirement, ( Hard to save any money when you barely make between $10-$20/hr with our degree's), No fancy car, no job stability (my entire department got laid off from a hospital after 8 yrs due to "cutbacks") I have friends that work in Deli's and after 6 yrs of that they make $2 less an hour than I do after I've been in this field with a degree and 15+ yrs of experience. It pisses me off to no end when I hear Nurses talk about the vacations, retirement and everything they have, yet they are less educated (Associates to be a Nurse) and do far less than we do. Nurses on a psych unit basically dish out meds and thats it, yet they make $40/hr. They don't do any behavioral interventions, or counseling, yet they make 3x as much as I do, all because they have a fat union contract. I have no respect for psych nurses at all. The statement, you can't take care of anyone until you take care of yourself is becoming blaringly true for me. I've all but stopped giving a $hit for the patients, the murderers, pedophiles, geri psych who walk around $hitting themeselves and hitting staff, all because it seems as if they get more services and taken care of better than WE do! I'm all but done with it, about to quit and get a job in a Deli as well where perhaps I will be appreciated more and get paid just about as much, with less stress and less chance of violence.

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Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York

32 months ago

Sounds like you're having a really bad day.

I would encourage you to think positive and try to focus your energies on ways you can begin to enter a new field.

I believe this is possible and have witnessed a few social workers do it (even though the economy was a little better when they tried).

I think we have to fight to create our own better futures and the type of discouragement it sounds like you're facing will keep you stuck.

Believe me, I wouldn’t be saying this if I wasn’t in the same place as you for the past 6 years. I was horribly depressed, anxious and bitter that all my non-social work friends were making it, while I was being abused, disrespected, underpaid and all those other things that go along with our profression.
It has only been recently that I began to surround myself with truly creative, inspiring, bright and solution-focused people who have encouraged me to take really active steps to find my way out. Of course, many of these answers were there all along, but I am finally ready to let them in for consideration. It has taken an enormous amount of extra work, extra money, extra time and extra focus, but I believe that with every step I take, celebrating even the smallest accomplishments along the way, I am laying out a new path for myself.
You can do it too. I promise. I am going to set up a teleconference forum for us to support one another in our quest.
I’ll keep you posted.

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CC in Beaverton, Oregon

32 months ago

Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York said: Sounds like you're having a really bad day.

I would encourage you to think positive and try to focus your energies on ways you can begin to enter a new field.

I believe this is possible and have witnessed a few social workers do it (even though the economy was a little better when they tried).

I think we have to fight to create our own better futures and the type of discouragement it sounds like you're facing will keep you stuck.

Believe me, I wouldn’t be saying this if I wasn’t in the same place as you for the past 6 years. I was horribly depressed, anxious and bitter that all my non-social work friends were making it, while I was being abused, disrespected, underpaid and all those other things that go along with our profression.
It has only been recently that I began to surround myself with truly creative, inspiring, bright and solution-focused people who have encouraged me to take really active steps to find my way out. Of course, many of these answers were there all along, but I am finally ready to let them in for consideration. It has taken an enormous amount of extra work, extra money, extra time and extra focus, but I believe that with every step I take, celebrating even the smallest accomplishments along the way, I am laying out a new path for myself.
You can do it too. I promise. I am going to set up a teleconference forum for us to support one another in our quest.
I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for the typical counseling "validation", "keep your chin up" & " your own experience" response. But trying to counsel the counselor doesn't really work because I know the bag of tricks. Or shall I say, "It's hard to bull$hit a bull$hitter".

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Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York

32 months ago

No tricks...just being real.

What might help instead? Validating how much your life sucks?

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CC in Beaverton, Oregon

32 months ago

Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York said: No tricks...just being real.

What might help instead? Validating how much your life sucks?

Take a moment and consider, All of us on this forum have been trained to the "listen, paraphrase, validate etc etc" format that we half heartedly dish out on a daily basis to borderline's, junkies, murderers and other societal rejects. We have heard it all before because we've been the ones dishing up this steaming pile of $hit for decades, which I might add, doesn't seem to work very well considering the rate of recidivism that I see in the psych unit on a daily basis.

That aside, the last thing I want to hear from someone is the same pile of garbage that I no longer believe in, which I dish up on a daily basis, being served back to me.

I'm looking for original, out of the box, perhaps somewhat drastic suggestions, that could spark some of my own idea's on how to leave this trite, soul crushing, life exterminating profession, and to focus on taking care of myself for a change.

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Clubhouse@30 in New York, New York

32 months ago

Try this...
speakspin.com/purpose/dream-builder/

Just completed this 12-week program and it has changed my life...very out-of the box yet relavant and eye-opening. A positive experience that has helped me begin to see the light of day and all the opportunities out there.

I truly promise you, I'm not full of BS. I've have done an enormous amount of work on myself these past few years in 2 day a week, very intensive therapy after suffering traumas and tragedies that left me with severe depression, feeling exactly like you.
I am not full of s%#$@ when I say, there are ways out, you have to be open to them...click on this website created by a dear mentor who has recently guided me to the light through the program I finished. I was very skeptical at first and questioned everything every step along the way.
One day I told myself, I going to make the decision to believe this stuff. Just believe in it 100% and see what happens. And ya know what, very slowly opportunities and people have begun to present themselves because I allowed the space for this to happen.
I wish you all the best in your journey.

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FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan

32 months ago

gnote in Long Beach, California said: Faith,
I am decades older than you and have been in and out of social work. Out to go to school and temporarily pursue something else. You are only 28, and you really have a lot of time, not only to change careers, but also decades to sink into whatever drives your crazy about social work driving you into greater anxiety, depression, or whatever. We always have a choice in life. Good luck with your career counselor!

Thanks! When I finally get an appt (on the waiting list) I'll let you guys know! :-)

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FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan

32 months ago

I also want to share with everyone that meditation has been helping me. I just started last week and it helps me with alot of the anger and frustration I have each day when I have to go into work. It works like a task killer on your phone or computer lol. I'm even thinking about going twice a seek since the place decided to increase their days and times. I know we often tell clients/consumers to take care of themselves and honestly it can be annoying for me when someone else tells me the same thing lol. However I decided I have to try something or I'll explode so its a good decision :-)

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lulabelle in Bossier City, Louisiana

32 months ago

Other than there being more jobs and better pay overall, nursing is really no different than counseling or SW. You still have to deal with difficult clients and are over-worked. Additionally, there may be some things you will have to deal with that you do not have to deal with in counseling or social work. I suppose if more job availability and better pay overall is enough to overcome what will surely also lead to burnout, go for it then. As well, if my thinking is correct, a lot of us in the mental health field aren't exactly the greatest in science or math, which are both required for nursing. Just some thoughts.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

Hi Lulabelle,

I really appreciate your comments! I have decided with a lot of soul searching and research that I want to transition from SW to Nursing! You're right there are similarities between the two professions and both are very demanding! However, I like nursing because it adds an element of science and health, which is more valued (by the government and by society’s standards) than just the psycho/social aspect of other professions. I have had the opportunity to speak with former Social workers with his or her LCSW or MSW who have transitioned into becoming a PsychNP and they have mentioned that the transition wasn't easy. However, they were determined to excel in the math and science courses because they were passionate in helping others and excelling in the nursing profession. Now, they have shared with me that their SW background along with nursing has truly given then an appreciation for "holistic" healthcare as it relates to ones mental, emotional, and physical states. They also shared that they feel more valued as a mental health provider because they have the training and understanding of working with people and learning which form of therapy would be helpful such as psychotherapy vs pharmo-psychotherapy. They also shared that they are compensated well for their services and that the job is not easy as one may believe. However, they have shared that the challenge of being a nurse has helped them become better clinicians without losing sight of caring for others or society in general. These are just my two cents as to why I want to become a PsychNP because others who have been there understand and have encouraged me to do the same!

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Frustrated but Hopeful in Saint Paul, Minnesota

32 months ago

I agree that a teleconference would be fabulous. I was part of a job group for a short time. Everyone stayed involved until everyone was employed. It was very creative and I think the more minds working together the more opportunity we all have! I'm in!!!

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

32 months ago

I am wondering if anyone knows about the qualifications to become a career counselor at a community college. I am currently an LICSW and am wondering if I could take some courses in career counseling, get a certificate, and possibly do an internship to get into this. Does anyone know? I think that transitionalizing from social work counseling to career counseling should not be such a hard jump to make, but I do know that getting into community college jobs without any experience seems to be very difficult. . . comments.

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No longer have empathy in Reading, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

To Nicole in Capitol Heights, MD-- What type of job do you have now? I'd like to hold onto a kernel of hope that if I stick to SW long enough, I'll stop regretting my decision to get an MSW back in 2005. Hearing a success story would be helpful!

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hjb in Brooklyn, New York

32 months ago

I feel compelled to write in because as an LMSW, from Ohio who moved to NYC, then DC, then back to NYC, I can definitely relate to every post on here! I too, started working in direct practice in the field of Aging at the ripe age of 22 with the homebound in NYC and by the time I left that job, six years later, while I had obtained an MSW, I was DONE. DONE. DONE. I never wanted to set foot in to a stranger's home again, for a very long time. I watch Hoarders on tv and think, roaches, pigeon poop on the floor, mold, dust, dementia in diapers, yep - been there, can't go back. In fact, when I left that job I was literally at my wit's end and everyone knew it. I ended up going in to city government and eventually hated that too because of the bureaucracy (write a memo to get toilet paper in the bathroom, no literally). Then I moved to DC and worked for a national nonprofit that did great things, but my boss was bat*^&! crazy, so much so that she was canned a bit later, after I high tailed it back to NYC. And now, I am pretty high level at a national nonprofit, the problem is, at a certain point you just need something different.

We are not cut out to have the same job, year after year, let alone a job that all you do is pay it forward all day long, receive no extrinsic rewards and find only diminishing returns for all your good karma. I recommend we all form an online Linked In Group and promote ourselves together and form some kind of service-oriented industry that is a new categorical venture. These three job titles have synergy with social work: life coach, trainer (at a company), volunteer manager.

And HR is the least likely of all prospects because when you are in HR, the individual is NOT your focus - it is the livelihood of the BUSINESS itself, and I don't mean for the greater good, I mean the viability of human capital. It is not the same as caring for people in meaningful and productive ways.

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FaithAlways84 in Detroit, Michigan

32 months ago

I think the LinkedIn group is a really good idea!

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Vickie01 in Brooklyn, New York

32 months ago

I actually had a decent job in publishing before taking a job as a Therapist. The pay was bad in publishing too and since I already had an MSW I thought clinical work would pay more. Three years later I realize what a mistake I have made. I have tried to apply to jobs in publishing for medical or psychology editor and I get calls but most employers feel that one day I will run off to another job because I have a masters. Strangely enough, I applied for a few Financial Advisor positions and was offered a position but I could not take the risk of living off commission only. I really had to hussle during the interviews and show how a social worker can transform into a person giving financial advice. If you want to do this you have to take a few exams to get licensed. It seems worth it if you can have some support especially with solid companies like MetLife and Merrill Lynch. Research Scientist is another option and/or Policy Analyst. I believe there is a list of alternative careers fir social workers on the NASW website. Also, Make sure you write an objective on your resume and put the MSW degree at the way bottom on your resume. I have applied to many places for administrative positions and they automatically send my resume to the Social Work department. For those of you with tuition reimbursement at your jobs, take advantage and study something else ASAP. I myself am returning to school to study Statistics and it was approved because it can be used in healthcare. Sometimes they will even pay for an MBA or an Accounting degree. Don't loose hope. Hussle it. We are experts at gab. Good luck.

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AshleyBlaire30 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

31 months ago

unemployed & frustrated in New City, New York said: I am in my late thirties and have been a clinical social worker for my entire adult working life. I have experience in a variety of mental health , addiction treatment, and non profit settings. My work experience includes outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric social work, psychiatric emergency program evaluation, domestic violence program management, mental health case management , and residential drug treatment. I was laid off by my last employer twice in the past year (they laid me off, rehired me for another department, and layed me off again 6 months later). The last layoff was a blessing because despite the fact that I was making a very good salary, the job was demoralizing, depressing, and worst of all, dangerous. Additionally, I have been extremely disenchanted with the social work field for many years and would love to exit the human service and healthcare field entirely. I HATE it. I search the employment ads, go on interviews, and feel stuck. So many of the social work jobs entail home visits, which I have found unsafe and stressful. I decline job offers that involve case management, hospitals, and home visits, because I just can't do it anymore. Private practice was my goal when I obtained my masters degree, but I have zero interest and no motivation for that anymore....]
---
I'm interested in finding out what you decided to do/what happened to you... I experienced a similar time in my life. I ended up quitting my counseling job and launching a local self-work-life development magazine for young professional women. Now, I miss counseling and hate publishing, so I'm working on a plan to merge the two forces that drive my evolving career. Another crossroad, but it's nice to know someone else has been in the same boat. ;) Good luck to you... Ashley

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

31 months ago

Wow Ashley, Thank you for sharing your post with us on this forum! It is unbelievable how so many experienced professional social workers are dissatisfied with the field. I'm pleased to know that I'm not the only one! I like the skills that this profession has taught me. However, I feel, like that my skills are not transferrable to other professions and it has been difficult for me to find even a part time position. I recently had conversation with one of my colleagues who just graduated from SW school with his MSW. He swears that he is the best because he is doing fee for service psychotherapy and works in HIV research making $65K a year according to him! I have shared with him that he may be making this salary now. However, that is no guarantee that he will continue to make this salary long term, especially in the field of social work! My colleague just looked at me and didn't believe me. He just went on with the conversation and mentioned that when he obtains his LCSW credential he will be making more money! I guess time will tell and he may know someone to get him into that position to make that salary. However, I am a realist and like I said before nothing is guaranteed anymore in this economy! I just wanted to say that I hope and pray that we find something that we are proud and passionate at doing! I believe social work is a good field in theory based what we have been taught in school. However, the concepts need to be enhanced and combined with another profession or skill set in order to enhance our social work skills and ourselves as professionals. For example, MSW and MBA, MSW and RN, or MSW and MPH, MSW and marketing, MSW and clinical research or something on those lines in order to make us more profitable! This is just my two cents! All I know is Nursing here I come!

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FaithAlways84 in Detroit, Michigan

31 months ago

I have a question....how do you guys deal with the job everyday?

I have my days where its going through the motions type of days, I feel like quitting and figuring it out later lol. Then other days I can barely get out of bed. I deal with anxiety all the time anyway, but working in the field that I dislike makes it worse. I've been doing some distress tolerance activities to help. I am trying to get out of this field by reaching out to different places where I can volunteer ( I want to do more administration, behind the scenes work). I still haven't met with the career counselor yet because I'm on the waiting list. :-/

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

31 months ago

Hi FaithAlways84, how I deal with my job is remembering to stay focused and use the opportunity for growth! At my other position working in community mental health, I truly hated it and I felt soooooo stressed out from it! However, while I was there I learned all that I could so that I could place skills I learned on my resume, which helped me, get this current position! I also joined the gym and started networking with other professionals about career options. Hence, why I am focused on entering the nursing profession! Now, I am working in research. However, it’s still social work because I am interventionist providing case management services! Again, not truly ideal but, I am no longer at my former position and I am now surrounded by nurses and doctors who have served as my mentors! I now feel more motivated and focused now and most importantly less stressed out! I hope this helps! Try to find daily exercises, meditations, and networking with positive folks to alleviate some of the stress you have been experiencing! Good luck with your endeavors!

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FaithAlways84 in Detroit, Michigan

31 months ago

pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Hi FaithAlways84, how I deal with my job is remembering to stay focused and use the opportunity for growth! At my other position working in community mental health, I truly hated it and I felt soooooo stressed out from it! However, while I was there I learned all that I could so that I could place skills I learned on my resume, which helped me, get this current position! I also joined the gym and started networking with other professionals about career options. Hence, why I am focused on entering the nursing profession! Now, I am working in research. However, it’s still social work because I am interventionist providing case management services! Again, not truly ideal but, I am no longer at my former position and I am now surrounded by nurses and doctors who have served as my mentors! I now feel more motivated and focused now and most importantly less stressed out! I hope this helps! Try to find daily exercises, meditations, and networking with positive folks to alleviate some of the stress you have been experiencing! Good luck with your endeavors!

Thanks so much pfishermsw, that was helpful! I just started mediatation and it does help, so I will definitely keep doing that!

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Socioqueen in Brooklyn, New York

31 months ago

Given that social work skills are both borrowed from other fields, sociology, psychology, anthropology
it is hard to transfer them to a precise field. At least, I find this to be true because it is such diffuse expertise that
it's as though (when adhering to social work principles and theory) we belong to everyone and no one all the time. Truth be told often we are the sales people of the helping profession, the power brokers for the powerless and marginalized and in turn this can disenfranchise us and feel demoralizing. To be honest I am so querky now having done this work for so long that it's hard to think about who else I could be/would be/want to be...and I am damn good at my job. I make over 80k a year and still have the same feelings of anxiety, malaise, disconcerting and misplaced anger. Sometimes I fear that I'm the ultimate dupe. That all of these feelings are NOT mine, but years of projection from managing clients and managing staff with clients. Like the joke is on me.

I hired a coach. Gwen Knowles an has a blog called Start Something. I think that social work school should be something provided gratis after the degree. Once you are in the field there should be life applying classe one can take as a social worker in order to see the forest for the trees. When you are in the trenches and can't get air, or take months off to self-actualize, motivation is hard to come by and the rewards produce diminishing returns over time. My therapy? Improv classes. Traveling to wine vineyards or volunteering at wine vineyards. Practicing spirituality and reading about topics like "aging as a spiritual practice" or "don't be a you-know-what" kinds of books. I also find the time to receive rather than give. Very hard!!! When all you do is pay it forward all day it is very hard to ask for help, receive gifts (gifts, what's that? Time. Dates buy dinner. Friend bakes a cake and you eat it. Gifts!). Find ways to balance the receiving and giving scales.

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Socioqueen in Brooklyn, New York

31 months ago

Given that social work skills are both borrowed from other fields, sociology, psychology, anthropology
it is hard to transfer them to a precise field. At least, I find this to be true because it is such diffuse expertise that
it's as though (when adhering to social work principles and theory) we belong to everyone and no one all the time. Truth be told often we are the sales people of the helping profession, the power brokers for the powerless and marginalized and in turn this can disenfranchise us and feel demoralizing. To be honest I am so querky now having done this work for so long that it's hard to think about who else I could be/would be/want to be...and I am damn good at my job. I make over 80k a year and still have the same feelings of anxiety, malaise, disconcerting and misplaced anger. Sometimes I fear that I'm the ultimate dupe. That all of these feelings are NOT mine, but years of projection from managing clients and managing staff with clients. Like the joke is on me.

I hired a coach. Gwen Knowles an has a blog called Start Something. I think that social work school should be something provided gratis after the degree. Once you are in the field there should be life applying classe one can take as a social worker in order to see the forest for the trees. When you are in the trenches and can't get air, or take months off to self-actualize, motivation is hard to come by and the rewards produce diminishing returns over time. My therapy? Improv classes. Traveling to wine vineyards or volunteering at wine vineyards. Practicing spirituality and reading about topics like "aging as a spiritual practice" or "don't be a you-know-what" kinds of books. I also find the time to receive rather than give. Very hard!!! When all you do is pay it forward all day it is very hard to ask for help, receive gifts (gifts, what's that? Time. Dates buy dinner. Friend bakes a cake and you eat it. Gifts!). Find ways to balance the receiving and giving scales.

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Socioqueen in Brooklyn, New York

31 months ago

Given that social work skills are both borrowed from other fields, sociology, psychology, anthropology
it is hard to transfer them to a precise field. At least, I find this to be true because it is such diffuse expertise that
it's as though (when adhering to social work principles and theory) we belong to everyone and no one all the time. Truth be told often we are the sales people of the helping profession, the power brokers for the powerless and marginalized and in turn this can disenfranchise us and feel demoralizing. To be honest I am so querky now having done this work for so long that it's hard to think about who else I could be/would be/want to be...and I am damn good at my job. I make over 80k a year and still have the same feelings of anxiety, malaise, disconcerting and misplaced anger. Sometimes I fear that I'm the ultimate dupe. That all of these feelings are NOT mine, but years of projection from managing clients and managing staff with clients. Like the joke is on me.

I hired a coach. Gwen Knowles an has a blog called Start Something. I think that social work school should be something provided gratis after the degree. Once you are in the field there should be life applying classe one can take as a social worker in order to see the forest for the trees. When you are in the trenches and can't get air, or take months off to self-actualize, motivation is hard to come by and the rewards produce diminishing returns over time. My therapy? Improv classes. Traveling to wine vineyards or volunteering at wine vineyards. Practicing spirituality and reading about topics like "aging as a spiritual practice" or "don't be a you-know-what" kinds of books. I also find the time to receive rather than give. Very hard!!! When all you do is pay it forward all day it is very hard to ask for help, receive gifts (gifts, what's that? Time. Dates buy dinner. Friend bakes a cake and you eat it. Gifts!). Find ways to balance the receiving and giving scales.

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