Career transition from social work field

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TSSWorker in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

I suggest if ANYONE EVER considers a TSS job (therapeutic staff support) to run, no, get in your f&cking car and drive away. It is the most horrible, degrading, dehumanizing job I can imagine. It's a step up from slavery. I really think I'd feel less destroyed as a prostitute. Children with severe behavioral "diagnoses" ( which is a euphemism for lack of discipline and structure) like ODD and CD are babied and treated like fragile infants instead of like the bad kids they are. Result? They will all grow up continuing to be a$$holes and expecting the world to cater to them because they always have. My horrible client knocks little girls down, touches other kids when it's not asked for (why isn't he restrained by teachers? Oh right, the mental "health" industry thinks it's abusive to protect good kids from the bad ones, so teachers aren't even allowed to), speaks to me in the most disrespectful ways you can possibly imagine (putting his hands over his ears when I speak to him, speaking over me, throwing things in my face, insulting me... and this is when I speak to him nicely), and in every way shows no regard for anyone but himself. Yet he has NO consequences for his actions or words, and I know that if I don't quit now I will be fired because I am losing my self-control. I am CONSTANT FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT mode, and I can't take it anymore. I feel like I'm living in a parody. How could this be real? This PC culture made by academics who have no experience in the real world has gone too far, and there is true corruption ever since the government started funding all these behavior-based programs. Bad kids need real consequences, not medication, not babying, not TSS's following them around all day. Saying "you don't get an extra treat this day" to a kid who throws school property across the room and endangers his peers on a constant basis doesn't cut it. I'm finished with the mental fraud industry . It is corrupt and has way too much power.

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TSSWorker in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

CHECK THIS OUT: Petition to PA Commonwealth for better treatment of wraparound-services workers.

www.petitiononline.com/dpwbwsw/petition.html

I would post it but it's much longer than the character allotment for a comment, and I don't want to dominate this thread too much.

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Socioqueen in Brooklyn, New York

28 months ago

Helping others is one of the hardest jobs around. You can only do it for so long before the imbalance of paying your energy forward all the time leaves you empty, angry or worse. The only way to really be a great social worker and make a life long career of it is to have some practice based experience and then apply that to a less demanding situation be it in managing others in a nonprofit, which is what I now do as VP for a national nonprofit, or transition into health policy, private health plan work, government or academia, all fields with transferable skills who hire MSWs and value their knowledge. But no one outside of social work understands these skills which is why we also have to understand sales and how to assert ourselves (not aggression, assertion) in ways where we may feel less of an advantage.

I have never regretted my degree but I do remember a time ten years ago when I absolutely had to get out of direct practice or I would die (that was the feeling anyway). The field of Aging is about to blow up in every direction, endless possibilities, and while it has not arrived yet those of us who pioneered it will commandeer it and I highly recommend getting involved from any direction of interest.

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Mimi in Coppell, Texas

28 months ago

I agree with Sociqueen. The SW's I know that work in government (Federal) are very well respected, they earn excellent salaries, work 9-5 m-f, and are extremely influential and innovative in policy creation and implementation. If I stay in SW I will stay in government.

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Intrigued in Saint Louis, Missouri

28 months ago

Wow, I was searching for information for my final school research paper, on why the social work field is declining, and you all have given me enough information to write three papers. It's disheartening to hear that you feel that way about a career that you all obviously have paid lots of money and spent an enormous amount of time in.

However, the advice I would give is for you to start your own organization so that you're not the person doing the worst parts of the position. I believe while building your own organization, as you climb you will begin to find your niche in other areas and that would help to find another career choice. Maybe you guys could get together and form some type of organization???

Thanks for the information for my final research paper, and best of luck in your next career choice.

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thompson in Thunder Bay, Ontario

27 months ago

Intrigued in Saint Louis, Missouri said: Wow, I was searching for information for my final school research paper, on why the social work field is declining, and you all have given me enough information to write three papers. It's disheartening to hear that you feel that way about a career that you all obviously have paid lots of money and spent an enormous amount of time in.

However, the advice I would give is for you to start your own organization so that you're not the person doing the worst parts of the position. I believe while building your own organization, as you climb you will begin to find your niche in other areas and that would help to find another career choice. Maybe you guys could get together and form some type of organization???

Thanks for the information for my final research paper, and best of luck in your next career choice.

I just got my BSW, and I sort of new at the beginning that jobs would not be plentiful. I was planning on getting my MSW, but I am putting on the brakes and thinking about getting a the Registered practical nurse, which is the same as an LPN in the USA. I find no use of getting an MSW in this environment of cut backs. The government is only going to keep front line works, why? How else will it pay for all the boomers that will need health care. Besides child welfare and drug treatment centres, social work could disapear. Nursing is front line like police and fire. To go for a MSW and just end up in Child Welfare would be academic suicide. Think before you start a social work degree. Its a disguised psychology degree, good for coffee talk.

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FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan

27 months ago

Sam in Worcester, Massachusetts said: I was just accepted into a social work program and now I've been having serious doubts...as I've been reading, most people have not enjoyed it. Should I pursue another path?

You should volunteer and see how you like it. See how it fits with your personality. I learned that I like helping people but in different ways. The hands on, in front line field type stuff I can't deal with anymore. I also hear that different areas of social work are less stressful than others. I'm not sure because most of my experience comes from child welfare (working in Adoptions is less stressful) I'm in community health now which is okay, but I wanna be done with it all together.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

I agree with FaithAlways84! Thompson, you should volunteer to see how you like the field. It’s not for everyone! I really enjoy the psychotherapy aspect of the field and I plan on one day having my own private practice. However, there is too much competition among social workers who want to establish their own private practice. Even establishing a private practice will take some time in order to gain clientele and revenue. In addition, earning an LCSW in this economy is not worth it according to many individuals who have been in the field 20 to 30 years! The field, is very limited in what you can do and most positions involve large amounts of stress due to the clients you serve (most of them have many emotional and economic stressors that you are unable to fix under the guidelines of your agency and federal funding). With that being said, you have to weigh in your options! If you chose to go into this field, try to obtain as much experience as you can in all areas of social work so you are not confined to just one “type” of position (i.e. child welfare, outpatient psychotherapy, clinical research, health education, etc). Since you want to do nursing, I encourage you to get your RN license. The RN license is now becoming the standard license in order to practice nursing along with BSN degree. With that field, very similar to social work, you will be able to explore many options in terms of career opportunities and still have the opportunity to provide care and services to others. No matter what degree you obtain, you have think smart and efficient...one degree in any field does not provide you with security. I know some professionals who have an eclectic background of experiences and education, which has been helpful in this economy and in the field. Good luck with your career endeavors.

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thompson in Thunder Bay, Ontario

27 months ago

Good point pfisher on the volunteering. I have done some in nursing homes previously its ok, not my first pick for nursing. Just so you know in Canada, RN is not the standard license to practice nursing. Our RPN, registered practical nurse (USA its your LPN) is becoming the new nurse. The RN's are bosses and supervisors , or speciality nurses in O.R or E.R. or Nurse Practitioners. Our government has done this to be able to employ more nurses (RPN). RN gets roughly 40 an hour here in Canada while the RPN gets 25. Thats why health Canada has done this because of cost. Our government plans to hire a few thousand RPN's over the new 5 to 10 years to manage the baby boomers and to cut cost or it will be broke. Remember our health care system is mostly public paid by tax dollars.
With that mentioned RN hiring will be less of and could be on ratio to 3 RPN hired to one RN. Remember in Canada, RN's, they are the bosses of nursing floors now.
I agree I would like to go all the way but I am 44 and might as well start slow, since RPN is two years of school and RN is 4. If I want to go further it would just be 2 more years or less. I figured I should start at the RPN level to get my feet wet. It could turn out I dont like it but there are also many spots to go with this. You could give shots at a flu clinic, do public health teaching and even work in social work. You could do home care, driving to peoples homes and providing care, which your out of the office and on your own. I think that could be a less stressful area. To save money the government wants more home care to be done. 25 bucks an hour is not 40, but its still 25bucks. A nurse can do social work jobs, but a social worker cant do a nurses job. You see that in intake at hopitals when an RN does a crisis evalutation on a patient.

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thompson in Thunder Bay, Ontario

27 months ago

If you wanted to I think you could even go back into social work. I believe a BSW/RPN would be very marketable in social work and can compete if not out beat a MSW in a job hire. I think a medical background is one of the best things to back up a social work degree. You are treating the whole patient because you know the whole patient, body and mind. With the amount of pills and sickness coming up for the boomers your going to have to have some medical background to treat your client. There should be a pharmacology course in social work to begin with, which is not the case in Canada. When it takes someone two years to get an MSW job and you can walk across the street and get an RPN job in a day I have to consider it. Its Canada's next boom job hire, RPN, and the doctors have told me this. I will stop rambling but wanted to give you an birdsview of whats happening in Canada. How is the LPN job on a cruiseship? I here that could be fun.lol Options are endless and global. I wish they would hire social workers.

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jonesy207 in Maine

27 months ago

I have read all your comments folks. It certainly is a burn out profession. I have done community mental health, private practice and am resigning from a school after I was told that I should not have made a mandated report and that I put kids first too much. I thought for a time school social work might be a way for me to stay in the field, but it is quite isolating and watching teachers screaming at kids and belittling my work is in a way worse than working together with colleagues who share the same values and philosophies.

I have no idea what I will do, but I sure won't join the code of silence at schools and compromise my ethics and morals.

My husband and I just cut our budget to the bare bones and I may be able to do something I really love, instead of having the life sucked out of me. After 17 years in the field, I am a shell of the person I used to be....

Good luck everyone! Ugh for us! I want HAPPY!

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KS in Cary, North Carolina

27 months ago

LPC in Virginia Beach, Virginia said: I am so glad to have found this site. Everyone is echoing my innermost guilty thoughts...I too am struggling after 12 years in the field. I am completely burned out after getting used and abused by employer after employer, client after client, over worked and underpaid, with no appreciation and nothing to show for it at the end of the day except 50K in student loan debt.

I have worked with every type of client from child to adult, neuro-typical to psychotic, private practice to non-profit, supported living, substance abuse, sex offender, TDT and school based, military consulting , and even spent thousands (of my own money) opening up a group home for teens only so the state could sell out contracts to big corporate masquerading as non-profits.

There is so much corruption every where I look and I am done with it all. I have tried numerous times to report SERIOUS violations against clients and literally millions of dollars that were being taken to line crooks pockets and the government TURNS THEIR HEADS. I have had it with trying to help people so that they can sell me out for their benefit.

The sad part is that now with the economy the way it is, they have us all bent over a barrel. Employees have no rights when fighting against huge corporations. Employers can continually push, because after all - we should all be thankful to have jobs in this economy. (irony and sarcasm)

I'd like to be FAR away from it all...flower shop..dog groomer...but unfortunately for me, 50K in student load debt prevents me from doing that or going back to school. (although for all the hours worked, I basically work for minimum wage now.)

For anyone interested in human services ...run far and as fast as you can in the other direction. You will have your heart broken.

That is exactly right. I feel the same way. I just want to run away from this profession. It looks like this is the feeling across the country.

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

27 months ago

Have not been here in awhile. I thought I "solved" my being in the SW field dilemma by getting a great paying benefitladen job for a fairly large company. But, after awhile, even with a positive work environment, positive coworkers, and many other things going for it, the job was just draining my energies and my soul. Maybe this job taught me that, even under ideal circumstances, ongoing client contact is ultimately draining. I am unemployed right now, and it just amazes me how unmotivated I am to find other work. I am putting the apps out, even had an interview or two, but I feel like I am just going through the motions. I just do not see much out there that is appealing. I do not want to be driving around and in the field all day, nor have to make a lot of home visits that could be downright unsafe. I even saw a job for a licensed person where they expected you to drive clients around in your vehicle. I see some jobs where they expect you to work in one end of the county on Tuesdays, and the other on Fridays. And, its not much fun dealing with lying clients who are just placating you to get something. I really need to do something different, am working on it, and really hope to find my answers. I am passionate about other things in my life, but, sorry, they just do not pay the bills.

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Naive Student in Albuquerque, New Mexico

27 months ago

So glad I found this post. I am just finishing the first semester in an MSW program and I'm starting to get the feeling that this is not for me. I think I should get out of it while I still have the chance(and haven't spent all my $).

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

27 months ago

Naive Student, you remind me of where I was just as I was finishing up my MSW program years ago. I remember sitting outside on campus with some of my school friends and I really was kind of dreading a future in social work. After working/interning in hospitals, psyc hospitals, and for the County, I think I already had enough. I did end up having some a few very good jobs in SW, but many awful ones too, and I would love to be completely out of SW at this point in time. All I can say is to follow your gut feelings -- they are speaking the truth. Its never too late to change direction, and easier to do so before you get settled into a career. My challenge right now is to change direction.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

25 months ago

Hello Everyone,
I hope everyone is enjoying the New Year and finding ways to transition from SW to another field or combining his or her career interests! I have mentioned before that I am pursuing a career in nursing and transitioning out of social work. I am currently taking prerequisites for it as well. I am currently doing clinical research for a large grant funded study and my position is ending in the next couple of months. I have been applying to several hospitals in order to transition to medical social work. However, I have received many rejection emails or no further follow ups from recruiters. The reason for this transition is that I want to gain experience in a hospital setting in order to bridge my experience in social work to nursing field. Does anyone have any advice about transitioning to hospital based/medical social work? Does anyone have any advice on navigating through the hiring process in order to get an in person interview in a hospital setting? Your advice and/or suggestions are appreciated!
Thank you in advance!!!

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Losing Compassion in Reading, Pennsylvania

25 months ago

Hi PFisherMSW. I've been trying to do the same thing as you and am searching as far as Philly suburbs... the commute all the way to the city daily from Reading would probably irritate me as much as staying in my current position. ;-P I do not want to get into nursing, but am desperately trying to get out of 24/7 work and have been applying to hospitals as well. I have exactly the qualifications they ae seeking, but I never hear back past the email stating they have received my application.

I'd love any insider information as well. Thank you!

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Losing Compassion in Reading, Pennsylvania

25 months ago

Dan2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: I have more to add. Clients and consumers in this field express little concern about the morality of a welfare state associated with massive economic intervention. Those who are on the receiving end of the government transfer system, whether its the wealthy, the poor, or the middle class, dont want to be bothered with the question of whether or not the whole system is based on a moral principle. It would never occur to them that theft and violence are used to carry out these policies.
So now that I am aware of what this social welfare system really is and what it means and what government is and is not, I want out and I believe if others here understand it as I have come to understand you wont feel so mystified as to why you feel demoralized. The nonsense about being a rewarding job is a PR snow job. Its not a rewarding job, its a demoralizing system to see capable people live off the government and treat you like a two bit waitress at Bennigans or something.
If anybody can assist me in transferring over to finance , economics , goverment or politics or anything else that pays at least in the late 30s I am open. Also, I dont take something for nothing so I would like to offer that you can work for the goverment without it having to be in social work capacity or human services . I am willing to explore that with others more privately as I am working on a few plans to get the hell out of this field. Best wishes to all.

Hey Dan2012. Have you made any headway into a new field? I'm interested in working with you to find other opportunities.

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pfishemsw in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

25 months ago

Losing Compassion in Reading, Pennsylvania said: Hi PFisherMSW. I've been trying to do the same thing as you and am searching as far as Philly suburbs... the commute all the way to the city daily from Reading would probably irritate me as much as staying in my current position. ;-P I do not want to get into nursing, but am desperately trying to get out of 24/7 work and have been applying to hospitals as well. I have exactly the qualifications they ae seeking, but I never hear back past the email stating they have received my application.

I'd love any insider information as well. Thank you!

Hello "Losing Compassion" Wow, that would be a commute from Reading to the suburbs of Philly. I live in the suburbs and there are even limited opportunities, which is why I have applied in the city! This is based on my experience however! I find it very difficult to get past the initial interviews especial for positions I am qualified for. I am truly frustrated because I know that I am qualified but I am receiving rejection emails or a phone interview without any further follow up. I am trying to remain positive. However, I have noticed that in this field there are many qualified individuals for these positions and there are not too many positions available. Even the old "get someone you know" to get you the position is not effective either because if the organization has someone in mind for a position, then that applicant is not getting that position. I feel that as competent social worker and as a professional, the skills we learn in social work school are not transferable to other professions. I want to be in demand for my skills and experience and I want to be challenged and grow as a professional. If I find a way to get into the hospital setting, I will let you know how to navigate through the system! We all have to help each other within this field...we all need to be supported and empowered!! Good luck with your career endeavors as well!

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Littlerock in Irving, Texas

25 months ago

Hey Dan2012,

Try working for the VA. I am currently doing an internship with the VA now and I love it (I am also a veteran). I can't stand leeches that bleed the system dry and have a sense of entitlement, that irks me to no end. I can only work with populations that I feel really deserve assistance so that only leaves me with veterans and children. Grown lazy ass people that ride the government system like a magic carpet don't deserve a damn thing!

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Keepin' On in Augusta, Georgia

25 months ago

Littlerock, I'd LOVE to work for the VA - if they would give my licensed a$$ the time of day :D ... have been applying since 2009, in various locations, JUST FINALLY got rated (100) on ONE announcement last month but don't know anything else on it since I haven't been contacted besides the e-mailed rating.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I really need to keep reading threads like this to get some ideas on how to think outside the box for my career, or if continuing to read threads like this is only going to succeed in engendering further depression for me. I got into this profession because I've struggled with depression off-and-on for years and felt that work in which I engage with others, finding meaning in that, and helping those I work with to find meaning in their situation, was about the best thing I could do for myself and the world around me - plus the Church (yes, I thought about going into ordained ministry before this, try not to laugh) apparently didn't want me.

Meanwhile, as an introvert by nature I find myself hating the feeling of "having" to be "on" for work, not getting much (if any) interaction with "normal" people during the day, and then either going to the gym to work out (while stewing on everything in my head) or going home to an empty house (because while everybody else around me was busy partying till they magically found the love of their lives, I was either fat depressed and alone, in school, or working). Either way, still pretty much no interaction with "normal" people. Damn, too bad I don't like bars eh :/ :D ... /end cryin' in my beer

Ok, done venting. Put me on blast if ya want to :D I'll still bring my a$$ to work each day, but damn I really want a change...

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FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan

25 months ago

Keepin' On in Augusta, Georgia said:
Honestly, I'm not sure if I really need to keep reading threads like this to get some ideas on how to think outside the box for my career, or if continuing to read threads like this is only going to succeed in engendering further depression for me. I got into this profession because I've struggled with depression off-and-on for years and felt that work in which I engage with others, finding meaning in that, and helping those I work with to find meaning in their situation, was about the best thing I could do for myself and the world around me - plus the Church (yes, I thought about going into ordained ministry before this, try not to laugh) apparently didn't want me.

Meanwhile, as an introvert by nature I find myself hating the feeling of "having" to be "on" for work, not getting much (if any) interaction with "normal" people during the day, and then either going to the gym to work out (while stewing on everything in my head) or going home to an empty house (because while everybody else around me was busy partying till they magically found the love of their lives, I was either fat depressed and alone, in school, or working). Either way, still pretty much no interaction with "normal" people. Damn, too bad I don't like bars eh :/ :D ... /end cryin' in my beer

Ok, done venting. Put me on blast if ya want to :D I'll still bring my a$$ to work each day, but damn I really want a change...

Keepin' On--this is the story of my life! I really want a change to, its really affecting me and as an introvert for me it is very difficult to be "on" all the time, it affects me physically and its terrible! I'm hoping for a change for all of us!

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crisstar in Riverside, California

25 months ago

Have you considered opening up your own counseling business? There are so many children with behavioral issues, self-esteem issues, not to mention there are parents that NEED parenting skills.

Get with your local social service department and see if they need teachers to teach parenting skills, or teach foster parenting classes.

The positive thing with social work is that there are many jobs that are within this area.

Good luck.

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Career seeker in VA in Virginia

24 months ago

I am so appreciative of all of the honesty on this thread, which has helped me find perspective in regard to my own career frustrations. I wanted to chime in because of the thing that has surprised me most about "burnout." For me, personally, it's not the low pay, lack of professional status or respect, or dangerous work conditions that most drive my burnout. It's feeling that the work I do is meaningless at best, at worst contributing to systems and dynamics that actually make society worse, not better. I figure many of us entered this field looking for "meaningful work" and in hopes of "making the world better," and that was what we were led to expect we would find in social work. I think most social work programs prepare you for the realities of low pay and low societal regard for what we do. But the one way in which I feel deceived is not having been prepared for just how corrupt our mental health system is. Especially in regard to the clients! My social work school prepared me for some of the structural problems I would encounter but not for the nature of the clients, especially those in the "underserved" populations we social workers specialize in treating. I left school hopeful that I would be providing services to people who were struggling in life, and as in the tales we read of the "resilient" people who embrace the resources they are given to make changes in their lives, would respond to our interventions and become productive, happy people again. But what I have been shocked to learn is that these clients are in the minority. Laziness, complacency, greed, entitlement, and even antisocial tendencies rule the day, and you get to a point where you would just as soon serve the yacht-polishing crowd you thought you went into social work to avoid. Social work school gave me the knowledge to understand the social forces driving what we see on a macro level, but that only does so much to address the disgust you feel with so many clients on a personal basis.

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Career seeker in VA in Virginia

24 months ago

I'm not even one of those who cares so much about some of my tax money going to support people who defraud the system in order to get disability. I just don't want to have to deal with these people personally, have to play along with lies I'm not allowed to challenge, or experience the icky feeling of being manipulated by a greedy ego. The one thing that keeps me from feeling total despair at my job is the occasional client who has hit hard times and truly wants to look at the causes and do what it takes to change things. Occasionally, my clients do inspire me -- but only occasionally. Again, it's not even being confronted by the extent to which people will go to try to leech off of others or the system, it's feeling like my role is one of enabler rather than healer. You just feel like a big sucker. I wonder how anyone could want to be part of this system after seeing what it is; for those who are not seeking benzos or disability and truly want and need help overcoming pain and psychiatric problems, they are greeted by a system that pushes meds as the ultimate solution regardless of whether a person's symptoms are driven by environmental factors. The system promotes and encourages passivity and consumption -- reflected in the most current term for participants in this system -- "consumers." I hate that term and think it captures the cynicism of a system that increasingly diminishes the role of work on one's self. I am personally ready to exit this system but like many others here have found few opportunities or alternatives that would not require returning to school. I hold out hope that transitioning to serving a different client population may go a way to ease my ills, but it makes me sad that so many of us reach this point after having started out wanting to serve this population.

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

24 months ago

Career Seeker, your post is very thoughtful! Its interesting that, this morning, I have been spending time thinking about how I can develop my own business and be an entrepreneur and take my social work skills, especially of motivating people, into another career field. This requires a shift in thinking and looking at all the roadblocks I have created within myself to do this. However, being older, and not being interested in the jobs openings I see is are already creating this shift in my thinking.

You wrote: "I left school hopeful that I would be providing services to people who were struggling in life, and as in the tales we read of the "resilient" people who embrace the resources they are given to make changes in their lives, would respond to our interventions and become productive, happy people again."

Yes, I went into social work for similar reasons and experienced similar disappointments. But now I am thinking that I have to become more my own resilient person and embrace the resources that abound all around me to make the changes in my life to move onto my own business.

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Former TSS worker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

Hi everyone, I'm the (former) TSS Worker from "Lebanon" (sorry- my computer always redirects my location to a wrong one, for some reason). I am happy to share some good news!!! I finally got out of Direct Care Work as a Therapeutic Staff Support with BHRS. I got a new job within a similar program, but it's more administrative. My stress level has already significantly decreased, and I find myself less hateful. Although I'm still exposed to the abhorrent corruption of our system (i.e. CBHNP/CBHO), I feel less victimized by it- more like a bystander. I still feel drawn to helping those who truly deserve and appreciate it, and I would like to volunteer with various case management programs that help abused children. I don't think the state should be involved in behavioral "health" at all.

I would like to point out that I completely resonate with @CareerSeeker's concerns, especially about feeling like an "enabler" for hypocrisy and greed, in regard to both the "consumers" and the bureaucrats who take advantage of the system.

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LA in Portland, Oregon

24 months ago

Wow. This post is really inacurate: I live in Portland and near Beaverton. Some of these mindsets are unacceptable, i.e. "Wiping the $hit filled a$$ of a geri psych patient is not on my bucket list..." Reality check: I did this last night at work and it was not on my bucket list but we all hope to help people to feel their dignity more after we serve them. I respond to this post because as human beings, we are *all the same*. Social work is disappointing and infurating. I cannot wait to transition out. In the meanwhile, reading the inacuracy and lack of respect for human beings in some posts here reminds me that truly we will all be needy someday. We got into this field to help. "Civilians" do not understand the stress and the atmosphere in acute psych is volatile: people get injured and some suicide on the units: system is so broken that I want to quit each day. -Nonetheless I do not want the mindset that this person expresses.

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LA in Portland, Oregon

24 months ago

CC in Beaverton, Oregon said: k?

Recently ALL the hospital psychiatric units in my area have gone to a "nursing model". Basically rendering all Mental Health Therapist's useless. All but about 4 Therapist's / Social Workers have had their positions eliminated. We had the choice to either stay on as "Mental Health Aids" or get laid off. A Mental Health Aid is basically a Mental Health CNA . No thank you, being a CNA has never been a career goal of mine. Wiping the $hit filled a$$ of a geri psych patient is not on my bucket list...
Etc.
Wow. This post is really inacurate: I live in Portland and almost in Beaverton. Some of these mindsets are unacceptable, i.e. "Wiping the $hit filled a$$ of a geri psych patient is not on my bucket list..." Reality check: I did this last night at work and it was not on my bucket list but we all hope to help people to feel their dignity more after we serve them. I respond to this post because as human beings, we are *all the same*. Social work is disappointing and infurating. I cannot wait to transition out. In the meanwhile, reading the inacuracy and lack of respect for human beings in some posts here reminds me that truly we will all be needy someday. We got into this field to help. "Civilians" do not understand the stress and the atmosphere in acute psych is volatile: people get injured and some suicide on the units: system is so broken that I want to quit each day. -Nonetheless I do not want the mindset that this person expresses.

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LA in Portland, Oregon

24 months ago

CC in Beaverton, Oregon said: I am experiencing similar difficulties except that I have a BS in Psychology. I never persued a Masters for several reasons. 1) It wasn't cost effective. Why pay $40k for a masters when I would only get paid $5-$6 more an hour? 2) I've been working in inpatient psychiatric units for the last decade doing the exact same work as people with master's (minus making treatment plans). Why go pay for the initials when Im already doing the work?

Recently ALL the hospital psychiatric units in my area have gone to a "nursing model". Basically rendering all Mental Health Therapist's useless.

CC in Beaverton, Oregon said: k?

Etc.
Wow. This post is really inacurate: I live in Portland and almost in Beaverton. Some of these mindsets are unacceptable, i.e. "Wiping the $hit filled a$$ of a geri psych patient is not on my bucket list..." Reality check: I did this last night at work and it was not on my bucket list but we all hope to help people to feel their dignity more after we serve them. I respond to this post because as human beings, we are *all the same*. Social work is disappointing and infurating. I cannot wait to transition out. In the meanwhile, reading the inacuracy and lack of respect for human beings in some posts here reminds me that truly we will all be needy someday. We got into this field to help. "Civilians" do not understand the stress and the atmosphere in acute psych is volatile: people get injured and some suicide on the

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

24 months ago

CC, it has been my experience that social work managers are generally clueless about the stress their staff are under too. I think that when someone gets into management positions, they want to forget and not be bothered wth how stressful it is for the people they manage. Its not just the public that is clueless.

I am between jobs right now, and I am still sometimes reeling from the stress of my former job. It is a big hope of mine to not have to take a position again in social work. I hope I will not be spending the money either for the CEU game and renewing my license either. I need to be spending every minute I can reinventing for another career.

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FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan

24 months ago

@ Former TSS worker, I'm so glad you were able to get out of there into something less stressful!

I'm kinda worried because the position I'm in a actually a less stressful gig but I still don't like it. The thing is that its a grant funded program and its ending soon. They have no idea when it supposed to officially end but they are already sending us job links for other open positions. I'm scared because I told myself I wouldn't go back to child welfare unless it was more administrative because I was a nutcase back then. I'm scared because I feel so pigeonholed in this field. I've been doing this type of work ( I don't have a SW degree; Sociology) for about 6-7 years and I want to get out!

A few months back I went to a Career Counselor and I felt much better about my future but now I'm having those same feelings of doubt again because even with my revised resume it still looks so "social worky" lol.

All these jobs I've been looking for are all in child welfare or homelessness. I can imagine jobs working in homelessness is very stressful. Anyone on here worked in that area? I have much better coping skills than I did before so I handle stress better but I'm just scared that I'll relapse into a deeper depression. I gave up on school because I see no point (at least for now) to get myself in deeper debt and I keep changing my mind.

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Former TSS worker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

Thanks Faith (:

I had an acquaintance a few months back who worked in a homeless shelter and eventually became a case manager. Although there were some client issues which borderlined dangerous, I had the impression that there was less of a parasitic aspect to it than what I was used to when I worked as a TSS in the BHRS program. I'd stay out of child welfare too-- I just came out of that, and it's sickening how kids are both coddled/enabled for lack of discipline (you can't say "MISbehaving" anymore) and psychotropically abused (that is, meds are pushed on them before healthy lifestyles, environmental changes, etc.). I have heard good things about the child foster care system.

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

24 months ago

Faith, here is my comment about stress. Stress is inherent in any job, but I think the deeper question is do I or you even want to be in this particular job? Right now, I am putting myself under quite a lot of stress preparing to transition into another career field and, because I really feel passionate about this other career field, I will willingly endure the stress of preparation, wearing myself out physically and mentally, and uncertainty, even to the point of relocating so I can pursue this dream, if that is what it takes. But, I could not even conceive of wanting to take a social work job that was more than five miles from home, and I barely have the willingness to look at the job sites for openings anymore.

Someone once pointed out to me that depression is a sign, perhaps from above, and certainly a discomfort within ourselves, that we are off of our true life path, and it is a warning to get back on the path of what we came here to do or engage in what we are passionate about. I think, deep down, we all know what that "thing" is that we really want to do. Well, I have two books I just received from Amazon on the topic of dealing with fear that I am looking forward to delving into, because once I get into fear thoughts, and do not deal with them constructively, I get off my path. Maybe another trip to your career counselor would be in order as well.

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LoveGodFamily in Kansas City, Kansas

24 months ago

I just want to add that this blog is validating. The comments are not shocking...heck, in my experience, I've heard worse from doctors who have just seen so much suffering and just needed to vent. I not only have my clinical in 2 licenses, but also in 2 states, and I continue to be unemployed after being laid off, and continue to be rejected after applications and interviews. I have had about 20 years experience. I am re-evaluating, and learning to be thankful. I have talked with an agency about my options, given the burnout/brownout levels, and my resumes are out there. I am thinking of volunteering or also taking a course here and there. I have learned the hard way not to take the only evening/weekend job, as this took a toll on my family.
For now, I am thankful that I can take care of my family and that I have a husband with a secure job at this time. We do face higher taxes, and our insurance rates will be raised extremely high this year, thanks to the current government climate. But, I will be content in the rewards and liabilities and keep moving forward. I want to encourage all who continue in social work to care for yourself and take advantage of vacation time...advocate for social work as a profession as well...many corporations are hiring nurses in our places. Hang in there everyone.

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Bethany287 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina

24 months ago

Former TSS worker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania said: Thanks Faith (:

I had an acquaintance a few months back who worked in a homeless shelter and eventually became a case manager . Although there were some client issues which borderlined dangerous, I had the impression that there was less of a parasitic aspect to it than what I was used to when I worked as a TSS in the BHRS program. I'd stay out of child welfare too-- I just came out of that, and it's sickening how kids are both coddled/enabled for lack of discipline (you can't say "MISbehaving" anymore) and psychotropically abused (that is, meds are pushed on them before healthy lifestyles, environmental changes, etc.). I have heard good things about the child foster care system.

Hello! I am also a former TSS from PA, and then transitioned into a case management job working with BHRS. As a case manager we were required to use our personal vehicles to drive to clients houses, and reimbursed for gas at a lower rate than the official governement rate, nut to mention the thousands of miles ut on our cars. In my experience, burn out as a TSS was completely dependent on the respect I received from other professionals such as teachers and behavioral specialists, as well as cooperation from the client's family. I was lucky and actually enjoyed being a TSS (usually) since I was able to see improvements in many of my clients. However when I became a case manager (which was full time, unlike the TSS position) I had to meet my billable time requirements which resulted in lots of paperwork off the clock, and I began to feel used by both clients and the organization I worked for. Burn out happened within six months. I'm no longer in that position, I left for a temporary and lower paying job. Now I'm looking for a social work job that will pay more and not require so much travel and what I call 'mandatory volunteer work.' Lol. I hope my experiences help in some way, best of luck in your career path!

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Bethany287 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina

24 months ago

Littlerock in Irving, Texas said: Hey Dan2012,

Try working for the VA. I am currently doing an internship with the VA now and I love it (I am also a veteran). I can't stand leeches that bleed the system dry and have a sense of entitlement, that irks me to no end. I can only work with populations that I feel really deserve assistance so that only leaves me with veterans and children . Grown lazy ass people that ride the government system like a magic carpet don't deserve a damn thing!

Hello! I have a bsw and would love to have a government job. The limited research I've done in working for the VA has shown that they tend to require MSW credentials, do you know if this is usually the case? It seems that the VA may be my best bet for a higher paying social work job in the government, but I've had some difficulty finding out if it's actually feasible. I'm a relatively new social worker but my mental health case-management experience has certainly left me with burn out. Hopefully a job like this would help pay off student loans... any advice would be much appreciated!!

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LoveGodFamily in Kansas City, Kansas

24 months ago

If you have an internship with the VA, then you have the inside scoop! I would encourage you to pursue this endeavor. I endured one of their "one way interviews" a few months ago, and unfortunately, the interviewee in charge was unprofessional. I do know a colleague who has been with the VA and loves her job.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

I have enjoyed this thread because everyone has been candid and honest about his or her feelings about this field! It is unfortunate that this field is not valued or respected as it should be. I believe social work could offer so much for both professionals and the clients we serve! Even in my current position, I have experienced what others have mentioned in previous threads...such as clients thinking that they are entitled, clients who are complacent in their living situation, and unmotivated among other things. As a social worker, I feel that I am enabling clients to use the system instead of learning skills to become self-sufficient. Also, in my experience, coworkers and supervisors have been so cynical about serving clients and if I had an issue concerning a client, their advice has been “it’s the population we work with” or “we have to meet where the client is at”. These statements have made me feel disempowered and disillusioned to truly help people because if the client is not motivated and I am assigned to assist them, the goals for the client will be difficult to accomplish.

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pfishermsw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

After a lot of soul searching and researching into various fields, I decided that I wanted pursue a nursing as a career. I learned that I enjoy helping people and now I have a fond interest in the sciences. I am currently taking Chemistry as part of the pre-reqs for accelerated BSN Programs and I am doing very well in the course. I even earned a 104% with extra credit on my first exam, which is a first for me because I have never earned an A in Chemistry! I also learned that I enjoy learning and I enjoy challenging myself, which nursing will provide for me. I am looking forward to utilizing my brain power and physical strength to assist people who are in need to become healthy again! However, I cannot speak badly about the field of social work because from my experience, I have learned how to communicate and advocate for my clients as well as what I don’t like to do such as high stress, low pay, and lack of appreciation for master level prepared professional! I hope that everyone will find his or her true calling and we must continue to “process” and support each other on these threads! I cannot speak for everyone here, but I truly value and respect everyone’s contribution to this thread because it has been very helpful to me!

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Latoya P. in Bronx, New York

24 months ago

Socioqueen in Brooklyn, New York said: Helping others is one of the hardest jobs around. You can only do it for so long before the imbalance of paying your energy forward all the time leaves you empty, angry or worse. The only way to really be a great social worker and make a life long career of it is to have some practice based experience and then apply that to a less demanding situation be it in managing others in a nonprofit, which is what I now do as VP for a national nonprofit, or transition into health policy, private health plan work, government or academia, all fields with transferable skills who hire MSWs and value their knowledge. But no one outside of social work understands these skills which is why we also have to understand sales and how to assert ourselves (not aggression, assertion) in ways where we may feel less of an advantage.

I have never regretted my degree but I do remember a time ten years ago when I absolutely had to get out of direct practice or I would die (that was the feeling anyway). The field of Aging is about to blow up in every direction, endless possibilities, and while it has not arrived yet those of us who pioneered it will commandeer it and I highly recommend getting involved from any direction of interest.

I can somewhat relate to what everyone is saying. I received my BSW and wasted no time getting my MSW, however, because of my lack of paid experience in the social work field I am having a difficult time finding employment. I barely get calls for interviews. I have been looking since May 2012 and nothing. It is taking a toll on me and my confidence is really down. My background is in retail and I decided to pursue a career in SW because I wanted to help and do something positive. I have two years of internship experience but those are not considered paid experience. I am tired and burned out from looking and sending my resume out everyday and I have now even started this career as yet. Any advice.

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Ladie Nell in Howard Beach, New York

24 months ago

Greetings, I have read your comment as well as every other ones below yours. I too am a social worker for the past 16 years. I realized something we all feel burnt out, underpaid for doing such an important or relevant job. But no one had any solutions for you or the rest of us. So here is a solution: We need to take the time out and discover the thing that makes us smile, that makes us happy. Something that we love to do, whether its a hobby. Turn that something into a career for you. Maybe we need to create our own business. And yes that would mean we have use energy a lot of time to get it jump start but at the end it will pay off. We can start enjoying life and working doing the very thing that we love and making endless monies. FoodForThought!!!

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apt2110 in North Carolina

24 months ago

I too am feeling very exhausted from working in this field since 2005. I went into the MSW program with great intentions on working with immigrants and refugees. After graduating, I couldn't find work with a refugee resettlement office, local non-profits that catered to immigrants. Most of the jobs I found were in community mental health, hospitals or with older adults. Now, after 5 years of graduating and working in the MH/SA and medical social work fields, I'm exhausted. The system is broken in the MH/SA field and I do not have strong desires to work with the geriatric population. I've tried to "fit in" to these field of work but my heart is just not there ...I want to go back to my initial interest, the driving force that made me go into social work.

I am constantly brainstorming on what to do next. I am thinking of possibly doing grant writing, program evaluation but I don't know where to find these job postings. That or working in domestic violence and immigrant/refugee populations. My husband and I will be moving back up north (to Michigan) and hopefully there will be more job opportunities in those areas up there. Right now where we are located just doesn't have them. If you know of an organizations that work with immigrants/refugees please let me know. I am familiar with some local refugee resettlement offices in MI, I have googled some domestic violence agencies but to my surprise I didn't find a lot in MI; I also know catholic social services and lutheran social services all provide services.

Please help! Any advice?

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FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan

24 months ago

apt2110 in North Carolina said: My husband and I will be moving back up north (to Michigan) and hopefully there will be more job opportunities in those areas up there. Right now where we are located just doesn't have them. If you know of an organizations that work with immigrants/refugees please let me know. I am familiar with some local refugee resettlement offices in MI, I have googled some domestic violence agencies but to my surprise I didn't find a lot in MI; I also know catholic social services and lutheran social services all provide services.

Please help! Any advice?

Hi apt2110

I don't know what part of Michigan you're moving to but Lutheran social services have refugee programs in Lansing (I just saw a posting on Indeed) and Bethany Christian services in Grand Rapids. Also there is a high percentage of immigrants moving to Macomb County so they need alot of help from those who are bilingual and/or have worked with refugees and immigrants. Maybe check out Macomb county's website or job search in that county. Also check out state of michigan jobs, they may have some there.

As far as domestic violence related there's HAVEN in Pontiac, Alternatives for Girls in Detroit, and ACCESS in Dearborn. That's all I can think of right now.

Good Luck!!

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pfishermsw in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

23 months ago

Hello Everyone,

I just had a very interesting conversation with a Social Work professional who has his LSW and is working on obtaining his LCSW. He has shared some interesting points on earning a LCSW in order to gain more opportunities to do private practice, supervise other social workers, as well as gain more opportunities for professional development. Even though, I am a LSW and I do have plans on working towards my LCSW, I am a concerned about the importance of solely going for my LCSW without considering additional opportunities for growth and personal satisfaction. As I mentioned before, I am taking prerequisite courses for nursing and ultimately become a Nurse Practitioner. What I would like to know, is there a great importance of earning a LCSW? Does anyone with a LCSW making a good income/salary and are able to have many options/opportunities as a professional?

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apt2110 in North Carolina

23 months ago

Thank you!

FaithAlways84 in Westland, Michigan said: Hi apt2110

I don't know what part of Michigan you're moving to but Lutheran social services have refugee programs in Lansing (I just saw a posting on Indeed) and Bethany Christian services in Grand Rapids. Also there is a high percentage of immigrants moving to Macomb County so they need alot of help from those who are bilingual and/or have worked with refugees and immigrants. Maybe check out Macomb county's website or job search in that county. Also check out state of michigan jobs, they may have some there.

As far as domestic violence related there's HAVEN in Pontiac, Alternatives for Girls in Detroit, and ACCESS in Dearborn. That's all I can think of right now.

Good Luck!!

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apt2110 in North Carolina

23 months ago

quick Q for folks who live in MI: I have been brainstorming a lot lately and I still want to work with immigrants/refugees but was thinking about the the possibilities of combining this interest with working with children?

I have my MSW and have been working in the field the past 4-5 years post Masters program mostly with older adults and MH/SA. If I were to go into school sw I believe I have to have a SSW 310 form completed and take additional courses at a Michigan School of SW and complete 500 hours (I think) of supervised training. What are people's thoughts on this?

Any school social workers out there? Will there be jobs available when I move back? I think my background in MH/SA and work with immigrants/refugees help. What are your thoughts? I am interested in working urban, suburban, rural wherever I'm needed. I'm looking to move back to the Metro Detroit area where I grew up.

thanks!

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Maura S. in Mount Vernon, New York

21 months ago

You guys should all be ashamed of yourselves. Quit complaining that you're burnt out. You're burnt out because you forgot 2 very important things: self care and ASKING FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT. There are many aspiring social workers and new social workers that feel motivated about making changes-& I don't mean career changes. I stumbled upon this sight looking for input about transitions within the field & what I found was people searching for a way out.. This is an amazing profession that I have found a great deal of fulfillment in. I love social work and I'm proud to say it!

So for all of those individuals that have unfortunately stumbled upon this site looking for helpful advice & input DON'T LISTEN TO THESE COMPLAINERS.

Thank you!

Maura S.
New York, New York
LMSW

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

21 months ago

Well, if you had read the title of this particular forum, it is called: "Career Transition From Social Work" so its fair to say you are in the wrong forum if you are looking for transition ideas within this field. By the way, "shouting" in a post is considered rude. And, making assumptions that people are burned out in the field for the two reasons you stated represents a very narrow focus. There can be many reasons why people feel burnt out in their job, but asking them to be ashamed of how they feel is no solution either.

Maura S. in Mount Vernon, New York said: You guys should all be ashamed of yourselves. Quit complaining that you're burnt out. You're burnt out because you forgot 2 very important things: self care and ASKING FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT. There are many aspiring social workers and new social workers that feel motivated about making changes-& I don't mean career changes. I stumbled upon this sight looking for input about transitions within the field & what I found was people searching for a way out.. This is an amazing profession that I have found a great deal of fulfillment in. I love social work and I'm proud to say it!

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DeelightedMSW in Tampa, Florida

21 months ago

I've read this post and it's nice to see how many others feel like I do. I've been in Social work for 5 years, I got my MSW two years ago and have had issues since I graduated. I'm relocating to Georgia soon and I'm hoping to find a school social worker position. I enjoy the field, but definitely not the pay or lack of respect that goes along with it. I've frequently thought about other fields that I could transition into, but it seems like I've pigeon holed myself into case management, mental health and medical social work.

Anyone in the Atlanta area know of a place that hires MSW (I applied for my LMSW and I'm awaiting for approval)?

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