Five myths about Social Workers
Social Work is an easy option and not a ‘proper job’
There are lots of people out there who seem to think that Social Work isn’t a ‘proper job’. Even some of my closest friends imagine that I spend my days either playing with kids or sat discussing liberal ideas with my colleagues in the office.
Far from being an easy job, Social Work takes a great deal of dedication before you even begin your training. Universities and Colleges will only accept you if you’ve spent a significant amount of time volunteering or working in a relevant job prior to applying for your course.
Add to this a minimum three-year degree-course in the UK (longer in the US and other parts of the world), with 200 days of working for free, and Social Work becomes one of the toughest degrees you can take.
As for the work itself… just look at how many people have to leave the profession, the long hours and the substantial evidence-base needed to operate and come tell me it’s an easy way of life!
The job pays poorly
There’s a notion that all Social Workers are poorly paid and, while the idea of what are good and bad rates of pay is subjective, the fact is that we earn a decent wage in comparison to most people in the world.
In the United Kingdom, USA, Canada and Australia, the average starting Social Work salary exceeds the national average wage. That means that Social Workers are already earning more money than most people as soon as we get our first position.
Yes, our hourly rates can seem poor given many of us work unpaid overtime, but it’s wrong to think that we don’t get a decent wage (especially in comparison to some of those we support).
With more experience, independent Social Workers and Locum practitioners can see their wages approaching six figures.
Child Protection Social Workers get paid to take children away from their families
This has to be one of the biggest myths about Social Workers and, for as long as you’ve been a Social Worker, you’ll have likely been accused of taking people’s children away for a bonus… even if you’re not in Child Protection!
The fact is that taking children into care costs the state a massive amount of money and Social Workers strive to do anything we can to avoid having to take this step.
Yes, foster carers and their agencies get paid, but that isn’t because Social Workers want to- it’s because we have to!
And as for the adoption targets you might have read about- they are in place to help ensure children who need to find adoptive parents do so promptly. It is not a target for Social Workers to go out there and lie to forcibly adopt children.
All Social Workers are middle-classed liberal hippies
One of the beautiful things about the Social Work profession is that practitioners come from all walks of life and bring such a varied range of experiences with them into their work.
There are Social Workers from all classes, faiths, backgrounds and races.
There are even some Social Workers who voted for Donald Trump!
Only poor and lower class people need Social Workers
Rounding off our myths about Social Workers is the one that says we only support people who are deemed by others to be lower class or in poverty. This couldn’t be further from the truth because Social Workers are there for everybody!
We are there to support anybody who needs us and, wherever somebody’s suffering, we are available to help out.
It doesn’t matter how rich you are, where you were educated or how big your house is, Social Workers are able to support you if you need us.