Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The company I keep

I may be one of the few people who can be somewhat grateful for the state of the economy.

It is actually a good thing that I need to cut back my hours from 40 to 30 next semester. My editor said she might have had to cut some people's hours if revenue didn't pick up, so I feel like I took one for the team! Who says I'm not a team player?

Wow. Talk about timing. If business was booming, she might have said, "Sorry. We need you here 40 hours, or else..."

Instead, she said she might not be able to bring my status back to 40 hours immediately following the semester's end. I told her I didn't expect her to, and I know it would be hard for me to go back to 40 anyway.

I am counting my blessings today. I get to stay a while longer at a decent wage and, most importantly, I get to keep my benefits. That was my deal breaker. I carry the benefits for my husband and me, and I was most concerned about that.

I can keep my full benefits as long as I work 30 hours per week.

So, what do you think, fellow students and Master's level social workers? Can I work 30 hours, do a (weekly) 20-hour field practice, take 4 classes and get all my studying and homework done?
I'd really like to hear your stories. How did you do it?

I sometimes worry about the toll on my marriage and my mental health in terms of all of this "doing." I have to remind myself it is temporary. Just one and a-half years to go!

--Ms. T. J.


  1. Congrats on negotiating your hours with your boss. That is a pretty heavy schedule...it's amazing what we can do when we are motivated! The important thing is to take care of YOURSELF. You will be able to determine how it all fits together once you get started with your placement. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

  2. Grad school in inself is demanding-and it will fly by, I promise. I graduated in 2003 and I went to school full-time, and worked two part-time jobs. There were definitely days where I wondered if I would be able to make it through the semester, tears of frustration were shed. When I started to feel sorry for myself, I would look at my mom who went to grad school when I was 3 and my brother was 5. She managed to balance working 30 hours/ week, marriage and raising two small children- and she did very well in her studies. I ask her how she managed to do it all, and her response was, "After I'd put you and your brother to bed, I'd do my reading and write my papers. I didn't sleep much but I did what I had to do." It's amazing how resilient each of us really are when we're put under such intense pressure.

  3. Time management. Sense of humour. Knowing 18 months is going to fly by. Knowing how to unwind... Social work is filled with non-traditional students: army wives, grandparents, single parents... We have the strength within us. Make sure you have healthy support. You can do it!


  4. YES YOU CAN!! I am going into my last semester of grad school. I work 40 hours a week, I do 21 hours of internship and attend school full time.It is difficult and switching from student, to intern, to worker, to mom, to wife is a juggling act but this is an investment that's worth it. You also have to tell yourself that this is not forever-there is a light at the end of tunnel..

  5. Hi TJ. Just came across your blog today. What a great gig! I just graduated with my MSW and would have loved to follow this blog then too. As for you schedule, like previous commenters said you will probably be able to do everything. I will be honest with you and say that along the way there will most lively be areas that will suffer. It can be exhausting during certain periods of the semester, especially when papers/presentations are due. My question for you is this: do you absolutely need to work as many hours/carry as heavy a class load? The time that you get to spend as an MSW student is extremely short especially for what can be such a transformative experience. Best of Luck!

  6. I am so psyched by all of your feedback. Thank you!