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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I READ "THE SERENITY PRAYER." I was baffled by the part that read, "...and the wisdom to know the difference. "

Now, some twenty-odd years later, I can still get befuddled by that prayer.

Let's take this week for example:
I could not change the fact that my car started to leak transmission oil. I could not change the fact that my field instructor was no longer employed at my agency when I returned after winter break.

I needed serenity to accept these things that I could not change.

I also needed courage to change the things I could, which were minimal. By gathering information about the car repair, and talking with a supervisor at my internship, I was able to change the level of my anxiety from high to manageable.

Then, I once again needed serenity after I found out that the auto repair bill would amount to hundreds of dollars.

I needed even more serenity when I learned that I would be moved in my field practice to an area where I did not expect to be placed.

The wisdom to know the difference in these situations? For me, I had to realize that I could not control any part of it. The car had to be fixed. In order to repair the oil leak, the mechanic had to dismantle almost everything under the hood. And, because of this, the labor cost would reflect the amount of work he or she needed to do.

I can not determine where I am placed at my field agency. The good news is that I am excited about the area which is ongoing/family preservation. I will learn a lot about working with families, as well as gain valuable knowledge about field work and documentation.

The wisdom to know the difference (this week) means being a team player, opening my heart, and trusting that there are experts (mechanics and agency staff) who have reasons for doing what they do. The mechanic is fixing my car so I can drive it safely, and the agency is providing the necessary training so that I can become a responsible, knowledgeable social worker.

Simply put: it's all good!

~Ms. T. J.

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