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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Line Between "Social Worker" and "Person"

For those who don’t know, I am the Program Director of a social service agency that serves low-income senior citizens in a housing community within Queens, New York (NYC-area). On a daily basis, I am surrounded by seniors who have raised their children, who have fought in our wars, who have spent 50+ years working, and all of whom have a small enough income to qualify for housing assistance.

Of course, I have my beliefs about that situation as a whole (which I’m sure most of you echo), but the question of this post is focused on the difficulties in drawing the line between work and self.

Although I live on a social worker’s salary (and have a social worker’s amount of student loan debt), I have chosen to live a life that sacrifices in some areas (roommates vs. living alone, for example). This allows me to have a bit of extra money sometimes. While I work as hard for my money as the next person, and while I fully believe in the freedom to spend as the earner so chooses, I sometimes feel guilty for spending on luxuries when I know how little my clients have. In some ways, it’s a wonderful encouragement; helping me to remain focused on contributing regularly to my retirement and savings accounts in hopes of procuring a more financially lucrative future for myself when I become a senior. In other ways though, I struggle with finding the line between nurturing myself in ways I have earned and feeling a sense of remorse when spending money on items I don’t really need.

Am I alone in this? If not, how do you all combat this juxtaposition?

No comments:

Post a Comment