How many of you are still in touch with your social work classmates? With social workers you no longer work with? Whom you’ve met at conferences, rallies, sit-ins, meetings, or CEU classes?
It seems like an odd conundrum to me, socializing with fellow social workers. On one hand, the work we do is often completely emotionally draining. We often give so much of ourselves that we either burn out or need to be taught skills to avoid burning out. Logically, why would we want to think or talk social work in our precious free time? On the other hand though, we are people who hear the world’s problems on a micro, mezzo, and macro level each day. We get sworn at and spit on. We fight City Hall. We struggle to pay our own bills so we can make donations to those in greater need. Who else could better understand why we do this than each other?
This past Tuesday, I had the incredible pleasure of spending the evening with two of the social workers I admire most of all. Collectively, we had almost 100 years of social work experience (admittedly, 97% of that didn’t come from me). Together, we dined and then saw the incredible Broadway show La Cage aux Folles, which is, in a sense, a very “social worky” show. (Based on the film, The Birdcage, the show involves a gay couple who own a transvestite nightclub and their son, who is marrying the daughter of a very conservative and homophobic politician. The story unfolds in how they each relate to each other and how those relationships impact the way they each see the world.)
Heading home from that evening, I got to thinking about the classmates I adored whom I’ve somewhat lost touch with, the former colleagues I’ve always meant to call, and the others I’ve met along the way. It’s tough, keeping in touch with everyone from every event, but perhaps, thanks to text messaging, facebook, skype, and other options, we ought to make more of an effort. After all, who else understands us better than we do?!
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.
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