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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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Did You See This?!

DEAR ABBY: Our daughter "Melanie" is finishing her master's degree in social work. She's excited about pursuing her future career; however, when we tell our friends about her, we get disappointing -- and sometimes, hurtful -- responses. Some samples: "Whose idea was that?!" "You know she's going to starve, don't you?" "Oh ... they don't make much money," and, "I'm sorry!" These comments come from people with whom we've had warm relationships for years.

We know our daughter won't be rich. That's not her objective. We're proud of Melanie's choice and how hard she has prepared. We think she'll be a wonderful social worker. We have always been supportive of our friends' children and their choices. Is there a way to respond to these people without being rude? -- PROUD PARENTS IN DES MOINES

You should be proud. You have raised a daughter who will make an important contribution to the lives of those she touches. When someone makes a thoughtless comment such as the ones you mentioned, tell them what you wrote to me: "We're proud of our daughter's choice and how hard she has worked to prepare. We know she'll be a wonderful social worker." Period.

Read more at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucda/20110618/lf_ucda/starinhisgirlfriendseyestriggersboyfriendsjealousy;_ylt=ArW9RsGTN8OH7d6mN1cizS3NbbUC;_ylu=X3oDMTNxMnBhcXY4BGFzc2V0A3VjZGEvMjAxMTA2MTgvc3RhcmluaGlzZ2lybGZyaWVuZHNleWVzdHJpZ2dlcnNib3lmcmllbmRzamVhbG91c3kEcG9zAzcEc2VjA3luX3BhZ2luYXRlX3N1bW1hcnlfbGlzdARzbGsDc3RhcmluaGlzZ2ly


  1. Argh! I hate the stereotype of social worker automatically equating to a life of poverty.

  2. Cheap Social WorkerJune 23, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    This article definitely hit a nerve with me because these are the same types of responses I heard from family and acquaintences when I graduated with my MSW.  Instead of pride, my I was received with shame, with my own mother telling me that my entire family thought I was a failure because despite my high grades, I am now "just a social worker" instead of a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.

    While this article won't help my personal situation, I'm glad that Jeanne Phillips choose to stand up for the social workers in her column.  I can only hope that the profession's reputation improves as more people learn about the important services we provide.

  3. It's funny, Cheap Social Worker...  when those of us who are "just social workers" do our jobs well, there is less violence and addiction (less need for doctors), less fighting (less need for most types of lawyers), and we help to create successful working people (a requirement to be an engineer). 

    So your mother is right, you're not a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, you're the person who has a part in how successful they are.  In what other profession do you get to have such an impact?!

  4. Regardless of whether the field pays well or not, it is unfortunate that money is so important to some people. Having a job that you love or being great at your job does not seem to be a factor. I get comments like these all the time and I wonder what to say.