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 30, 2011

Is it 2012 Already?!

A year ago, I was asked to be the 2011 blogger. Although the writer in me loved the idea, the new professional was admittedly terrified. I wasn't sure I'd have enough to write about, that I'd be self-aware enough to recognize my mistakes, and that I would be brave enough to admit to them so publicly.

And somehow, approximately 50 posts later, here we are. This blog has given me a space to share the experiences I've had in my first year post-MSW, it's allowed me a forum to express my NASW-aligned beliefs, it's presented me the opportunity to ask you all for advice, and it's forced me to reexamine so many of the things I thought I knew.

In the year of weekly blog posts, I've earned my LMSW, watched marriage equality pass in NY, lost my first job due to restructuring, and have become increasingly aware of how important the social work community is, in all its incarnations.

The latest edition of The New Social Worker Magazine has just come out, in which I've shared my New Year's Resolutions. I hope they will encourage you to make your own and to begin and live your 2012 in the best possible light.

More though, I hope you know how important you've all been as I've chronicled my past year here. Some of you have commented, some of you have emailed privately, some of you have simply clicked to let me know when you've found something cool, interesting and/or funny. Regardless, you've been participants in my life. You've taken moments from your own busy schedules to peek into my world and for that, I am both incredibly humbled and unspeakably grateful.

In Social Work Solidarity, Your 2011 Blogger, Kryss

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Online Friendships/Social Networking

I know, I know, I am totally out of the norm... not posting last Friday (I was spending the day with the incredible Susan Mankita, L.C.S.W.) and today isn't Friday, but I really had the urge to update now, so forgive my being 6 days late or 1 day early, depending how you look at it. I've just been so recently majorly impacted by social networking that I couldn't help but come to this networking site and write about it.

Saturday night, my dog had an emergency and it began a 3 day whirlwind of panic and fear for me as he spent the days in the ICU. Every bit of my energy and every bit of my strength was being telepathically sent to him. My days were filled with calls to the vet, visits to see him and to put my hand into his incubator cage and nights were filled with sheer terror at the very real possibility I'd lose him.

I can truly say that the only thing that held me together was the world through the internet. A breed specific website I'd joined when I rescued him gave me comments of hope and well wishes with folks from everywhere checking in for my updates. Emails came from those who had heard about the situation. Most of all, facebook allowed me to spend my hours typing with people who loved and supported me during a time when I was too afraid to speak the words but when I needed others more than I could articulate.

I got lucky, very very lucky. Nikko rallied and got to come home. But I was also incredibly lucky to have been held up by incredibly supportive people.

Please please keep in mind how helpful the internet can be in trying times. Although it's known for being full of porn and useless videos of kittens and celebrity gossip, it is also a place to reach out and a place to reach back. With the holidays here, please remember to ask for the emotional support you need and to give the extra you may have, it truly can change (or save) someone's life.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Public Speaking

Today I gave another presentation to a group of students at Columbia University, this time within their Nursing Department. My presentation is called "LGBT 101" and when I first created it, it was a Powerpoint with slides and was pretty basic. As I have continued to give this talk though, I'm becoming increasingly thrilled with the level at which students have been open to talking and making it more of a conversation and discussion than a lecture. Much of this is due to the media and the political campaigns happening, no question, but it's bringing up some great points and counterpoints. The presentation was initially scheduled for 45 minutes and grew into almost 3 hours of story sharing, example discussions, and I really feel we all left the room a bit more enlightened than we'd entered.

I really hope to continue to be asked by companies, organizations, and schools to present on this topic, I truly enjoy spreading current and topical information to those whose ignorance is easy to correct when their minds are open to learning!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Outside the Box

I was chatting with a fellow social worker the other day who spends her off time taking belly dancing classes. We got to talking about her love of dance and how much of my free time is spent within the theater community and it's led me to wonder what other fields and areas social workers feel connected to.

In the generations past, it was expected that a working person (typically male) had one job in one field at one company until retirement. As companies and loyalties changed, it became more acceptable to switch companies, but there still seemed to be an assumption that a person had one career. Now though, when the economy may not allow us the "American Dream" in terms of property ownership or giant nest eggs, more folks than ever are finding a different version of their ideal life, one based on happiness more than on possession.

It certainly makes it interesting to figure out what to put on one's personal business cards, doesn't it? If I were to include everything, I suppose mine would say, "Professional Social Worker/Writer/Educator/Associate Producer/Public Speaker/Activist/Advocate/Blogger/Columnist" and whew, the business card would need to be the size of a full sheet of paper!

What would YOUR business card say if it included everything you do?