career move, was it the right career move?, career change

Was it the right career move?

By Gemma Raw

If you have moved into a new social work role, are you sure it’s the right one for you?

If you’re a locum social worker, you’ll be used to working short term contracts and moving onto new positions, but what happens if you start a new role and you immediately feel that it wasn’t the right fit for you and your skills? The first week of any new job is always full of nerves and apprehension. Whether you’re an NQSW or you’ve spent more than 20 years working within the social work profession, first day jitters are always the same. But sometimes those jitters are more than first day nerves. Sometimes they are your gut instinct telling you that you’ve made the wrong career choice. 

When faced with the realisation that your career move isn’t what you hoped for, there are a variety of options. Firstly, we would always recommend speaking directly with your Sanctuary consultant to establish what the job expectations were. If you have issues regarding working hours, pay rates or even a duty of care to your clients, then your Sanctuary consultant is your ally to help rectify any issues. 

We would also recommend speaking to your line manager. After all, if you have any concerns about the work that you are doing, they will be best placed to advise and guide you. 

Knowing if you’ve made the right career decision

Moving to any new job is always a risk. You may be ready to leave your current role, but how do you know if the next role is right for you and your career? 

We take a look at some of the common signs which indicate you’re making a good career choice, as well as sharing a few warning signs which could show that you’re making a mistake…. 

Signs which indicate a great career choice

1. You feel like you have plenty of options to continue your training and personal development. With CPD a requirement of registration, you may be looking for an employer who is willing to continually invest in your ongoing training. For locum social workers, you may have a supportive line manager who works hard to share details of CPD opportunities with all staff members, regardless of whether they are short-term or permanent employees. 

2. You’re clear about where you want to go in your career, and how you’re going to get there. When you’re looking to move into a new role, think about where you ultimately see your social work career, and then you can decide which path will lead you there. Perhaps you want to chair child protection meetings; maybe you want to become a service manager, or you may even harbour thoughts of becoming a Director of Service. If you know what your ambitions are, it’s much easier to take the right steps in that direction rather than simply falling into another social work job role. 

3. You feel happy and motivated to go to work. If you’re excited to get to the office every morning because you know that you’re making a genuine difference to the life of a vulnerable person, then you know that you’ve made the right choice.

Warning signs which should be listened to

1. Is the job significantly different to what you expected? After speaking with your Sanctuary consultant to find out any further information, you may find that the job role is actually very different to what was advertised. Often companies may reuse old job adverts without realising that the new role is significantly different. If this is the case, speak to your Sanctuary consultant and your line manager to try and resolve any issues.

2. Are you struggling to ingratiate yourself with your new team? You may be used to working in a strong team dynamic where everyone bonds together, but upon arrival at your new job role, you may find it hard to get to know your colleagues. Feeling like an outsider is never a nice feeling, but with so many caseloads to deal with, it is likely not personal. 

3. Are you recognised for your efforts? Unfortunately, social work is such a fast-moving profession that it can often feel difficult to receive recognition for your hard work. If you’ve experienced a positive outcome for a child or adult, or you’ve successfully trialled a new initiative then make sure you take the time to tell your team manager. You don’t need to overdo it, but simply sending a quick email to tell them of what has worked could spark inspiration for other members of your team working on similar cases. 

4. Are you really ready to move on, or are you just having a bad day? We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a bad day at work and immediately hit the jobs boards to see what else is available. But if you’re not emotionally ready to let go of your previous job, then it may be the wrong time to move on. 

If you're not happy with your career move, browse our jobs and get in touch! We have written a selection of pieces around starting and navigating your social work career.