Re-discover your passion for social work
By Gemma Raw
If you’ve been working within the same social work job role for a considerable length of time, you may notice that your motivation starts to slip. This doesn’t mean that you care any less for the people you support, but it’s human nature that after a while, your routine can start to feel slightly monotonous.
You may find that the increasing number of caseloads, the pressurised environment, and the continuous budget cuts have affected your motivation. Or it could simply be that you’re looking for a new challenge which will excite and inspire you. Perhaps you just need a reminder of why you trained to become a social worker in the first place.
If this sounds familiar, here are some of our top tips to help you re-energize yourself and re-discover your passion for social work!
Why did you train to become a social worker?
Our candidates regularly tell us that they chose to train as a social worker because it was a “calling”. They wanted to help others and make a difference in society.
It’s a noble cause, and we’re continuously inspired by our candidates when they tell us their personal reasons for working within the social work sector.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. You may find that taking a few moments to think back to why you chose to work as a social worker could remind you of your original intentions. Perhaps you have some old textbooks that you can look through or some mementoes of highlights within your career that could jog some memories. When you’re working hard and you’re feeling overwhelmed with administration tasks, it can be easy to forget the important role that you play within a person’s life. If you read our recent interview with Ashley John Baptiste, you’ll see exactly how influential you can be to an individual.
What encouraged you to apply for your current job role?
You may feel that your lack of motivation is directly attributable to your current job role. Perhaps you feel discouraged by office politics, or maybe you don’t feel a connection with your colleagues.
If your feelings are directly influenced by your workplace, then use some reflective time to think about why you initially chose to work in your current social work job role. Perhaps you felt it was a step towards your overall career goals, or maybe it was an opportunity to work alongside someone you hugely respect.
If you are feeling unsure about your current role, then perhaps you could conduct your own SWOT analysis. Jotting down some notes on what the strengths and weaknesses are could help to redefine your job role within your mind. You can also look at what the opportunities/threats are in relation to your career. You may find that viewing your job role with a different perspective could be enough to re-motivate you.
Do you have a five-year plan for your social work career?
Many social workers feel stuck in a rut purely because they aren’t sure how their job is supporting their overall career goals. If you’ve been working in a long-term job role, have you analysed how your career has advanced?
Taking a long-term view of your career is a great way to re-motivate yourself. Having something to work towards can be hugely inspiring as you know what you want to achieve and how you want to get there. Think about where you see yourself in five years’ time. Perhaps you want to be a service manager, or maybe you have your eyes set on becoming a Director of Service. There’s plenty of opportunities to develop your social work career whether you’re working as a permanent practitioner or an independent social worker. You may find that speaking directly to your Sanctuary consultant could inspire you further. Having a conversation with an independent person may help you to view your career differently. If our team are aware of what you want to achieve in your career, then we can work with you to help it happen.
Are there any key issues which are affecting your motivation?
Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint where a lack of motivation is coming from; other times it can be more complex.
If you feel that your lack of motivation stems from a lack of appreciation or acknowledgement from your boss, then perhaps arrange a time where you can speak directly with your team manager. Use this time to talk about what is working well and find out if there are any training opportunities which could help you to improve or update your skills. Often simply participating in a training workshop and meeting new people can inspire and remind you of your passion for social work.
What is your work-life balance like?
One of the most important things that you can do to prevent yourself from feeling de-motivated, is making sure that you have a positive work-life balance.
It may seem simple, but if you’re not adequately relaxing at home and switching off from the pressures of work, you’ll find that you become burned out. Thanks to advances in technology, it’s easy to remain “on” all the time – you may think that answering a quick email at 11pm at night is no big deal, but it’s important that you do take time to look after yourself. Taking the time to do something that you enjoy can be one of the most important things that you do. If you’re working all the time, you’ll feel lethargic and frustrated and you’ll start to resent your work.