People told me I was crazy when I told them I was going to school to get my masters in social work. "You'll get burnt out! And you'll never make a living!" Maybe, but I'll also change people's lives.
No one wakes up one day saying, "I would like to work with clients who have aggressive behaviors and who may threaten to damage my car!" It's not easy working with a client population who struggles to understand how to cope with their thoughts and feelings. But, you don't do it because it's easy, you do it because it literally changes people. I love having hard conversations with my clients about their behaviors, because it helps you get to the root cause of them. We cannot make change unless we are willing to identify why people react the way they do. It's challenging and knowing what causes certain behaviors won't necessarily change them, but it can help the people around them understand them better and show more compassion.
One of the things I love most about my job is watching someone reach success. I so deeply enjoy taking on clients who are labeled as challenging or "impossible", because it is my belief that no one is that impossible. Humans need support and structure in order to be successful. By taking someone off the streets, providing them with housing, money for groceries, and a regular face at their door to check on their personal safety, we not only impact the client's live, we make an impact on the community.
Social work is hard. But if it was easy, we wouldn't really need social workers any more and then I might need to think twice about my decision. :)
Giulia Pecone - Residential Program Manager