A Day in the Life of... Social Workers

5th January 2017

This is quite an interesting and exciting opportunity. I spend my day so busy to actually take the time to write a reflective piece and show us, as social workers in a bit of a better light, I suppose. Now I’m not niave thinking that social work departments and individuals aren’t riddled with problems but many of us are really here for the right reasons. We are trying, and sometimes not doing so well, in a system that is against us and the young people and families we work with. We do have individual responsibility and sometimes that’s hard to take.


Anyway, my day usually starts at 8am and finishes at 5pm. This is what is on the books and, for some reason we hand things over to an emergency duty team after 5pm. But I take the young people and family home with me in my mind all the time. I spend most of my time during the day either in the car or at my desk. My contact time with people – my colleagues as well as clients – is quite limited. As for reflective discussion and personal development – forget it!


On paper, at least, I try and do the best for my clients and represent them well where I can. Maybe I’m kidding myself but I keep my mind busy with the feeling that young people and their families don’t really want to see their social worker. They have proper relationships with the people that work with them on a daily or weekly basis. Sometimes I’m not seen as a good figure even though I am a good person. I have to tell myself that a few times a day at least.


Today I felt compelled to write this reflective piece as I felt a bit more well-rounded in my thinking about my job and my profession. Over the new year I heard from a young person I cared for over 10 years ago. I’m so pleased they got in touch. They are doing so well – at college, single but loving mum, new family, paid work. She’s doing so much better than the national average for care leavers and way beyond the outcomes would recognise. More importantly, and more selfishly, I felt good about her. I felt good about the work we had done together to get her where she is.


Tomorrow is a different day and I never know what’s going to happen. I may have written something very different if you’d have caught me on a different day.


Joan (20 years in social work, Scotland)

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