Monday, August 27, 2007

Career Interview: Social Work

I'm starting a new feature this week. As a career counselor I get a unique glimpse into many different people's life work stories. I think one of the best way to evaluate your own career fit is to listen to what others do and how they feel about it. Today I'd like you to meet my friend Zoe.

Dave: In simple terms, what exactly is it you do?

Zoe: I am a Social Worker and presently supervise a foster care department. My responsibilities include interviewing, hiring and training employees; planning, assigning and directing work; addressing complaints and resolving problems.

I also assist in the recruitment, training, licensing and re-certification of foster parent providers and oversee our foster parent training. I ensure our compliance to our guidelines and process our referrals for placement.

Most importantly I ensure that out children are placed in properly trained and licensed foster homes; make sure that 24 hour on-call support is provided for our regional foster care providers; and when needed, I also provide crisis intervention.

Dave: Who do you work for?

Zoe: Christian Children's Home of Ohio

Dave: On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the job from hell and 10 being heaven on earth) how would you rank your career satisfaction and why?

Zoe: At this time I would have to say an 8. From the time that I was in 8th grade, I knew that I wanted to be working with and for children. About 13 years ago God let me know that my calling is working with and encouraging children in whatever way I can. That's why I chose Social Work for my career.

Dave: What's most gratifying about what you do?

Zoe: At this present time, it's knowing that I'm putting children into safe environments as they are coming out of unsafe ones. It’s seeing God give me an encouraging word for a child and giving children what I call jewels from Heaven. It’s having the opportunity to encourage a child in the midst of pain and offering them hope and watching them actually walking away with hope.

Dave: What's most frustrating or dissatisfying?

Zoe: The department not having enough money to really do the job that we could be doing. All the demands of paperwork that is now involved with Medicaid and insurance.

Dave: If someone (either a student or mid-career transition type person) wanted to pursue a similar career what steps would you suggest to them?

Zoe: I would encourage them to get their Master's Degree in Social Work because there are so many more opportunities and positions that open up for you. If you don't like paperwork and required deadlines for its completion then don't choose Social Work as a career.

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