Not all social workers are bleeding hearts!

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  • #7994

    Linda-C
    Participant

    I am a social worker and want to know what people think of people in the profession. I am a conservative white female. However, because I am a social worker, people tend to think I must be a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ because I work with people who are less fortunate or have mental health problems. Also, is there a stereotype of women in this profession as being ‘dowdy’ as compared to women in other professions, for example, in the business field? I am asking because I recently retired and am seeking a career change, and I do not know whether the employers I’ve sent resumes to are not considering me because of stereotypes about me or because of my qualifications.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Linda-C, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 55, City : Ann Arbor, State : MI Country : United States, Occupation : Social worker, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #30774

    Serene28053
    Participant

    Hmmm. Interesting question. I would never have thought of social workers as being dowdy any moreso than anyone else, and don’t attribute it to any profession. I would think that most people don’t really realize when they have come into contact with a social worker. The connotation is that they are all beleagured, overworked, underpaid government workers steeped in bureaucracy and protocols per TV and movies. The truth is social workers exist in some fashion in about all fields. There are the social workers who work with the school system, designing programs to help children learn. In the business world, EAP counselors assist workers with all sorts of issues. There is even a bit of social work in practically every facet of our everyday lives. Aren’t some of the the most prevailing assets and talents of a social worker empathy and reaching out to people, providing insight? I could see a social worker in almost any field; they would be very useful in, say, human resources, matching the ‘right’ skill set and ’emotional’ skills with the ‘right’ job. Or in marketing, banking, medical etc.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Serene28053, Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Age : 44, City : Chandler, State : AZ Country : United States, Occupation : Self-Contractor, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #36239

    Annie23889
    Participant

    I used to work in a department of social services in Virginia, and found all the social workers who I worked with to be wonderful people – basically compassionate and caring. None of them were dowdy. Most were quite attractive and interesting. I think the reason you are not getting too many responses to your applications is your age. I’m sure you are not listing your DOB, but a prospective employer will be able to tell you are older because of the graduation dates you list, or just due to the length of experience. It’s tough to switch careers at this age. I changed my career in my 40s, and it took me a long time to land a decent job. Hang in there. Persistence will pay off.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Annie23889, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 51, City : Lawrenceville, State : GA Country : United States, Occupation : copy editor, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #36133

    valerie
    Member

    Have two very close friends who work for DCF here in Florida. One who I met, had been in the field for about ten years, and the other I knew as she was entering the field. The first was disgusted, unhappy and counting the days until retirement. The second was full of hope and good intentions. Now, years later, they both act like a truck has run over them everyday. No compassion, very racist and try to suck up every benefit the state gives them to make the whole thing worthwhile. The system itself is set-up to fail its clients and its employees. State Workers are beat down to complacency and indifference. Yes they do get dowdy and ill-tempered. All the play is taken out of the pup, so to speak.

    User Detail :  

    Name : valerie, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Mormon, Age : 45, City : Ft. Lauderdale, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : sales, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #30224

    Erika25252
    Participant

    I honestly do think that the assumptions you mentioned exist. There is a sterotype of a dowdy looking woman, one less hip, stylish or elegantly attired. I think this has to do with the well-known salary limitations of this field, much less than corporate jobs. People think that social workers couldn’t afford to dress sharp and I also think there is an earth-mother/DMV connotation. Addtionally, I think people assume that those in corporate jobs are more professional, polished and have better skills. I don’t know if this is why you aren’t getting called back, but it could be a factor. I would make sure that your resume is very current in style, verbage and format to show you are as professional and up-to-date as other candidates. Anotehr unfair sterotype that could be working against you is your age. I have seen older candidates discriminated against a few times.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Erika25252, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 32, City : Madison, State : WI Country : United States, Occupation : Asst. Director of Marketing, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper class, 
    #43152

    Terry
    Participant

    I am a social worker and I feel that there is a lot of negativity towards the social work profession. When I tell someone that I am a social worker or what agency I work for, the most typical response I get it ‘oh you poor thing’ or ‘you must not make much money’. I would not have chosen this career if I didn’t love it, and because I love it, I don’t focus on the money aspect of it. I think that people need to realize what social workers really do…and no we don’t all take children away from their parents. Our interests and skills are varied and are cross-diciplanary. I think that in your job search and in your resume, you should write about your skills that you have developed and how they can be used in the new field you are interested in.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Terry, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, City : Newport, State : RI Country : United States, Occupation : social worker, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #14738

    nerol snevets
    Participant

    add to your resume…’volunteer Republican…election department’ (and do the service)this pretty much steps on atleast one of your issues. It also illustrates that you are civic minded with the election process. regards, nerol

    User Detail :  

    Name : nerol snevets, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Lutheran, Age : 59, City : las vegas, State : NV Country : United States, Occupation : retired, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #37559

    Cindy31940
    Participant

    Speaking from personal experience I would not group social workers into a bleeding heart category or even a ‘skinned’ heart category. Fortunately, I had the experience of dealing with a social worker who felt the need to talk down to me and assume I was only there to work the system. I understand this may happen more times than not, but in my case I developed a goal. My goal became to educate myself and make more money than her. It may sound strange but that lady did nothing else than show me that if she could make something of herself with her attitude, I could do much better. I have. It may be your age, but you may be applying to someone who you once ‘worked with’.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Cindy31940, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 30, City : Appleton, State : WI Country : United States, Occupation : Technology, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #26286

    Paul
    Member

    I couldn’t concur more heartily regarding the age issue. As a placement counselor I would see many people trying to make a post retirement move and end up hitting a glass wall if they wanted to change to another professional career. I think that you may well use your cover letter to give an employer a sense of who you are and what you can bring to a position. It should whet their appetite to know more about you. Age is not the real issue many times. What they want to know is whether you can hit the ground running with a minimum of training and above all else–are you still flexible enough to adapt to change. A top-flight cover letter or even distributing your resume by hand can dispel those concerns. You’d be surprised how many front desk people can size you up positively and their opinions often count. They may have to work with you,too! Give your resume a functional focus rather than just titles and dates. Do you have current transferable skills? Make sure an employer knows what you have to offer. As an employer, I have been known to hire people who kept at me a little. They weren’t obnoxious, but they let me know that they were still interested. Persistence can pay off if done with finesse. You must be realistic as well. At 51 some fields are closed by age. It costs a great deal to train a new employee in some fields and an employer is looking at the payback time when hiring and training. Your goal is to get to the interview stage. That is where you have the opportunity to shine and dispel any concerns–real or stereotypical.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Paul, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Disability : diabetes, migraines, spinal deterioration, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Quaker, Age : 53, City : Normal, State : IL Country : United States, Occupation : university placement counselor, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
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