Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How social work is like selling cars, and other life lessons.

Sarah called tonight upset about her "intro to case management" social work class at the community college. She said the teacher was talking about how social work involves "selling yourself" or "selling the agency you work for". Sarah said told the class she didn't enroll to become a used car salesman and the teacher inquired why exactly she did enroll. Um, to be a social worker? To learn how to do "case management"? This is why social workers A. have a bad wrap and B. are morons. Because 65 % of that class is listening to this bullshit like it's gospel.

Social work IS about selling. It's about selling people the fact that they can make good choices. That they can meet their own goals. You are "selling" them tools. Tools to help them "get better" or "recover" or whatever ridiculous social work-y buzz word you want to use. On a macro level it's about selling social justice, social change and fighting for the underdog. If you want to be a marketer or a salesman you should definitely go do that, but don't be a social worker. Marketing will make you more money and it won't be as hard.

The real jist of it is, if you are a good social worker, you don't have to sell yourself. Being good at your job and what you do IS the sales tool. Be yourself, be honest, work hard and have strong ethics and boundaries. However if you are an asshole social worker with your own agenda...then I guess you better get your marketing strategy ready, because you are going to need it. Or you could teach at a community college in Ohio.

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