A Shared Experience
I don’t know if anyone sets out with the intention of becoming a child protection social worker. It’s the type of job that finds you. It found me in my late twenties; young, eager to save the world, and perhaps a bit naïve.
When I would tell people what I did for a living, the response was always the same. “Wow, I could never do that.” And I’d give my standard reply, “Yeah, I wish I didn’t have to either.” Truth is, it’s the most difficult work I’ve ever done. But in those days, I had no idea how the experience was preparing me to become a coach, writer, instructor, and business owner.
During those years 15 years of doing child welfare and clinical social work, I learned more about human behavior, relationships, and the power of emotions than most people do in a lifetime. I also learned a great deal about government bureaucracy, the disenfranchisement of workers, and the inherent problems within the medical model of social work.
In my attempts to stay one step ahead of burnout, I moved into other positions in dependency court, behavioral health, residential treatment, and eventually transitioned into management. And with each new experience, I became more aware of my potential and less fearful about pursuing my dreams.
Nikole Seals, MSW
Discovering My Potential
Here’s what I realized that I wish someone had told me years ago. As social workers, we are conditioned and trained to be self-sacrificing; to put everyone else’s needs before our own. We buy into the outdated charity ideology that tells us we should give freely of our time; leaving us to question our value and worth. We are given these narrow career roads to travel, never being taught that we have options.
When I finally made the distinction that I’m not a social worker, but a highly trained professional with social work skills and experience, it was a game-changer. A whole new world of opportunity opened up for me. And now, I feel compelled to share that information with you. I want to help you re-invent your social work career and discover your untapped potential.
The Good Stuff
I’m highly sensitive to people’s (and animals!) energy and pain.
If a stray dog is on the side of the road, best believe I’m trying to rescue it.
I feel the need to save every glass jar I bring into my house.
I love to dance and will do so to the point of injury.
I refill my tank by spending time in nature and playing with my dog.
I swear when necessary and because it just feels right.
I think humor is more effective than anti-depressants.