"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope".
This week is Social Work Week. Let me first say that I am proud to be a part of this profession. Secondly, I'd like to mention when I saw the theme for this year, my first thought was how fitting that they chose this theme. Every year the theme is consistent in talking about issues that social workers face with their clients, but I think this year's theme really hits the nail on the head. This year's theme (in Ontario) is: Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work.
I can't speak for others, but in my experience I am seeing firsthand how the economy has affected individuals, and families. Making ends meet has become a priority more than ever, with people lacking financial, social, and community resources. People are losing jobs they have worked in for years due to downsizing; graduates are coming out of school with a lack of jobs ready for them, as they are ready to pay down debt. As well, baby boomers are seeing their adult children move back home, minimizing their ability to save money as they are once again supporting their children. This is a dim picture, but it is reality. As a young social worker, I can tell you that I hear many of these stories from people I personally know. Many people I went to school with are struggling to find careers in their fields, or start families because of limited finances. I am finding that more and more people are losing hope in their dreams and passions, and are losing faith in believing that things will get better.
As I mentioned in last week's blog, in times like these you have to become creative in how you find and retain a job. And, you need motivation and dexterity to stay in the game. The days are gone when you finish school and find that forever job, which offers you stability for 30 plus years. Times have changed. With this said, there are some things you have control over. You have the ability to search for jobs, network, and add experience to your resume. You also have the ability to keep trying. It's important to recognize this, so you don't lose hope.
It's easy to forget that many people are going through the same things as you in this economy. Feeling you are not alone can make you feel less isolated in your situation. As well, part of not having hope comes from thinking there are no options. Recognize that there are always options, but sometimes you need help in finding them. This is where a Social Worker comes in.
Social workers are here to help, and whether it be in the non-profit field, private practice, or in another capacity, it is important to know that sometimes you can't do things alone. Whether this help involves mental health issues, career counselling, advocacy, navigating resources in the community, or getting help in a crisis, Social Workers are skilled in various areas. Social Workers are here to restore hope, and help you find the internal and external resources to improve your wellbeing.
If you would like to know more about what social workers do, visit the Canadian Association of Social Workers' website.