In all of my social work classes, there has been one theme that is held as most important: avoiding burnout. Social work is hard because people are difficult. Frankly, there are no easy people, and when you have ones that are in a vulnerable situation, things are just that much harder. After all, you have to work within a system, and that’s never enjoyable. But burnout is common. Everyone needs to take care of themselves, and it’s especially important if other people are depending on you.
I often find myself passionate about helping people and making the system into one where that is easy (as sometimes the system makes it hard to give the best care, whether it’s the legal system or the organizational system). However, I have met many social workers who have been doing this for a long time who have stopped caring as much. They typically find more fault in the client than in the situation surrounding the client. I’m hoping that I never hit that point. I don’t want to ever become so burnt out that I am jaded towards everything about social work. I really and truly want to help.