After working several consecutive night shifts, it’s safe to say that my sense of humor is similar to the one in this article. I know a lot of people right now who could really use some of the health benefits in the article by taking a break. Working in a windowless office can sometimes feel so confining and restrictive and despite the fact that the article is satire, there’s also a huge amount of truth to it. I wonder how many people would have better health if they weren’t so stressed out about their jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I love making money but I don’t always like the time and effort associated with acquiring it. There are definitely some times where there would be a legitimate therapeutic benefit of throwing my ID badge as far as I could and never looking back. However, that impulse is quickly counteracted by the rational thought that a replacement badge costs 20 bucks. Being in a field of work that is notorious for burnout makes you realize how important it is to take breaks. I’m in the process of figuring out the details on some trips I want to take this year and while it won’t be the equivalent of walking out my office and never returning, it will still be a break from it all.
The training to become a social worker is arduous, demanding, and complex. What isn’t always stressed enough are the issues of burnout, compassion fatigue, and the need for self care in the profession of social work.
I saw this article and thought about how applicable it is to my life right now. As someone who works in the field, this has to be one of the best articles I’ve read on the reality of burnout for social workers that is typically ignored. My absolute favorite quote from the author: “In our work, although we are surrounded by people all day long, there is not a balanced give and take. Concentration is on clients, not ourselves. In the truest sense, we are alone—we are the givers, and our fulfillment comes from seeing the growth, hope, and new direction in those with whom we are privileged to work.” I don’t think that truer words have ever been spoken. I’m a huge proponent of self-care but admittedly have a hard time taking my own advice. It’s easier said than done when you are by nature a giver and you put the best interests of others before yours and don’t impose your opinions on others deliberately on a daily basis. Any deviation from this can be self-perceived as selfishness. However, the article brings home the fact that self-care is necessary because it helps you to operate from a place of being okay. Still have a lot to learn in that department.