Potential cons of social work
While social work can have many rewarding and beneficial aspects, it also carries some negatives. Due to the innate stresses associated with social work, the field sees significant turnover as people leave to pursue other careers.
This is why it’s important to have realistic expectations and know whether you can handle some of the more difficult aspects of social work. Some of the most prominent drawbacks include:
Social work practice involves helping people through hard times. Confronting these issues day after day, directly with the people suffering, can take its toll. For a family social worker or a substance abuse social worker, for example, it can be hard to distance oneself from these challenging situations.
Some aspects of social work can pose danger. For instance, clients can be unpredictable; they might verbally or physically assault a social worker. In risky situations, a social worker can request a law enforcement escort, but dangerous conditions can still arise quickly and with little notice.
Since social workers may need to work around clients’ schedules, and sometimes drive significant distances, workdays can be long and irregular. Occasionally, social workers may be called upon to respond to emergencies, which can happen at any time of day or night. Additionally, excessive work hours can contribute to burnout and may even lead to several mental and physical health risks.
Resistance from clients
Clients may be uncooperative, rude and even aggressive to social workers. Pride or embarrassment might cause resistance to any kind of help. This makes it vital for social workers to harbor understanding, patience and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to recognize a dangerous situation. Conflict de-escalation skills may be necessary to help avoid incidents.