So I was updating my links here on TIAC, and stumbled onto this post and accompanying comments:
In particular, I was struck by the comment below.
I am thrilled to see this article by one of my heros–I love Suzie Orman!
I’ve made this point in other threads, but it is important to reiterate it: MANY SOCIAL WORKERS ARE MAKING LUCRATIVE SALARIES! After a few years of work experience, you can start making more money; you DON’T have to take a vow of poverty to do social work–just think outside of the box a little. We are only limited by our thinking!
Besides having decent paying day jobs, I have MSW colleagues who have started small businesses (some do it full-time while others only one day a week) and are making money as:
1) Life Coaches & Executive Coaches
2) Independent therapists
3) Adjunct Professors
5) Focus group Facilitators (there’s a lot of $$ in market research)
6) Grant Writers
Respectfully, the people who claim poverty, after years in the field, are the individuals who either lack entrepreneurial ability or have internalized a victim mentality. Personally, I reject the idea that I have to be poor to do good work in the world!
Here is to living comfortably AND being a social worker!!
In case you doubted the mercenariness (yes that’s a word) of therapists, well, there it is. That’s how social workers talk to each other when they don’t think anyone else is listening or reading. The flight of social workers from their original purpose – helping the poor and marginalized – has been noted before, in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Unfaithful-Angels-Social-Abandoned-Mission/dp/0028740866
Not all therapists are social workers and not all social workers are therapists, but I’m inclined to doubt that the sentiments regarding money vary much among therapists, whatever their training.
Notice that the first two alternate careers on the list are ones with very low or non-existent entry requirements. In many jurisdictions, “life coach”, “executive coach” and “therapist” etc are totally unregulated titles. Literally anyone can use the titles and charge clients for the services, and the money can be quite good, as I discussed in an earlier post.
The other positions are MUCH harder to get. There are only so many adjunct professor jobs to go around (and they are precarious positions). People from a variety of backgrounds work in grant writing and mediation; a social work degree confers no particular advantage. As it happens, I know quite a bit about the market research industry. In a given city or town, there is only so much demand for focus group facilitators, the pay is good but not outstanding (unless you own the company!), and social work would generally not be considered relevant experience. (And how is helping some corporation figure out how to sell more crap that people don’t need doing “good work in the world”?) The bottom four items on the list, therefore, are not quick paths to easy money.
But at $100+ per hour, working as a therapist at least allows you to make a crap wage at less than full-time hours. You can probably sleep in most days.
But if what you really want is to earn a great salary, why bother going into social work at all? Why take the detour of earning a social work degree and spending years making less than you think you deserve, and then cast about for an alternative later?
And if you are a therapy client, don’t you want a therapist who is genuinely interested in the work, not just doing it as a fallback?
(BTW, “feck” is a stand-in for another word that I’m sure you’ve heard. Turns out I have standards for this blog – no profanity in the headlines. Everywhere else is OK.
Also, I’m not endorsing Suze Orman’s comments re: social work salaries. I believe everyone deserves a decent wage for any honest work, and investment advice isn’t much good if you don’t have enough money to invest in the first place.)