We all from time to time forget why we got into Social Work and Child Protection in the first place. Maybe you’ve looked at the student or new graduate in the office and thought ‘I remember those days’ and then ‘it wont take long before reality hits them just like the rest of us’. Things can wear us down and we become tired and loose the energy and excitement we once had for the work.
Don’t be that cynical person, there are things that can be done to help keep that passion alive! Try these 5 steps to help you find your mojo.
- Write it down!
Go back and think about what made you want to enter the profession in the first place. What made you go and study? What made you apply for the particular job that you have? List out the reasons that make you passionate about your career and your job and spend some time reflecting on these, maybe journaling, thinking or talking through with someone whether these things still apply today. Sometimes just seeing these written down might help you get back some of that fire, but if it’s still not doing it for you then try these next steps.
- Get some work life balance
We can get so caught up in our work that the scales of our work/ life balance get tipped more towards work. Time and time again in our profession people can get caught up in being a rescuer and don’t prioritise themselves. It’s often not until a big life event comes along (such as a health issue, starting a family, getting burnt out) that we really re-evaluate our work life balance. Evaluate how much extra time you are doing at work- can you cut this down? Make sure you take your time in lieu and holidays. Set some boundaries around breaks, with colleagues (this might include your manager) and of course with clients.
Another idea is to develop a sense of what you really enjoy outside of work and focus on adding more of this into your life. I know for me, it wasn’t until I went out and actively started trying new hobbies to see what I liked that I felt that I was back in balance.
- Learn something new
Perhaps the reason that you are feeling stale in your career is because you are used to doing the same thing day in and day out. Sure your day may be varied (isn’t it always in child protection or social work) but the types of families that you meet and the work that you are doing is probably pretty similar. Maybe it’s time to get onto a course that interests you, or attend a conference on an interesting topic, or maybe it’s time to start the masters that you have always talking about doing… There’s nothing like learning something new and developing skills to get you rediscover that passion in your job.
- Get some professional supervision, coaching or find a mentor
Really you should do this step before any of the others and in fact having external supervision, coaching or mentoring is a good strategy in preventing you from losing your passion in the first place. However I’ve added it in as step 4, as if you have tried all of the other steps and still aren’t finding your mojo then it is definitely time to pursue some external help. Someone external might help you see something differently, give you some ideas that you hadn’t thought of before and even help you set some career goals and help keep you on task with these goals.
- Last but not least is the harshest of the steps- find a new job!
I’m not joking about this one, it really might be time to find a new job. I’m not advising you to leave the profession but maybe it’s time to look for a new challenge or move in a slightly new direction. Really consider whether you are just needing a change of scene (so moving organisations or moving teams) or whether you need to take your career in a different direction. In the social work and child protection fields, there are lots of different roles and starting a new job might be the kickstart you need. However a word of warning, make sure you do step number 4 first as sometimes if you are burnout in your career then you might take the issues from your previous job to your new one and you will end up back to square one.
I hope you have found these steps helpful, remember if you are needing to rediscover your passion there are lots of things that you can do to get back that new graduate feeling.