Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You do Noble Work

Every job has it's jabs. By jabs, I mean the predictable reactions other people say once you tell them what you do. As a psychologist you hear, "I better be careful so you don't read my thoughts!" That's actually an easier reaction to deal with than a person who responds with, "So let me tell you what I'm dealing with and tell me what you think."
Upon sharing what he does, a case manager (or social worker) sees a glimmer in the listener's eye and a look of admiration as she says "You do noble work."

Admittedly, I'm not innocent of occasionally making annoying comments to others when they reveal their profession. Putting that aside -- I see what I do as a job. I don't think of it as noble. It's what I do. Maybe I'm reacting to what I sense is a pretentious attitude, even if it's meant genuinely. I care deeply about my work. I'm grateful for working in this field and enjoy the challenge of working with others with goals of helping them through crises or problems. I like that I can be a person on their journey. It becomes a part of who I am, like I suspect delivery people, doctors, or accounts feel.


SocialWrkr24/7 said...

IF I ever leave social work I hope to choose job where I will never hear those words again! I know people mean them nicely - but I cringe every time. :)

Melinda said...

I just left a comment about this over at Eyes Opened Wider--totally agree with this. It manages to simultaneously demean our clients and the joy and beauty of working with them, AND disempower our profession (by making us martyrs who are sacrificing rather than professionals engaged in a legitimate pursuit), all the while trying to be nice.

Anatolia said...

That's exactly it, Melinda, even if words are meant genuinely, the problem is the undertone like you say.