When you go through life so set on Plan A, dismissing that you’ll ever need a plan B or C, it can be disheartening when Plan A does not live up to your expectations.
I’ve always loved working with children and deemed a career in teaching to be the perfect fit. I did start to train as a teacher but, quite early on I realised I had no sense of fulfilment whilst training. I then used my next role as a teaching assistant as a safety net as I really needed to figure out my next move. I faced rejections from two job roles I was overqualified for and this had a tremendous effect on my confidence but, I used this setback to fuel my search in finding my purpose.
I became particularly drawn to the complexities of safeguarding and decided to further explore that route. After much consideration, self-doubt and uncertainty I embarked on a social work training programme in 2018 and I am now recognised as a qualified social worker.
If I’m being completely honest, social work was never a career that I considered and I was initially reluctant to apply for the training programme. Prior to applying I had analysed the website and there were no images of previous applicants that looked like me, no one to relate to. I initially came to the conclusion that I was not what they were looking for. I was further discouraged when I realised that a lot of the applicants were from russell group universities. I had kept the tab open on my laptop and would look at it every day finding reasons as to why it was not for me. On the day of the application deadline, I thought ‘What do I have to lose?’ I knew I would regret it more if I didn’t try and the rest is history.
Being a Black woman in this profession has encouraged me to continue having uncomfortable conversations, has allowed me to confront my own biases, has provided opportunities for me to recognise how my values and opinions are shaped by my context and to understand how this has an effect on the way I practice. I have learnt not to view my difference with families as a barrier to my work but, instead a stepping stone for opening up dialogue within my interventions.
The journey alone into social work was enough for me to give up but, with each and every hurdle I unlocked a new layer of resilience within that would not allow me to deny myself access to more opportunities.
I genuinely enjoy being a social worker and will not deny the fact that this career path is challenging but, when I look within myself I know what I bring to the career.
I bring an attentive ear that is sensitive to the whispers of all children.
I bring eyes that pierce through the deceiving personas of the most troubled.
I bring a loose helping hand that is willing to provide as it is all too aware of the hollow of emptiness.
I bring an aura that fills the room with warmth and laughter and a room where the door is always open and I bring a heart that is accustomed to building a permanent state of stability and security.
I call this MY SOCIAL PURPOSE.