Originally published on the NASW-NJ website.
I recently took a big risk at my job at an AIDS Service Agency. I decided to move from being a manager to being a consultant. For family reasons, I chose to leave my position for a more flexible schedule. This allowed me to achieve a better balance between work and being a mom.
This is a risk for my job. The goal of being a director may not be attainable now. Some may see it as a step backwards. I choose to see it as a savvy move forward in my career. In this uncertain economic time, all of our jobs are at risk. We are all forced to become more creative in our pursuits. Thankfully I’m already working at an agency that allows for me to embrace being creative and focusing in on my skills. With being a consultant comes the new venture of me being a freelancer. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but felt the risk would be too great. Now it’s clear that a little risk may be the best decision I could make.
Being a social worker allows us the freedom and flexibility to be creative in our work. Social work is a career, not just a job. We can become involved in many different areas to help further our careers and also reach the most people in need. It’s exciting and fulfilling to know that I can be constantly searching for the next opportunity. Not only does it relieve boredom, but in uncertain economic times, it’s a necessity to ensure that I will continue to work even if the grant I currently work for loses funding.
I remember being in social work school and admiring those professors that not only taught classes, but also worked for agencies and had some private practice clients as well. These were the professionals that I respected the most. They embraced the skills they had and shared them with as many populations as they could. That’s the beauty of social work – we have the opportunity to affect change in multiple areas of need while at the same time advancing our professional lives and even our personal lives. This is a risk that I am willing to make.
- Elizabeth Lombino, MSW, LSW