A Career or a Life? (Part 1)

I’ve been in the social work field since May 2001, nearly 16 years. In that time I have worked in schools, community health centers, hospitals, a dialysis clinic, private practice, and with a hospice (my current j0b). I am an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) in Illinois and Missouri and have the National Association of Social Work’s ACHP (Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker) and CSW-G (Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology) certifications. I’ve also worked in the substance abuse community for the past 18 years.

I list my credentials and experience not to impress anyone, but to make a point–if you do anything for long enough, you can gather extra letters behind your name and become an “expert” in your field. The truth is that I never set out to become a social worker and didn’t know when I was an undergraduate that half of the jobs I would come to have even existed. So how did I get here?

Going back to school was a desperation move. I had already flunked or dropped out of three colleges (St. Louis University, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and Southwestern Illinois College) by the time I was 22 (I had actually flunked out of SLU twice!) and was working a pretty lame job as a delivery person. I was in the restaurant one day, between delivery runs, and I happened to be paying close attention to one of my coworkers, a man in his fifties. While he seemed to be a nice, happy guy, watching him that day gave me a vision of myself being stuck in one menial job or another for the rest of my life. I vowed that I would go back to school and finish my education, although I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I was provided with a very specific direction within the next few months by none other than God himself–Morgan Freeman.

To be continued…

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