Social Work Burnout Happens In Different Ways

While having a discussion with my mom today, she said the following: "Chinese people don't want to be social workers because there is no prestige in the profession. They all want to be doctors." Instead of arguing the many things wrong with her statement, I opted to remain silent as I've had this conversation with her thousands of times before to no avail.

What sets me apart from many of my social work friends is that the majority of my stress does not come from work. It comes from having to come home at the end of the day and hear about how I am "less than" because I do not have a more "prestigious" job. Furthermore, coming home from work is like going to a second job. Since my mom is a nurse, she spends dinner time railing about her latest problem patient (like I don't encounter lots of them at work) and lecturing me about what I should be doing at work as a medical social worker. She tells me that nursing is significantly harder than anything a social worker has to do, hence making social workers deserving of a salary half that of a nurse. Unfortunately, my family takes a militant "no secrets" approach which prevents me from setting boundaries at home. Hence, I go to work to escape the stress associated from being at home.

There are three reasons I continue to live at home. The first is to save money. The second is that I have yet to find a stable full time/part time job that will allow me to move out without draining my savings. The third is the cultural belief within my family that unmarried adult children who move out are ungrateful and abandoning their parents. To cope with this situation, I involve myself in extracurricular activities and surround myself with supportive friends. I am also on the hunt for jobs that are not within commuting distance from my house.

In the next few weeks, I will revamp my resume and cover letter and re-intensify my job search in hopes that I can move out before my one year anniversary of graduating with my MSW. Social work jobs right now are pretty tight, and a medical social work position is even more difficult to obtain. As living at home is beginning to result in medical social work burnout, I am open to jobs in different settings such as college campuses.

For the immediate future, my main goals are to find a job and move out. I also want to go on a nice vacation with the money I've saved from living at home. I'll definitely keep everyone updated on my exploits. Wish me luck!


  1. :)

    I too feared this problem when in went in for social service during college. It was more of a social taboo too, that was more terrible. But i would serve my home with the same ardentness that i served the poverty stricken colonies, that no one would utter a word. I can tell you one trick to wave off such critics. Smile. It helps a lot. And when it doesn't smile even more.

    Anyways, wish you good luck :)

  2. Indeed, social work is a misunderstood profession that is sometimes looked down on by those who don't know what we do. While it is challenging, I definitely need to take heed your advice and do a better job in ignoring the criticism. Thank you for your kind words. :)

  3. Hello,

    I'm a medical social worker with a nurse mom too. It can be so frustrating at times, especially when I want nothing to do with anything hospital related at the end of the day. Best of luck in moving out. At this rate I'll be stuck at home forever!

    Check out my blog:


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Nurses Make More Than Social Workers

(not so) Cheap Social Worker Spends Too Much Money on Disneyland Food (60th Diamond Anniversary Spring Edition)

Planet Earth Blu-ray