While browsing my facebook feed, I ran across an anecdote called "What Social Workers Make", a modified version of "What Teachers Make". The gist of the story is this: At a dinner party, a person goes into a rant about social services. He then targets a social worker in the room and asks, "What do you make?" The social worker's response is one I can only wish to replicate if ever asked the same question.
Social work is one of these most difficult and thankless professions out there. It's also one that requires so much sacrifice, financially and time-wise. With social work, there's no guarantee that you will work that standard 9-5 job, have time to spend with friends/family, and even have the money to pay the bills each month. Most of us know this, yet choose to go into the field despite scorn from friends, family, and society.
Not all of us can handle the rigors of social work, and many of us do move on to greener pastures for emotional or financial reasons. Whether we stay or leave, we all know that the time we have in the field is an honor. What sets social work apart from other professions is our conscious decision to help individuals that society has cast aside as hopeless and worthless. As someone once told me, it's a privilege to comfort people dealing with the worst of what life has to offer.
So the next time someone superfluously asks, "What do you make?", respond proudly with, "I make a difference." Despite what other professions may claim, social workers are the biggest difference makers out there. Enjoy the honor while you can.