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Typically, people who want to be social workers want to go into that profession because they like to help people. Social work is a profession in which a worker gets to try to help people who are often in very difficult circumstances. People who get into, then, must really want to help people who are having problems.
given that both my mother and my sister are foster parents, people involved in this type of work are typically ones who wish to look out for the less fortunate. It does take a very special person with nerves of steel, lots of emotional stability, and hearts of gold. I cannot say how many times I have said that it is not something I could do. The motivation simply lies in the innate desire to help others.
For the pay and the glory, of course! Kidding. To go into social work it helps a great deal if you are intrinsically motivated to do so. As the above poster points out, if you enjoy helping people, are patient, aware of social issues and want to do something about them, and you are fine with not making a lot of money, you may just be cut out for what is a very important job in our society.
There is no one motivation that drives people to social work. Some people may go into social work, because they have been helped by social worker in the past. Others might go into social work for reasons of faith. I have three committed Christian friends that are in social work, because they want to help people as a outflow of their faith. To be sure, there are other social workers who are atheists as well. If I had to take one guess, I would say that people enter into social work, because they care for people.
Social work, to my mind, is about feeling a personal responsibility for others. In that sense, it is something that is, as #4 says, intrinsic to some and not to others. I have known several people who perform social work, and they all have this in common: they are endlessly patient. To help people who do not want to be helped, to provide support for people who are self-damaging, to see day after day a line out the door of people who have nowhere else to turn, and to know that you cannot help everyone... it's a hard job, and one that I could not do. I admire those who make the conscious choice to live their lives in the service of others.
Along with the compassion and desire to help others that have been mentioned, some social workers are hopelessly idealistic and chose to put effort into trying to make their dreams of a better world become reality. Their energy is partially based on their hope that they can do something to help the world become a better place - if not for everyone, at least for the people they serve in their particular capacity within the social work field of endeavor.
I myself am currently in college pursuing a degree for Human Services, with hopes of continuing to get a master's in social work. My reason for becoming a social worker is to mainly help people with addiction. I am very curious and enjoy helping to understand individuals obstacles and ambitions. My main drive for this career is in hopes of trying to impact others with my past experiences and with a positive approach to helping them also. I am a very compassionate person and have always tried to save everyone. Figured may as well make it official and have a degree to do it!
Since I am pursuing a degree in Social Science, I can tell you my reason for choosing social work as a profession. I was raised in a single parent home and I in turn raised four children as a single parent. I did not have the outside help and guidance that I needed to help me in this struggle. To be involved in Social Work will give me the opportunity to help single parents be successful at parenting and making life better for their children and for themselves. My own life experiences would be an assest and a great tool for me to use in coaching and guiding. I really don't think that anyone should choose Social Work as a profession if they do not have in mind of helping people.
To help others, perhaps they understand issues of problem households or some problems growing up and other issues from experience, and feel they can offer good advice. Maybe they received great help from a social worker or someone working in the social field - that changed their life around.
Also, for the potential it has in changing people's live for the better.
Because they like working with people, and helping to resolve problems and issues.
Because they want to help their community, country and people within it to succeed and do their best. It can be very fulfilling to do such things, to be the motivator or cause for people to get their lives together, to do well and to go on to do great things and have a better quality of life.
Without giving any consideration to faith, I would say that we are all human and are therefore intrinsically designed to care for others out of humanity. Faith boosts this attitude. Our experiences in life and the environment influence our behaviour and we react accordingly. My brothers and friends say that I am a kind hearted person from the childhood. Looking back at my life, I find it to be largely true. I would say I have also inherited some of it. As a student, I helped my classmetes by removing their difficulties in understanding Maths, my favorite subject. When I started my first job as a teacher, I helped needy students with books and fees. The change of job did not effect my behaviour. Now I am living as a retired person working as a part-time teacher for a charity school without any remuneration. The school, funded by a philanthropist, provides free education to children who come from families who cannot afford two meals a day.
I attribute my behavior to may faith wherein I am looking for a reward in the afterlife. I see a similar behaviour in my wife and children. Every one of us is donating a good portion of our income to help others. For all of us, faith is the dominating factor.
However, as I said in the beginning its only because we are all human, brothers and sisters born of Adam and Eve and living in a common home - The Earth. The desire is inborn. It is only the environment that flares up the spark to motivate us to get involved in social work.
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