Some exciting news: What’s my story, what’s this project all about – and what’s up and coming…
What’s my story?
Whilst being supported to put this into action, my business coach (Thanks Sian)! asked me to write my back story and make mention of any ‘AHA’ moments to my vision. Firstly, what influenced and motivated me? My answer is pretty simple; “We Build on Passion” and that’s my moto and philosophy behind it all.
Very often in social work we adhere to the idea that “Love isn’t enough” and that parents need to demonstrate a level of skill and commitment to ensure children’s needs are met (without getting all social worky). My story really resonates with this, and my view is that in the contemporary climate of Child Protection, being passionate is not enough.
In a complex, fast and evolving profession and world, being passionate about what we do requires more – I argue the need to build on the very things that make us passionate if we are going to thrive as social workers.
So, I’ve been thinking about it all quite a bit. Thinking about my own passion, where it stems from and how it led me to where I am today.
Being a social worker is all about giving, and constantly giving is exhausting. In time, giving chips away at the very deep-rooted internal resources we hold that enables us to do what we do.
And I’ve reflected on my own experiences, often we feel were not good enough or are at least made to feel that way. We question our practice and feel guilty for the things that haven’t been done (which are usually processy driven type things). For me, that’s the chipping away taking place right there, and before you know it, depletion mode is just round the corner.
I’ll let you contemplate on the “depletion-vs-survival-mode, human-condition” thing. One thing for sure – it’s not healthy. It’s not thriving, and certainly not happy.
I’ve found a time in my life where I just feel that I need to do something for me. Yep, the opposite of giving, and the opportunity was provided by the universe itself. I’ve worked with children since I was eighteen ranging from learning disabilities, to respite and outreach services, educational settings and adult social care. I even qualified as a gas engineer when 23 and gave that a go! I’ve worked in management, studied a BSc and MSc. I was awarded with something called student of the year for my research and completed my recent role in frontline as an Advanced Practitioner. My social work career seemed bright, I was offered the Practice Educator and keen to support Newly Qualifieds.
But then, my personal circumstances significantly changed and forced me to pull the plug. It was devastating to leave my team so unexpectedly; they were a skilled and passionate team. But in the end I had to do make a choice. So to use my free time productively, I’ve decided to embark on my own passion project and give some time to the things I really care about outside of practice.
What I’m doing and why
Some time last year, I stumbled across a Youtuber called Ali Abdaal about productivity (random). I just needed something to watch. It actually turned out to be quite interesting. I started to follow his channel out of curiosity and later found myself downloading apps and purchasing some of his book recommendations. I started to reflect on my ideas about social work in a creative way.
Over time, whilst discussing ideas and thoughts to different professional outside of social work, my ideas took on a life of its own in meaningful and creative ways. To my surprise, many professionals and friends have embraced this journey and pushed me to an actual launch. There have been some notices and really keen interests from wider professionals and academics (I won’t present names just yet).
But even better was the social workers response — which till now hasn’t felt like disguised compliance type of responses (I hope). The enthusiasm and thoughtful feedback from professionals have been satisfying and gradually my ideas, thoughts and reflections have become something to engage in outside of front-line practice. It continues to be a passion thing, but none the less, a project I feel is very worthwhile. And, if you support – it may even have a future.
New Generation Social Work is all about offering a fresh perspective into our everyday lives as practitioners and creating dialogue with different professionals from all professional backgrounds, including social workers. I aim to help stimulate creativity, offer rejuvenating insights that may help us discover our potential as social workers in a more meaningful way. I believe as social workers there’s yet so much more to be discovered, so much more skills we possess that can be enhanced— especially in the contemporary climate of progress — so I’ve decided to launch this project to explore your thoughts on everything. And I’m asking for your support with this journey.
What’s up and coming
Starting really soon, I’ll be holding a podcast a month with a professional(s) to explore different areas of social work. I’ve titled it “Real Talk” (yes, a very urban vibe). Some of the topics we hear about pretty much every day, others not so much, and some of it are purely based my own ideas that have culminated throughout the years. You’d be surprised as to just how much knowledge and insight the social work profession holds, it’s fascinating. You’d probably also feel chuffed to know just how much curiosity professionals outside of social work have about what we do – the barriers we apply as a work force is just huge. I think we need to think about it a little more and maybe let others in a tad!
New Generation Social Work does not aim to promote change, nor should it, that’s not my intention. However, it does seek for a shift in perspective. A bottom’s up approach. A small tweak which deep dives into the experiences of social workers. Some of it strong, some very pleasant and some very educational. The idea is for the dialogue to point towards connection and giving professionals an opportunity to relay their stories and journeys. I believe, if outsourced effectively, our stories and journeys can be an effective source of learning.
One of the things I’ll be doing is writing blogs which accompany my discussions with professionals to share personal thoughts, reflections and key learning points you may find useful. If you find it useful then please share. Its my own space. A personal part of the project where I intend to engage with my own world for my own personal development and hopefully you can benefit from it.
As I go along, I’ll be expanding the blog’s scope and I’ve held some discussion with professionals around this and still working it out. But hopefully my blogs can be used as a contemporary method for learning whilst on the go, in the classroom, sitting on the train or just having a coffee at the local café.
Another thing I’ll be doing is including an email subscription. I wanted to bring together and communicate my interest in a personal way to you. Its my opportunity to exercise a bit of storytelling and shed some inspiration whilst keeping you updated with future progress. It will have an emphasis on some feedback so please feel free. I hope this will serve as a template for future workshops, both in person and virtual, in educational settings and work settings by the professionals I’m working with.
After all, I grapple with my own thoughts and motive. Why does New Generation Social Work matter so much to me? After a discussion with a professional who’s actually turned out to be my writing coach, she asserts “it sounds like there’s a need to redefine what open dialogue looks like in social work”. A further discussion with a very experienced social worker said “life is about an abundance of imagination and creativity” and that, I think, sums up of the New Generation Social Work mission.
At it’s core, this project is about redefining how we construct dialogue in safe and creative ways, whilst, connecting with people and their perspectives. Each of these ideas bring sharp a focus on a creative journey in the hope that we can re define ourselves as practitioners and build on the intrinsic and raw internal resource we all share coined as passion.
So that’s the quest I hope to embark on — especially now, as we try to readjust from a period that’s caused a lot of turbulence, fatigue and excessive work to ensure children and families are safe. New Generation Social Work is about a way of noticing the meaningful side of things and ensuring that we do out bit to have ourselves heard and understood.
One final thing, I’ll also be using Instagram where I will be including additional posts and including key pieces of learning, vital points and statements from professionals as I go along which adds another dynamic to the trajectory, I’m hoping you can take something from the platform to practice and in general your daily every day lives.
For now, stay passionate and keep going – I hope together we can build on passion!
If you’d like to be kept in the loop about what’s happening, new blogs and up coming podcasts, scroll down to subscribe to our newsletter below.