You’ve probably heard that being a social worker isn’t easy, primarily due to the challenges associated with having to deal with difficult situations and troubled individuals on a daily basis. Then there’s the challenge of completing your schooling and applying for jobs – a process that weeds out a small percentage of aspiring professionals who elect not to follow through with their chosen career path. Recovering from addiction or getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy either, so if you can pull that off you can probably become a social worker, and if you do decide to take that route, you’ll be armed with the following advantages over some of your classmates and co-workers:

Here's Why Recovered Addicts and Victims Of Abuse Make Great Social Workers

1. Willpower and the Ability to Overcome

Defeating a substance addiction or overcoming alcoholism are some of the toughest things to do on the planet, and anyone who has achieved this is part of a statistical minority. If you’ve already turned things around and are leading a clean, abuse-free life, you’re already in an ideal position to help others do the same. As a social worker you’ll have the opportunity to work in rehab facilities, women’s shelters, psychiatric clinics, and other places where you’ll encounter people who could benefit from the experience you’ve gained through your triumph over addiction and abuse. Plus, you’ll be able to pursue your masters in social work online through schools like Rutgers while steadily employed at an entry level position, so you’ll probably find the process a lot easier than your past struggles.

2. A Strong Desire to Facilitate Change

Social workers need to have change-oriented personalities and should be constantly looking for ways to help their clients improve in their everyday behaviors and habits. Recovered addicts and victims of abuse have proven their ability to incite change amidst chaos and a capacity to follow through with difficult commitments – these are the kinds of traits that are needed to motivate and encourage others to replicate such success. The same drive and ambition can also help a social worker find the inspiration to study for an MSW online while maintaining their initial job in the field, so this personality type also has a higher chance of advancing their careers.

3. Genuine Empathy Gained Through Experience

Social workers should be empathetic and able to relate to their clients’ hardships. Recovered addicts and abuse victims have felt first-hand what it’s like to be in many of the situations that they’re helping others escape. There’s real value in being able to say “I know what you’re going through” and actually mean it, versus the alternative of trying to artificially relate to something you’ve never experienced.

Getting Paid to Do Something Fulfilling

Most recovered addicts and abuse victims made the decision to turn their life around because they wanted a more fulfilling lifestyle that they could be proud of. A career in social work provides the perfect outlet for those individuals to find a purpose that gives them a strong sense of fulfillment.

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