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Home arrow Sociology arrow Holistic engagement : transformative social work education in the 21st century
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MID-CAREER POSITION SUMMARY

Right now I've plateaued. I realize I'm not going to become Social Worker of the Year on a national level, or any other for that matter. I have my work-life in perspective ... meaning ... it fulfills a function in my overall life. It allows me to earn a living—it's honorable work and I'm aware ofits limitations. I don't expect it to meet all my needs for which I have other outlets outside of work. I know exactly where I stand in the organizational food chain, and I could stay here as long as I like. I've been in this job long enough to know what it takes and recognize all the themes that recycle in various disguises. I do the job well enough to satisfy myself and have found ways to compensate for my shortcomings.

No one is complaining about me. I conserve time and energy by fending off unwanted extra assignments and avoiding nuisance “opportunities.” At the same time, I would welcome the right opportunity ... something hard to define but I'd know it if I saw it.

I ask each group to “compose a single sentence that summarizes your group's descriptive assessment and then an evaluative judgment of the above statement.” This generates a lively discussion between younger and older students. Evaluative judgments often break down according to age. Younger students often characterize the statement as Surrender, Resignation, Defeat, and Burnout. Older students are often more sympathetic, selecting characteristics such as Realism, Balance, Acceptance, and Contentment. After considerable discussion, a compromise may emerge. Some younger students will concede that “hanging out,” be it geographically, in a relationship, or in a job is not, in and of itself, concerning. Older students often come to acknowledge that the description lacks joy.

Cloaked in the mystique of subjective experience, these aspects of identity formation remain largely invisible and elusive. My goal is to assist students in becoming more conscious and deliberate about their developmental processes. I want them to begin to see that there is a path, they are on it, and it does lead somewhere (see Loseke & Cahill, 1986).

 
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