Tuesday, October 21, 2008

keeping my path aligned

I, again, haven't posted in a shameful amount of time. My last post was rather bitter, and I apologize for that. Things are mostly getting back to normal. A few upturned trees still littering my neighborhood, but this is Louisiana and we like to recover slow.

I've been feeling overwhelmed as of late, but I won't go into the details. My thesis, graduate school in general, the election, planning a wedding, being maid of honor in another...I'll get into it all later.

What I want to write about today is that I am seven months from completing my graduate degree, and I've been thinking about where I want to take my career.

I've had a commitment to juvenile justice for some time now. I have a personal attachment to it (those high school sweethearts just stick with you forever), I'm writing my thesis on it, and I feel passionate about it.

But in a practical sense, I'm doing my internship this year in child welfare, and liking it. I work in the state office doing what we social workers call "macro practice," which basically means learning about and helping with all of those activities that make work on the ground possible--accreditation, policy, coordinating with federal funding sources, etc. I've been thinking, this isn't so bad. It's related to my overall goal of helping troubled youth become successful adults. Their hiring and personnel management are set up to favor social workers. And, most importantly, they're a mess and they need brilliant young people like me.

Then, yesterday, I found out I'd been awarded a small ($1000) scholarship in memory of a social worker who pioneered corrections reform. I was selected because of my commitment to forensic social work. And I remembered that the reason I chose a profession so publicly disrespected, so meagerly paid, so prone to burnout, is that I wanted to spend my life doing something I love, not just like. Juvenile justice brings together two things I feel very passionate about changing--the future of at-risk youth in our communities, and the disaster that is our current justice system.

Choosing a career path is akin to selecting a spouse. The warm fuzzy feeling isn't enough to last forever, and neither is compatibility alone. I will spend more of my adult life at work than I will with Nick. I'm not choosing something I'm not sure I'll still be happy with when I'm counting the months til retirement.


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

0 Old Comments: