Friday, November 4, 2011

What do social workers make?

I think this is a good one for a Friday..........someone came across an old blog of mine where I shared this several years ago. I think it's good to share again with all of you here now :).


WHAT SOCIAL WORKERS MAKE by Karen Quinnelly Arrington, LBSW

Karen now lives in Koscuisko, Mississippi where she works in Hospice Social Work. Karen received her BSW from the University of Alabama in1987 and is currently licensed in the state of Mississippi. It’s a touching argument about the value of a social worker.

Her article:

A group of friends and I were sitting around one evening discussing life. One guy there (whom I had just recently gotten to know) decided to explain the problem with social services and how they help those who won’t help themselves (social workers making little or nothing $$$ themselves.) He argued, “How’s a person going to benefit from someone who has decided their best option in life is to become a social worker?” He reminded everyone what they say about social workers-“bleeding heart liberals.” To stress his point, he said to me, “You’re a social worker, Karen. Be honest. What do you make?”

I, having a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied, “You want to know what I make?” I paused for a moment and began, “Well, I have made safe places for abused children. In the process, I did my best to make them feel that they didn’t deserve the treatment they got, so they could go out and do better in their lives.”

“I now make arrangements for the terminally ill to stay at home in their last days with exceptional end of life care. I see that caregivers don’t burn out making the patient and caregivers last days comfortable and worry-free.”

“When a young widow or single mother doesn’t know where to turn social workers make sure they know (whether people like it or not) what benefits they are eligible for. And we try to make sure she doesn’t get lost in the bureaucracy. We make plans with clients so they can get jobs and homes.This is only a start.”

“You want to know what social workers make?” I asked again. ”We make visits in neighborhoods that most people won’t go to on a bet, because we know people there are in need, and we make friends there who invite us back to their weddings, cookouts, and openings of community centers we have campaigned for.”“We make time to listen to the elderly, the mentally ill, the lonely. And we have the knowledge and skills to help them make improvements in their lives.”

“We make appointments with officials and testify before legislature to get everyone in the community a fair shake.”“Some of us teach, to make the next generation’s social workers.”“And sometimes, we make plans with our families and friends-only to break them because there is an accident, a fire, a disaster or death and a social worker is needed.”

I then paused one last time and then continued. “So, when people want to judge me by what I make, I hold my head up high and say, “I make a difference…..What do you make?”


  1. This is great. Have you seen Taylor Mali do a similar one on "What teachers make?" I think I blogged it a while back. It's probably on YouTube.

  2. This is beautiful....Thanks for sharing!