Master of Social Work (2004)
- What field of work are you in, and what duties are required in your position?
I am a clinical social worker at a mental health hospital. I am also the professional practice lead for social work at my organization. I support clients and families in their journey towards recovery, as well as supporting other social workers in their clinical work. My duties include practical assistance (community referrals, assisting with locating housing, assisting with financial security), therapeutic skills (individual therapy, family counselling, supportive interventions) as well as professional practice support (ethical consultations, regulatory college questions, identifying, implementing and supporting professional practice standards within the discipline).
- What challenges did you face when looking for work after graduating?
I found it difficult to find stable work and ended up working several part-time jobs. I was doing shift work and often working several shifts in a row at different workplaces. I was “working in my field,” but had no job security and felt I was not moving forward in my career. However, each of these jobs provided me with valuable clinical experience and familiarity with resources, and helped me decide which specific area of practice I wanted to pursue.
- How did you arrive at your current position?
When I did find a full-time job, it was through a connection that I had made during a student placement, and the skills I had learned at my various part-time jobs were invaluable in my new position.
- What advice would you give to a graduate student looking to follow a career path similar to yours?
Many positions allow you to gain experience and exposure to the areas that you would like to work in, even if they are not directly in your field of choice. Social work is a diverse profession, and it can take some time to figure out what area of practice is the best fit. Exploring several different areas can help narrow down the options. It can feel like there is pressure to make a decision, to choose a path. Remind yourself that you have time, and you can take the time to find your path.
Stephanie Bailey has been involved with Carleton’s Alumni Mentoring program. The Alumni Mentors program pairs motivated upper-year students and recent graduates with an alumni mentor. Mentors are established professionals who help students and recent graduates develop skills for the workplace and expand their professional networks.