Knowing your profession- pages of a career Journal


“Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your career. I learned so much about mental health and youth, and will be sure to check out the latest set of insights and leads you shared with me. I am so appreciative of your generosity with your time and resources. It is evident and clear that you always knew you wanted to be a clinical therapist.”


That email showed up after informational interview I had with a young man. Emails are great; but, I repeat, a real thank you note is better (that’s why you ask for a business card). What struck me about the email was the last sentence. Yes, I always knew that I wanted to help young adults find their voice, but I did not sign up for grad school with the idea that I would become a clinical social worker. When I got accepted to my graduate program I was working on a grassroots program for at-risk girls. My thought was that I would build that into a nonprofit, but God had other plans for my life. I was trying to figure out what they were leading me to when I penned entries like the ones below:

“I am stressed. I am almost 120 hours into my foundational practicum and I am still trying figure out where I am going and how this pertains to MY program or how I am helping the youth at _. What I do know is I want to work with youth and families, and work in a group settings. A title that appeals to me is Educational Group Therapist- which motivates individuals by giving them the tools they need to improve academically.”

“Where am I going? I have started my advanced practicum and the homeless youth clinic and the light bulb moment hit me. I want to focus on youth with mental illness and be able to productively provide them with group and individual therapy, in addition to important everyday life skills to help them live a normal life. Lord, please continue to show me the way and guide me in the right direction.”

Rereading that last entry, let me just say there is no such thing as normal and that I would pen plenty more entries like that before I figured “it” out. I am a firm believer that if something is your purpose you will keep coming back to it and fine tuning it until you can see it in all its glory.

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14 Responses to Knowing your profession- pages of a career Journal

  1. Wayne Holmes says:

    Thank you for sharing such insightful and encouraging thoughts. I’m currently considering going back to school for something along the lines of MSW, MHC, or even Phd programs in Psychology. I have an M.A. in criminal justice, but it doesn’t open the doors to careers that I now believe I am better suited to pursue. My wife and I are praying for direction. In the meantime, I am exploring and preparing myself to apply for various programs by the deadlines for Fall ’17. Of the jobs I’ve had, I’ve enjoyed it most when I’ve been able to conduct individual and group counseling in a dynamic fashion (best when I speak less, primarily asking questions and guiding youth toward the right/best/appropriate responses). I’ve even considered going for my MAT, but I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t enjoy the classroom setting.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      I am confident that God will continue to guide you in the right direction and into your complete purpose. I also think it is great that you and your spouse are talking about this big decision. As you may already know, graduate school is a costly and time consuming affair. I presume you know this from earning your MA. May I ask, have you looked for employment opportunities within the juvenile justice system, public school system, or universities and hospital research-based programs? I am sure these institutions could use your amazing skill set. Also, free to read my post titled “job description” and “Goodbye Negativity and Hello Adjectives ”, as they may be helpful. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree, I sooooo wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up. Maybe the key is to never grow up lol



  3. Pingback: Moms Starting Strong as Parents – ah ha moment | Real Life of an MSW

  4. A man’s desires are never far from his assignments. Am pretty sure you are not far from yours. Don’t get weary or give up. It’s around the corner. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gail Kaufman says:

    Insightful last line: “if something is your purpose you will keep coming back to it and fine tuning it until you can see it in all its glory.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. prior.. says:

    very insightful to read about your process and how God led… and I like the TD Jakes quote in the comment – but just wanted to share that I think it was complete opinion and preference to suggest that a “real” thank you note is better, the way you called it “real” does not sit well with me because even a text with a huge thanks can be edifying and legit. If you mean formal piece of paper. well that is not anymore real than an email that was loaded with gratitude – just also sensed some crabbiness – “got this awesome email of praise… but…. wasn’t paper” – really?

    Liked by 1 person

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