It really hurts me when I hear Social Workers grumble about their salary. It’s too low, too little. Not aligned with their professional education. Not valuing their efforts. Not enough to have a wealthy life. Not enough to feed your family.
Jeanine, a social worker, said to me: “I think we really do deserve a better salary…not because I believe we are ENTITLED to it but because we actually really do DESERVE it. This profession is truly a calling.”
When you’re struggling with a low salary it’s hard to help others in need. You might feel like you can’t even help yourself.
Thus I totally understand that Social Workers are looking for ways to get better salaries. I see three ways, three solutions Social Workers practice to solve the problem.
1. Mobilize ourselves
There’s this Facebook group called “Social Workers for better salaries”. A while ago the members organized a march. To advocate for a better salary. To make a fist. They made an appointment to mobilize at a certain day at a certain time.
At that day, at that time, just a few people showed up. The solution didn’t really work. I’m not sure but I can imagine why it didn’t work: we are too busy with our clients. When we have to choose between spending time on our clients or spending time on ourselves, we choose for our clients. Right?
2. Leave the job
This is a drastic solution. I know social workers who are so disappointed that they leave the job. They don’t call themselves a social worker anymore.
They try to find other jobs with a better salary. I guess this solution might work to get a better salary but there is a great risk of unwanted side effects: you might get bored in the new job. You might miss the satisfaction of helping people in need. Feel the gratitude. To know that you really have an impact in changing this world.
It seems to be a choice: be a social worker and accept the low salary or get another job and choose for the money. A difficult choice when you know in your heart that you truly are a social worker.
3. Become an entrepreneur
Start your own business! Have you ever heard of this solution? Not many social workers choose this solution. Simply because it doesn’t come up in their mind.
And now I’ve mentioned it … could it be a solution for you?
The strange thing is when you have your own business you even won’t have a salary anymore! Not a low salary and not a high salary. Your business will make revenue and from this revenue you pay yourself an income. You’re the boss! You decide!
This week I spoke with John. He’s a youth worker and started his business one and a half year ago. His income is already higher then his last salary!
I think it’s the best solution to get a better ‘salary’. But wait a minute, before you start your own business right now I have some more advice for you. I did it myself and will share in my next blog some wise lessons.
Please let me know what you think!