Of the many pieces of knowledge my best social work professor stuffed into my head this year, this is my favorite. What’s your why?
It asks, in essence, why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s driving you? What’s the point of all this? Clearly an important question to ask when putting together a strategic plan or nonprofit mission statement, it’s also a good antidote to the burnout and frustration that can take social workers down. Pulling out the What’s Your Why card can remind the frazzled do-gooder why she didn’t go into banking or why it’s not time – yet – to turn to organic rhubarb gardening.
Everyone in the social justice field has a Why. Among the favs:
•Preserve mental health.
I’m all for those missions, but my bottom-line Why involves kids. More specifically, hurt kids. As in: cut it out.
I’m going to grad school to become a social worker so fewer kids get hurt. That’s my why. Remind me when I start complaining about homework.
There’s a Why to this website, too.
As a momentarily-retired professional writer with a toe in the social work world, I needed a place to write what I’m really thinking; a place the write the kind of things that aren’t allowed in peer-reviewed, APA-formatted social-science “literature”; a place to ask questions that might not have answers; to point out acts of absurdity and moments of splendor; to teach good people about bad stuff they might not realize is going on every day. And, yes, fine, ok! – a place to rant.
I want you to opine, too, so comment away. And by “you” I don’t just mean social work/nonprofit/do-gooder types. I mean everyone.
What’s your why?
 Social work jargon. Also, redundant.
 It’s a compliment – go with it.