Meet Caleb Wong, a Social Worker, whose experience in giving advice to friends and the need to help people led him to join the social service. This is his story.
What sparked your interest in social service?
When I was 14-years old, I realised that I enjoyed giving advice to my friends who were having problems in their life (school issues, CCA issues and relationships etc). I felt that my advice helped them in various ways and that they enjoyed talking to me as well. That was when I realised that I wanted to do something related to helping people in the future.
Why did you choose your particular specialisation?
To truly improve lives, we do not just follow our hearts, we “lead with our hearts”. Social work provides a systemic perspective instead of just focusing on the person. Social Workers learn how to tackle issues and see things from a bird’s eye view while still sticking their hands in the mud together with these struggling families. That is why I chose to specialise in social work.
What are some challenges you face at work?
My main challenge is the mental and emotional load of being constantly ready to react to any situation, phone call or task, every day. So it is really helpful that we have the support of the agency and a good supervision framework for some of the tougher cases.
What kind of qualities should social service professionals possess?
I believe a sense of profound dissatisfaction is essential. Profound because it is not just about being unhappy and complaining about things the way people generally understand “dissatisfaction”. Rather, it is about knowing that there is always something more that can be done, that the current state of affairs can always improve. We are content with the good things that we see in the sector, but we are not complacent and think that all is perfect.
What advice would you give to those who are exploring careers in the social service?
Do your due diligence, do your homework and research on your options, talk to the respected people in your life and find wise counsel. Make the best decision you can based on the information you have at the point of decision-making. However, know that you will never have perfect knowledge to make a perfect decision—an incessant need for the perfect decision can also cripple one from moving forward.