Is It Time to Social Work Your Social Work Career?



  1. Bob Johnson
  2. Sheila Johnson
  3. Tyler Perry
  4. Oprah Winfrey

Billionaires! Billionaires who have not retired. Billionaires who continue to create and create.

If you were a billionaire or multi-millionaire, how would you invest your time?

If you were a multi-millionaire or billionaire, would you really retire, or would you social work differently?

I don’t think you would retire in the traditional sense – at least not for long.

Given your social work education training and work experience, do you really believe that you could ignore the world’s problems and only shop, resort hop, and dine in five-star restaurants?

I don’t think so. You know too much. You’ve seen too much. You’ve experienced too much. Too much bureaucracy, tokenism, exploitation, and empty promises to retire completely from your change agent activities.

The social workers who have become life coaches, teachers, entrepreneurs, private practice clinicians, travel agents, and real estate agents are still using their social work skills to help their clients. Ask anyone who has “left” the social work profession if they’ve left their social work skills education and training completely. Nope, they are putting those transferable skills to good use.

We want to retire because of how we work. The problem is the way we’ve been told social work must work.  The problem is the low standards and expectations being passed down from generation to generation. The problem is the narrow, traditional view of social work.

My social work education, skills, and training make me a great social work career coach. What I do is more than resumes, cover letters, and job interviews and I have social work to thank for that!

You’ve heard me say repeatedly that social work skills are high-income skills. Yet, social work skills are so much more than that. Social work skills are people skills. Social work skills are human behavior skills. Social work skills are communication skills. Social work skills are critical thinking skills. Social work skills are problem-solving skills.

The world needs social workers to expand, not retreat! Business as usual just gets us more business as usual.

Let’s elevate the profession…and each other! We can go from overworked, overpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well-paid, and appreciated. We all deserve to do work that feeds our hearts, minds, and wallets.

My vision is for social work to work for social workers and clients.

Too many amazing social work students and professionals are exiting the profession. I believe that the rise of human services and nonprofit management degrees, social entrepreneurship, and life coaching is due in part to social work fighting against growth and change. If the NASW Code of Ethics mandates advocating for the oppressed, why isn’t there a unified social work voice advocating for better working conditions and better pay for social workers?

There is little collective benefit in maintaining the status quo. It’s time for tired, burned-out, struggling social workers to band together with social workers who are thriving and optimistic to work toward a brighter social work future.

If you are disappointed or discouraged about the current state of your career in social work leadership let’s schedule a 15-minute chat to discuss how to move you toward enthusiasm and opportunity. Career fulfillment is possible for you and available to you!



  1. Are You Really Saying YES to Your Social Work Career Success Workshop; January 17, 2023
  2. Social Work Your Social Work Career Workshop; January 19, 2023


Nicki Sanders, MSW, ushers high-performing women of color in mid-level social work and human services leadership through promotion to senior leadership. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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