A major issue with the social work profession is that career exploration is not encouraged and the avenues for career exploration are often unknown. Social work is so much more than child welfare, medical social work, psychotherapy, and school social work.
I am my own case study. I have never had a job with the word social work in the title, but I have been able to use my MSW to do work that I love and be paid well to do it.
My professional mission is to eliminate the outdated, narrow view of social work and lead the movement for social workers to define career success on their own terms with the confidence that social work skills are highly transferable, high-income skills.
Motivation Monday Resource: Roadtrip Nation
Roadtrip Nation is a part of Strada Collaborative, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower all learners—and those who serve them—by providing the critical resources, educational support, and career experiences that lead to equitable education and employment pathways.
- Videos and documentaries
- The Roadtrip Nation Experience online course
- Live and digital events
- Roadmap book
- Share Your Road platform
- Roadmap podcast
The Original Roadtrip:
“You should be a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, a consultant, blah, blah, blah. Everywhere you turn people try to tell you who to be and what to do with your life. We call that the noise. Block it. Shed it. Leave it for the conformists. As a generation, we need to get back to focusing on individuality. Self-construction rather than mass production. Define your own road in life instead of traveling down someone else’s. Listen to yourself. Your road is the open road. Find it.”—Mike and Nathan
This was our dilemma when we graduated from college. All we had ever been exposed to were traditional roads. To see what else was out there, we decided to take a roadtrip across the country in a 1985 green RV, to interview 85 individuals from all walks of life and learn how they defined their own paths. The trip showed us that, just like the people we met on the road, we could create lives that one day we could look back on and say I stayed true to myself every step of the way.
The Original Book: Roadtrip Nation: A Guide to Discovering Your Path in Life by Mike Marriner, Nathan Gebhard, Joanne Gordon (2003)
After college Mike Marriner and Nathan Gebhard had no idea what to do with their lives. All they’d been exposed to were standard career paths like doctor and consultant—roads that didn’t fit them at all.
To see what else was out there they took a roadtrip across the nation in a huge forty-foot RV to meet with people who had successfully defined their own paths in life—including the chairman of Starbucks; a lobsterman from Maine; the director of Saturday Night Live; the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic; the first female Supreme Court Justice of the United States; head stylist for Madonna; and the CEO of National Geographic Ventures. All told, one hundred and forty people candidly shared their stories about how they got from college to the present. Now in Roadtrip Nation, Mike and Nathan share the most compelling tales with you.
Along the way, they explain how you, too, can get out there and meet people on your own. From making cold calls to asking stimulating interview questions, Roadtrip Nation will give you the tools to create a life that you’ll look back on and “I was true to myself every step of the way.”
PBS Documentary Series and Film: Follow the journeys of groups of people as they travel across the country in a green RV, sit down with professionals who share their interests, and gain insight into what it takes to overcome struggle and find personal success.
Question: How can the social work profession encourage and facilitate more career exploration?
Schedule a 15-minute consultation today to discuss how to create your own harvest season.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. 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, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. 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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