I am finding that more and more conversations in social work are ethical conversations about how we do good work in a difficult context. I hear a great deal about struggle. And I find myself wondering how we can aspire when aspiration may not seem realistic.
Much of the work I do requires aspiration. It is about how we empower people, develop excellent practice, build support for social workers, and argue passionately and knowledgably for resources. Sometimes the choice seems to be to either set an aspiration that can never be achieved, or settle for what is pragmatic.
My hope is that we can keep aspiring while not ignoring the difficulties that exist. If we keep saying how things should be, we keep the possibility of progress open. Resilience doesn’t come from wishful thinking but from acknowledging adversity and continuing to work for something better.
For a year now, Jo Fox and I have been creating the Helpful Social Work podcast. We discuss topics that we think matter to social workers – like hotdesking, working with scarce resources, and managing workload. We try to acknolwedge the difficulties, and use evidence and learning from our own experience and from others to find a way through. We hope that these will be helpful because they are hopeful. We also hope they are realistically hopeful – that people see a way to take a step forward.