Introduction Social work: profession of the seven veils
I was recently asked by a senior colleague whether, when asked at a party what job I do, I am, like him, both reluctant and embarrassed to admit to being a social worker. He was much reassured to find that I shared his feelings; in fact I am certain the phenomenon is both widespread and characteristic except among those few social workers who profess complete certainty in the value of their work. Most people in controversial occupations are, of course, unwilling to rehearse too frequently the arguments which surround them, especially when they are supposed to be relaxing; in addition those in ‘helping’ professions often fear both the extra demands which may unexpectedly be made on them, and the air of virtue which their work endows. Yet the fact remains that for members of an occupation assertive of its own importance and frequently critical of other professions, we are, especially in private, curiously self-effacing and apologetic.
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Notes and references
- 1.C. W. Mills, ‘The Professional Ideology of Social Pathologists’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 49, no. 2 (1943) p. 171.Google Scholar