Sharing below a new article of mine published in the New Social Worker Magazine today. Enjoy and check out the rest of the magazine for some great content! Be sure to comment and let me know your thoughts!
Having now practiced social work in Chicago and rural Oregon, I have been thinking about the commonalities and differences of those experiences. One of the main differences is what it looks like to maintain professional boundaries.
The community where I currently work is around 30,000. Of course, size is relative. The town in which I grew up is around half that size and is most know for the annual Rodeo (think cowboys, bull riding, etc). There are aspects of working in smaller, rural communities that I really love. But, one of the more challenging aspects was learning how to manage when your personal and professional lives intersect. This happens in urban practice as well, but I found it to be to a much lesser degree.
I found that I had to be cognizant of my role as a social worker within the realms of dating (see the meme I created above), making friends, faith community, living situation, etc. I will give you a couple examples.
I would love to hear how you have found balance and kept a meaningful personal life, especially if you practice in a rural community! Two questions to leave you with:
1)What situations have challenged you?
2)Have you ever felt that maintaining professional boundaries has caused you to feel that you must sacrifice something (place that you live, potential friendships, etc) that are important to you personally?