Sometimes waiting makes sense, and there’s certainly value in, “putting in your dues” and waiting for the right opportunity to come along, but there’s also a time and place for being stubborn, digging in your heels and working hard.
Basically, for the last 6 years I’ve been busting my butt to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). To become an LCSW in New York state you have to complete a masters in social work program (2 years), take the LMSW exam (and pass), then be supervised in diagnosis, psychotherapy and treatment planning by a licensed clinical social worker for 3 years.
I’ve written a few posts about my first (hairy!) years working in the social services arena. My first post-masters job was working the 3-11pm shift at a homeless shelter for women diagnosed with mental illnesses. I hated the hours, but I worked hard and got promoted into a supervisory role. After 3 years working the night shift, I transferred to a 9-5 job at a supportive housing residence so I could take some of the clinical coursework I was missing.
Because I didn’t have the required 12 credits to fulfill the clinical component of the LCSW application I had to go back to school last Spring/Fall. It was a huge pain in the butt because I was working full-time, training a new employee and managing a new team.
Every night when I dragged myself to and from class I was exhausted. Most of the students in my classes were full-time students and had never worked a full-time job before. They were intrigued by my stories and experiences (which was fun) but also frustrating when they forgot that I couldn’t just leave work mid-day to work on a group project.
Poor Eric was booted from the bedroom on the weekends because I needed a quiet place to study. I wasn’t home evenings to cook or exercise (which I hated). It wasn’t always easy, but I knew I had to get good grades, pass my classes and take my test. The same way I became super focused on paying off my debt, I became laser focused on obtaining my LCSW.
So last month I finally submitted all of my application materials and was approved to sit for the exam.
This Tuesday, I took the LCSW exam. I was so nervous when I clicked the “submit” button on the computerized test I closed my eyes and shook for a minute. For 6 years I’ve been waiting to take that exam and add LCSW to my name. So when the screen said “pass” and all my hard work finally paid off I was so excited I thought I was going to cry. Not only does this new credential mean a significant pay increase, it also means I’ll have many more career options if and when I decide to leave my current position.
So maybe it’s a little cliche, but I truly believe that good things come to people who work hard and believe that they can make their own dreams come true!
Tell me about your goals, wishes, plans for the future! What are you working on, or towards?
Image: The Keep Calm O-matic