In our work the staff at Ultimate Youth Worker meet with a number of downtrodden, stressed out youth workers who are just trying to keep it together. Why these fine examples of the social services sector have begun to erode is anyone’s guess. Overworked, under payed, vicarious trauma, limiting government policies and organisations that don’t care are all excuses we hear for burnout and workplace stress. But you know what we all face that, so why do so many fade away???
|Youth work isn’t always fun!|
The one thing that we see over and again that separates those who can push through stress and those who get squashed under the pressure is purpose. When the youth worker’s who are close to the edge are asked why they got into youth work it invariably is for a nothing reason. “I wanted to become a teacher and I though this would help“. “I just felt like these kids need help“. “People just need to give something back“. The worst offenders are those with altruistic motives.
“A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.”- John Maxwell
Unless you have the courage of your convictions youth work will chew you up and spit you out. Youth work is a purpose that you need conviction to follow. A reason to wake up in the morning. A cause to pursue. A goal to achieve. Youth work is more than a stepping stone to your next career. Youth work is not something you do to warm the cockles of your heart. Youth work is a profession that needs professionals with the right reason for being there… A real purpose.
What gets you out of bed in the morning???? Is your purpose to support young people to become the best they can possibly be? Or perhaps you are in it for the inordinately large pay check! If your own values and purpose aren’t clear then you are on a fast track to burnout.