Monday, September 15, 2008

Onions are the answer

I don’t want to be a social worker anymore. I thought I could help people, but it turns out, I can’t. Even if I could, I don’t want to anymore. So I'm turning to onions for help.

First of all, I think I am the only man majoring in Social Work in the whole world and I feel like the odd man out. In all my classes it’s me and 34 women. Same thing at my internship: women as far as the eye can see and then me. It all sounds good, and someone like me could definitely benefit from odds like that, except they’re all old, married, have a life partner or have more problems than the people they’re trying to help.

One of them told me that most male social workers are gay, inferring that I must be too. Thanks. Actually, I’m not gay, I just wanted to help people. So sue me.

And no social worker I know has a realistic outlook. One part of the social work profession is ridiculously optimistic bordering on delusional and think they can save the world. Bless their little bleeding hearts, but they’re crazy. The other part is ridiculously jaded, cynical and has started to hate people. Can you really blame them? But it would be better if they weren’t social workers at all.

I hate going to my internship. On an average day I sit there and make copies. On a really crazy, exhilarating day I get to send a fax.

Some people have told me I am squandering my talents. I’ve worked at Jiffy Lube off and on and this past summer they offered me a management job where I would make more than I will as a social worker with a master’s degree and a clinical license. Fantastic. But I turned them down to go get my master’s degree and clinical license.

How messed up is that? A high school dropout hustling air filters can make more than a college graduate. And speaking of things that are messed up, what kind of system pays the most needed people (teachers, social workers) the least and the least needed people (athletes, actors, rock stars) the most? A messed up system.

I think I’ll get my MBA instead and go to work for some corporation where I can get money and respect, because social workers get neither.

I started out wanting to save the world but I don’t want to anymore. Well, I guess I still want to, but I am too tired and too poor and in too much debt. I am less concerned now with saving the world and more concerned with never having to eat ramen noodles ever again. But it appears that my ramen eating days won’t be coming to an end anytime soon since, as I’ve mentioned, social workers perform crucial services but still get paid peanuts. There is no light at the end of the poverty tunnel.

And what concerns me the most is I am rapidly losing my faith in people.

One of my friends is a horticulture grad student who is studying onions, and I’ve decided that I am going to do the same. Onions might make you cry sometimes, but they can’t be nearly as depressing as people. Onions don't beat their kids or spouses. Onions don't do all kinds of shady things to get money or power. Onions don’t oppress or discriminate against other vegetables.

Onions have only one humble desire and that is to flavor your fajitas, and I can't help but love them for that.


  1. this is kinda sad... you're switching to horticulture??
    sounds like you would be way better at MBA and management type of deal. and the head of our MBA program is really cool, I had a class from her last semester. Let me know if you ever want me to help you figure out the business college.

  2. I certainly hope you don't quit writing! I just found you. Oh, and I hope you don't quit social worker either. We need so many more men. Troubled males need strong, successful and yes, even hilarious male role models. Keep up the good writing.

  3. Jacob! I hear you. I am feeling almost the exact same thing! I'm in the Family Ecology program up at the University of Utah & lately I'm wondering if it's the right path to even go because of pretty much every mentioned thing in your blog! I teach at an elementry school while going to graduate school & as a waitress in Rexburg, I made almost the same thing I make now! CRAZINESS. All I can say is... follow your heart & do what feels right! As cheesy & girlie as that sounds.

  4. My friend Prin told me to come by and show some support...please don't quit! Im working full time in child welfare and getting my msw at the same time. It sucks much of the time. I've been doing this job 7 years and yes im jaded and cynical. but i still believe that some people will change because they want to, and enough of them do to keep me going. its very important because no one else cares but us! good luck - there are lots of us sw bloggers out here venting, so come by anytime.

  5. Hey, I know you don't know me--Prin referred me. I'm not going to try to pretend that I know exactly what you're going through, or that you really ought to do social work no matter what. I will say that the school part was the worst part of social work for me. I'll also say that there are plenty of social workers out there who have a solid dose of realism, maturity, and hope:

    Give 'em a read before you give up entirely.

    Best, Blue Jeans

  6. Again, via Prin. Another social worker who has come out the other side - I know what you mean about the idealism v jadedness (is jadedness a word.. well, you know what I mean). It isn't all like that though - not all the time. The world is best changed in small doses and one step at a step. The difference made in peoples' lives really does change their worlds for them.
    I wanted to change to the world. Now, I just want to promote the change in others to enable them to change their own worlds. It is possible.
    Take care.

  7. You're not the ONLY male out there--there's one in Canada too!

    He's in school as well.

    So buck up! Now that you have all these women, social worker, jaded, crazy bloggers behind you, you can't quit. Except when I need my oil changed--then we'll talk.

  8. Hey Jacob! Sorry things are so crappy at your internship... I do admire you for believing so much in what you do, though. I don't know if I ever told you that. :) But keep up the good work! You're, um, the best.

  9. Dude, stop being a sissy social worker and become a writer. Write about social problems and change the world by writing. You got skills that most people don't, and you can totally use them to better the world without having to be a case worker. Serious!

    Now I'm only writing this because half a dozen people didn't know you were being facetious in that post and it looks like you got barraged with pleas of "don't quit." That makes me laugh. So I'm saying "do quit!" Heheh. I'm such a bad person...

  10. Jacob.
    I know exactly how you feel. Get the hell out now! :) Hooray for onions. I am in my masters program and it's just depressing when you know that 99% of the people you deal with will never get better. Just another cog in the machine we're all a part of. :) I hope all is well. It's good to see what you are up to. Good luck in your choice, man. Just remember, maybe you will help some people...and if that is really what you want to it. If not. GET OUT NOW! :) LOL! It's good to hear from you.

    Check us


  11. As reas mentioned, you're not the only male social worker out there.

    I get how hard it is being one of the few males in the program and then, on top of that, being one of the few rational ones. I get more annoyed with the pie in the sky types than the women. ;)

    And your internship sounds like it sucks. I have no idea what area it is in, but I remember when my placement went stagnant, I went looking for things to do and created some fun. for whether you should continue (I'm assuming this is just blowing off steam?), I'm not one to say that. I always joke about quitting and going into accounting. I will say a couple things:

    1. The "one man for every 30 women" thing worked out for me. That's all I'm saying on that subject. ;)
    2. I know many male social workers that make management VERY quickly. The old rules still apply (no matter how unfair they are for all) and we are extremely favored in the field.

    Just something to think about. If you want to chat more, there's an email link on my site.