Public Policy Consultant to Social Work

Career Change from Public Policy to Social Work

June 25, 2012

Hi Anthony —

Hope you’re doing well. I wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how everything is going. I ended up getting into all three MSW programs I applied to and decided to enroll George Mason.

I just found out late last week that I’m going to get a Graduate Research Assistantship which is going to essentially pay for my tuition. I was actually a bit surprised by the assistantship. I applied because I figured there was no reason not to, but I also figured the positions would probably go to people that had some Social Work background (BAs and such). But I think my Policy background gave me something that no one else had.

It’s a bit scary, but exciting. I’m going to be insanely busy, what with classes, school work, my field placement and now the assistantship, but I’m pretty confident I can handle it all.

I’m currently working part-time at REI (a fun stop-gap job he loves) and am going to work there through the summer. After that, there won’t be anymore time for REI, so that’s kind of a shame, but at least I got a chance to do it again for a while.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me. Thanks for all the help and encouragement. I really feel like this is going to turn out great.

Hope everything’s going great with you.


Backstory: From Policy Consulting to MSW in Social Work

————— Jordan’s Career Change Program started in June 2011 ———————

Jordan’s undergrad was Government and Politics. From there, he got a Masters in Public Policy and a certificate in Health Policy but never pursued a career or job in these areas. He discovered that it was very difficult to break into the policy field and didn’t like it enough to fight that fight.

By his early thirties he landed a gig as a consultant for one of the big 4. Nice pay, but he was miserable. The firm benched him and put him on the chopping block, he wasn’t happy and it showed.

Through the careerfinder testing, Jordan discovered that he’s an individualist and this explained why he disliked the work enviroment at the firm. No matter how hard he tried, “getting with the program” was too painful to do with authenticity. The firm encouraged employees to meet after work everyday for happy hour to drink and socialize, he hated that.

On top of a severe mismatch with this work environment, Jordan was searching for meaningful work. He didn’t find the firm’s work personally important, and in fact he thought they were borderline unethical. His talents were sitting idle, where the day to day work was mostly administrative program management paper shuffling.

Jordan’s career situation was among the more painful to endure, he was mismatched on several levels: his talents were unsuited to the job functions; he didn’t find purpose in it; and the environment left him feeling isolated and unwelcome. A severe career mismatch feels like career hell, he was as close as you can get to real life in a Dilbert comic strip.

The good news is that Jordan found his element in the realm of counseling. He discovered that he’s more of a healer with a comedic twist. Rather than a policy wonk that hovers above the fray, he’s a caregiver. Jordan is brilliantly funny and his super high diagnostic ability can size up people in a flash.

His aptitude profile is the “Applied Social Scientist,” with a talent combination of the Extroverted Maestro with a Sensor-Feeler (SF) temperament, moderate in spatial thinking, high analytical reasoning, high diagostic reasoning, and high idea flow.

The policy domain wasn’t too far off the mark, but some people can feel that tiny pea under the 19th mattress. Most policy work is abstract and a couple steps removed from contact with real people. Jordan thrives out on the front lines working with people in a supportive and intimate way. Interestingly, he has family members in social work, including his wife. They all saw his nature and he had hunches too, but he didn’t want to do what everyone else did. It’s a “maestro” quirk, they have to be different. I’m glad that he found his way forward. : )*