Good social work has always included transitions and endings, whether it be a case closing, someone moving into or out of residential care, or the death of a client. In my career I’ve closed hundreds of cases, waved good-bye to thousands of clients, changed jobs that required me to move from beloved communities, and attended funerals of cherished colleagues. For me, managing transitions well has always been essential to good, ethical social work.
Transitions have been described as turning points in our lives that signal an end of one phase and the beginning of another. Social workers understand transitions and know that managing them well often provides a powerful lasting conclusion that reinforces therapeutic gains and deepens relationships.
As I transition from NASW and prepare for retirement, it has been a time of positive reflection for me filled with feelings of accomplishment and thankfulness for the good fortune to work with such wonderful colleagues. Simultaneously, I am going through the common emotions that people go through when they experience transitions
I am experiencing a mix of feelings, thoughts and emotions centered around ending my job duties on a positive note, feeling the loss of colleagues and favorite assignments, struggling with letting go, and anxiously anticipating the new beginnings that await me.
Ending one’s career is difficult no matter who we are. I know acknowledging the difficulty is vital for a healthy transition, so I am allowing myself to feel the full range of emotions associated with ending my tenure at NASW. I also have thought a lot about how, in the future,
I can continue to contribute to strengthening the association for the advancement of
Having served as NASW’s chief executive officer for the past nine years, I know improving the association requires all of us to be part of the improvement effort. Being bystanders is not an option. We all need to be engaged, energized, excited, and part of NASW’s ongoing evolution. There are ample opportunities for active participation in national and chapter efforts that advance our rich history of service to our members and the profession.
Knowing that channeling energies into collective efforts will create an even stronger profession going forward, as stakeholders we must work together to strengthen the largest professional social work association in the country. In the coming months and years, NASW will address many challenges to social work, including social worker safety, student loan debt forgiveness, social worker salaries and reimbursements, fair and just pathways into the profession, and pursuit
of our racial and social justice priorities.
As I transition into retirement, I take great comfort and pride in knowing NASW is strong and moving forward with purpose and passion.
Contact Angelo McClain at firstname.lastname@example.org