By: Kristen Marie (Kryss) Shane, MSW, LMSW
As this is the time of year when it is customary to make resolutions, I’ve decided to share mine with you.
1. I will be better at utilizing the amazing network of social workers who are willing to guide a newer member of the group.
I will participate in social work chats, I will attend webinars, I will be more active at NASW chapter meetings. I will be less afraid of “bothering” someone and more afraid that not asking will cause me to miss out on knowledge others want to share.
2. I will encourage others to become more active in the politics happening around them.
With everything from our next President to same-sex marriage to teachers’ unions to a woman’s right to choose being debated on, it is important that open-minded people stand together in our votes, so that the folks at the top don’t create laws that will further hinder our clients.
3. I will put myself and my needs first more often.
Although this field so often causes me to feel that there is always more I could be doing—more I could be giving—I will keep in mind that burning myself out benefits no one. I will check massage schools for discount offers, I will buy myself flowers every so often, and I will not feel guilty for using the vacation/sick/personal time off that I have earned.
4. I will become more educated in financial matters.
In a field where most don’t make much, where new laws and aid are coming up every day, it is more important than ever that we each take the time to understand our companies’ retirement options, our flexible spending account opportunities, and what’s changing within the laws of student loan repayment.
5. In addition, I will remember that I vote with every dollar I spend.
I refuse to spend my money at stores that promote inequality, child labor, or political beliefs I disagree with. Even though low prices are great, I will not allow saving a few dollars to mean I am using my money to contribute to the very things my clients battle daily.
6. I will give at least two complements per day.
These may come when someone is especially helpful or when I notice how great the color of someone’s sweater looks when she sits next to me on the subway. The reasons aren’t so important. What is important is that I take a minimum of two moments each day to acknowledge how much better a minute or even a split second was simply because of others’ involvement, and that I perhaps create a chain of kindness that will continue long after I’ve finished the task or left the subway platform.
7. I will branch out.
I will learn both about the topics related to my current client population and about other populations, because the biopsychosocial perspective teaches us that everything is inter-related. As the saying goes, “Well read is well said!”
8. More than anything else, though, I will be happier more often.
I will learn to wake up and see the sunshine before the early time on the clock. I will surround myself with things and people that make me happy and rid myself of everything else. I will be grateful for all I have and put more effort into showing the people I love how much I appreciate their presence in my life.
Happy 2012, Everyone!
Kristen Marie (Kryss) Shane, LMSW, earned her B.S. at The Ohio State University and her MSW at Barry University. She currently resides in the New York City area. Her professional foci are in the areas of LGBTQI issues and in the elder population. She is a regular guest speaker at Columbia University, where she gives professional trainings on making professionals, agencies, and companies more inclusive. She has aided in the introduction of Gay Straight Alliances in numerous high schools; marched in the National Equality March in Washington, D.C.; rallied for non-discrimination laws in numerous states; and she continues to advocate for LGBTQI and elder rights on the local, state, and federal levels. In addition, she is on staff at socialworkchat.org and is a columnist and the 2011 blogger for The New Social Worker, where her weekly thoughts can found at: http://blog.socialworker.com/search/label/Kryss.
From The New Social Worker, Winter 2012, Vol. 19, No. 1.