Will I Have a Social Work Legacy?

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The part where you mentioned that the body of work you've left behind as a social worker can be seen in the memories of the people you've encountered really inspired me to be a social worker like you. I've always thought that it was an absurd idea that despite my parents telling me I should pursue a money-making career, my heart kept me telling otherwise. I am deeply touched with what you've written and it convinced me further to apply for a social work licensing workshop next year.


Zoe Campos more than 2 years ago

Exactly what I needed!

Wow, this article was so beautifully understated. It laid open so many things I'm struggling with as I enter the last half of my 4th decade on this earth. I have no biological children, my work as a clinical social worker, takes up most of my life. I don't have much in the way of family and being an introvert I tend not to socialize too much. When I pass on (hopefully not for another 40+ years) what mark will I leave and will my presence be missed or will I be just a ghost who's drifted through life but left no impression to be remembered by? Your article gives me hope that sometimes, just by showing up to work with an open heart and an understanding mind and being present for these kids, I can make a positive impact. And with how crazy this world gets maybe just leaving people feeling a bit better then they were before they interacted with me is enough of a legacy. I truly hope so. Because I love being a social worker and I can't imagine being anything else.

Libby Parham more than 2 years ago

giving back our legacy

So appreciated your written piece. This is my 40th year in SW and besides encouraging my colleagues (I am in hospital social work, so there are a lot of us) I grabbed the opportunity to make a community presentation. Thinking that NASW encourages us to continue to educate others, it is with joy that I collect my experiences and make a presentation of the importance of social workers, in this case, working with adult kids of aging parents and all the family drama that comes with that task. My only dilemma is that the organization I am presenting for, wants to know my references (scholarly journals etc)...dare I say my experience and expertise over the decades = my references?!

Pamela Eliason more than 3 years ago

Practice wisdom

I think it is legitimate. You are sharing your practice wisdom. If you MUST have published references, find one or two that are in sync with your experience.

SocialWorker.com more than 3 years ago


As a newly minted MSW still looking for their first job (at forty five years old I might add), I would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about the long-term effects of my future work. Who will I work with? What will be able to add to their lives? Will I catch the attention of respected colleagues who will ask me to speak at a conference? These thoughts continue to cross my mind daily...all before I have even accepted a job. So thank you Ms. Graf for taking the time to share a piece of you in a way that will help me stay grounded.
Your words caused me to pause and reflect on why I chose this profession. It sure wasn't to leave a legacy, but if I do that will be nice too. :)

Joseph C Dorsey more than 3 years ago

Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

Thank you!!! Thank you!!! As I approached retirement after 28 years as a medical social worker (LCSW-R) I also wonder about my legacy. Thank you so much for capturing what my heart has felt and my compassion for such a noble profession. I proudly say I am a social worker.

Gerre more than 3 years ago

Thank you for this!

It was with great interest that I read your article as I have been contemplating the very same thing having now worked as a social worker/clinical supervisor for 44 years! I also often think of the people in my life who probably had no idea how a simple work or gesture made a profound difference to me in my life. I like to tell new staff that I believe that in doing the best we can, we may be planting seeds that may only come to light long after we are out of our clients' lives.

Pauline Solari PSW more than 3 years ago

2nd Acts

Linda sharing a new special report called 2 nd Acts stories from 20 nurses who shared their legacy

Anne Llewellyn more than 3 years ago


Thank you, foremost, for your heart. The heart that called you to social work. The heart that serves hundreds of families and kiddos and, while maybe not as memorable as Barack Obama or Melissa Etheridge, the heart that makes an impact though others.
I am still a BSW student, but I often think about the mark I will leave on society. I will begin my social work career in child welfare this August and I am utterly terrified. As a brand new social worker, I will have such big shoes to fill and such an important work to do. How will I be remembered by those families and children?

Corrina Holmes more than 3 years ago

Absolutely love this!

I am going to share this with my mother....I am a 30-year social worker and she started her social work career in 1960 and worked 45 years before retiring. Thank you for sharing - we all matter

Kathryn Dixon more than 3 years ago

Love the article!

Linda I appreciate this article so much... you have no idea...but then again you do. There are so many of us who feel this way. I have been in the social work field for over 25 years and I have felt this way so many times I've lost count of the times I don't feel this way. I always wanted to be that Social Worker who got publicly recognized or honored at a ceremony. But we must remember are just as important as those who get awards, public recognition and are in the headline news. We are the ones that touch people's lives day in and day out in one way or another. To me we are the stars in the sky that our clients see twinkling when sometimes they feel hopeless. This was truly a need to hear, read and see article.

Tracy Childs more than 3 years ago

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