Bob Inksetter used to work in a fancy kitchen, whipping up tasty meals that would make your mouth water. He was passionate about food, but woke up one day and felt that he needed more. He wanted to give back, to make a difference and help change lives. So; he took a leap of faith and enrolled in a Community and Developmental service worker program, graduated, started working and hasn’t looked back since.
“As a chef I hit the wall with no upward movement that I could see in my career. I was looking for a change and wanted something more fulfilling with more mobility. I asked myself, What’s my purpose? How do I want to leave the world? I knew that when I checked out I wanted to leave the world a little bit better…I guess it was an age thing, but I knew I could do something fulfilling.”
Being a Community and/or Developmental service worker is a calling. It’s a passion for helping people from all walks of life and a desire to make a direct impact on people’s lives. The paycheque isn’t six figures but the job satisfaction is second to none.
Inksetter works as a family support worker at the Good Sheppard in Hamilton, ON. His main focus is homelessness; helping his clients find housing after difficult situations. The Good Sheppard is the only family shelter in Hamilton meaning that they help with shelter for families that have a mother, father and children or a father led family.
“It’s the only option for dads,” Inksetter says, “so that’s kind of sad and yet cool to be a part of at the same time.”
“I’m not gonna lie,” Inksetter comments, “there are days it is really tough,” but he then went on to say that one day in particular will always stand out to him.
“We were helping this really young family try to find housing. The mom was only 16 and the dad was 18. They had experienced a lot of trauma and barriers, but they just wanted to live as a family. It took a long time, but eventually we got them a house. Our whole office had a celebration, lots of high fives were passed around. It was a great day to be able to give them a start.”
Lindsay Riehl, who considers herself a human services advocate, has worked as a community service worker for a decade.
“You have to have a really strong will and you need to know your limits,” she explains.
“You understand how lucky you are because after a hard day, least we can it behind and go home to our families, eat a meal and turn on the tv to unwind; something that our clients don’t usually have the means to do. It can be hard to see the situations people are living in, but you just learn to turn it off as a professional,” Riehl explains.
Riehl worked most of her career with brain injury patients; helping them to integrate back into the world and get back on their feet.
“When I can walk into a room, sense my client’s mood and diffuse a situation, I find that very rewarding,” she explains.
Riehl has since moved on to the developmental side of service work helping people with physical, mental or intellectual development disabilities function better in the classroom, at work or in their day-to-day life and is enjoying the change.
“There is so much room for growth,” she explains, “New techniques, new ways to get involved in making positive change, there are so many possibilities.”
Riehl admits that there are hard days, but the bottom line is that there are many more days that you can go home knowing you have made a real difference.
Both Inksetter and Riehl admit that one down side to service work is burn out, it can be so hard to leave the work at work, but you learn to compartmentalize your emotions and do what needs to be done during working hours only.
If you can identify with both Inksetter and Riehl as being someone who wakes up thinking, “How am I going to make this world just a little bit better for someone else today?”, then you are definitely the type of person who would excel in a career as Community and/or Developmental Service Worker, click here to learn more.