Ask a Recruiter: Advancing from Direct Care Worker
Question: I have been working with the developmentally disabled community for about 18 years. My most recent job title was Direct Care Worker and I was employed in a group home. When I obtained this job 9 years ago, I only had a GED. Today, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and at the end of the year should have a Master’s Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. I am still interested in working with this community since. It is where my heart is and I am too old to be changing careers. But, I am wondering what type of position could be offered to me for my experience and education from prospective employers? - At a Crossroads, a Workforce1 Career Blog Reader
This question was submitted by a Workforce1 Career Blog reader. If you have a question for a recruiter, ask us. This reader’s question was answered by Angie Kamath, who oversees Workforce1 as the Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development at the NYC Department of Small Business Services.
Answer:First, congratulations on advancing your education so much. I truly believe an appetite and drive to constantly learn is one of the most important qualities a hiring manager should look for in candidates.
Without knowing all of your details, working as a Direct Care Worker is really important and hard work. Continuing to have direct client contact can be satisfying in lots of ways that also include your moving up in title and compensation. Supervising Direct Care Workers – giving them the advice, support, guidance, and leadership – is so critical in this field. You should ask yourself if you are interested in going for some type of management position.
If you would like to go for a management job, but are nervous – that is ok and probably a good thing. I really believe in stretch jobs and roles. If you take a new job and feel day 1 like you’ll ace it, you are probably selling yourself short. In reading between the lines of your question, you should not let your perceptions of “being too old to change jobs” hold you back. We are all as old as we act and feel – not what our actual age is!
Bottom line: my advice is to apply and try to interview for a few management or supervisory roles in group home or direct care settings to test the waters. If after looking at opportunities, you realize that is not for you, then look to roles that are similar to ones you have held in the past with a new organization, or perhaps a difference in responsibility. If you have been in the field for 9 years, you are invaluable for your wisdom and experience. Direct care work is hard and many people burn out. I would like to see you try to look for a position that leverages your skills more and compensates you accordingly.
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