Charlie Kramer is a social worker working at the Southern Tier Independence Center. Along with working with clients of all backgrounds and ages at the center, Charlie also has his own practice in which he sees clients privately. Just looking at Charlie, you can see in his demeanor and even in his eyes that he has a real love for being a social worker serving populations with disabilities. With over 30 years of experience, Charlie definitely has a ton of advice, stories, and lessons for new social workers or for those interested in the field. Here are some of the things he has to say:
- “It is important to have a lot of tools because if all you’ve got is a hammer, then all you’re gonna see is a nail.” As a social worker, it is important that you come prepared to work with your clients with a toolbox filled with different techniques, approaches, and practices that best cater to the needs of the person; however, one must remember that not every technique may work with every person. With Client A, it may be best to work with your hammer, but with Client B, they may not take too well to the hammer, so it is the social worker’s job to find the tool that works best for them.
- Client first, file later. Charlie makes sure each time he initially begins working with a client that he does not look at their file in order to not create an initial bias prior to first meeting them and working with them. He stressed the importance of the person over the disability or diagnosis. Getting to know the person first without any preconceived ideas of who they are allows one to approach the person as they are and get to know them in a more genuine, less judgmental way.
- “Remember to do it because you love to do it.” No matter what field you go into, whether it be social work or any other profession, a love for the work is important in order to garner a passion for the work, a genuine interest in the work, and to put out the best work one can put out. With social work, compassion, kindness, and other abilities and skills are gained easily by those who have a love for the work and a love for helping their clients help themselves overcome any hurdles or obstacles life may put in their path. When that passion is present, one is able to help a client in a positive way, and that love will be felt by all who interact with the social worker.
Guest Speaker Charlie Kramer 4/14/2016