Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in care? Been put off by the ideas and representations you see on tv or film? Or wonder if you would be a great fit for a career in social care? Well, we spoke to Chris Smales, a registered manager at Vincent Place, one of our Glenholme facilities for specialist care about his journey in the industry. He candidly spoke on the pros and cons of working in social care and what you’d need to look out for before embarking on a career in care. Here are the four things you should know before working in care from someone who has worked in care for 10 years, starting from the ground up to becoming a registered manager.

  1. Listening to your community

Sounds vague but when sharing his career development journey with us, Chris explained how he first started out. His mother was a teacher and worked as a Special Needs Coordinator. He occasionally volunteered his time helping pupils that had ADHD and autism with their reading. He enjoyed the time he was able to spend helping others and it felt rewarding. After some years of travelling, he started to look for a stable career and settle down.

His family and loved ones suggested he look into working in care. They went on to explain that they saw his compassionate and empathetic nature as traits that would be suited for that industry. He followed their advice and began his now decade-long career in care. Chris explained how important it was to have listened to the community around him, explaining that “these people know me best; everyone likes to think they know themselves but you don’t necessarily know how other people perceive you”.

That could be the key to finding your career path, whether in care or something else completely. Hearing positive affirmations from your close circle, Chris went on to say “what you think is just your personality, people see that as a strength.”

2) Don’t believe everything you hear

Society does a thorough job of misrepresenting people, places and things. The care industry is no different. When asked about previous misconceptions of what he thought the care would look like, he stated that there was much more to it than cleaning up after people.

Chris shared this about working with people living with disabilities – “It’s all about empowering them to feel part of a community and be young in a community. Not just young disabled people, we don’t judge people by their disability.” He shared that it’s more about what they bring and provided in society as people first that matters.

As a person who’s worked in care for many years, he shared how misconceptions we think of aren’t necessarily the reality. Pushing past the limits of prejudice that society puts around us and seeing the humanity in people is key.

3) If you want to drive a Lamborghini, social care may not be for you.

 “For me, that’s the hardest thing. The fact that we see people working their backsides off, day in and day out and yet the money is still so bad”. Chris described working in social care as a vocation that you do because you want to help. He sees it as more than just a job.

So, if you’re thinking to yourself that you’d like to make an impactful difference in people’s lives. Then this career is for you. The truth about the social care industry is that it’s underfunded. Though companies like ours pay a fair wage, as a whole, the industry is still having to make a lot of cuts. Chris jokingly points out that if “you’re looking to drive a supercar then social care isn’t the path for you”.  During this discussion, what came to light was that working in care is about appealing to your compassionate nature. It’s an occupation where you give a lot with the rewarding benefit of knowing you’re doing meaningful work as the ultimate payoff.

4) You have to have it in you

What does that mean? Well, simply put Chris shared three traits someone has to possess for them to have a long and successful career in care. He adds that “anybody can become a carer, but not many people can succeed at it and make a difference in people’s lives.”  He describes the need to have a ‘kindness gene’ ‘for you to be cut out for care. To be a little more compassionate, kinder and committed to the people you’re supporting. So, if you desire to better the lives of those around you, consider a role in care.

Click here to head over to our careers page to start your journey in care today.