mother and father with their son

In my last post, I broke down the misconception that your organization is competing for employees with places like McDonald’s because of similar pay.

Developmental disability organizations often added to that concern.

What I heard was, “We’re competing with McDonald’s. The pay is similar, and you’re not responsible for someone’s life.

That’s 100% true.

You’re not responsible for someone’s life when working behind a cash register or stocking shelves.

So given the similar pay and far greater responsibility…

Are applicants scared away from working as Direct Support Professionals?

Yes, some are.

And that is NOT a bad thing.

This job is not for everyone. Caring for a person with developmental disabilities requires more.

Who wants this high level of responsibility?

Want a great example of people who accept lots of responsibility?


What comes with parenthood?

  • Less sleep.
  • Less free time.
  • Less money.
  • Less personal space.
  • Changing lots of diapers.

And that’s only a few things people know before being a parent.

Many people still want to be a parent.

Why do some people seek out these challenges?

If you’re a parent, you’re probably nodding your head and disagreeing with the list above at the same time.

The list above is limited to surface level stuff.

There’s so much more that comes with being a parent.

  • Hearing, “I love you.”
  • Getting a hug at the end of a hard day.
  • Seeing your child accomplish something new.
  • Just sitting quietly together.
  • Their smile.

Taking on the responsibility of caring for another person is an opportunity. It’s the opportunity to make a significant difference in a life.

So how should you talk about the responsibility of a DSP?

You don’t want to gloss over it and present it as an easy job.

You also don’t want to overemphasize the challenges and make the job sound like there’s nothing good.

Talk about it the same way your DSPs do.

In talking with great DSPs, I haven’t heard anyone speak negatively about any part of the job.

I’ve asked them about the challenging parts, but they don’t dwell on them.

Instead, the best Direct Support Professionals quickly turn the conversation to how rewarding the work is. They share how caring for a person with DD has taught them more about love and patience. This work has made them a better person and parent.

The people they care for become family for them.

Is that a responsibility? Absolutely—but the best DSPs focus on the opportunities.

Just ask your Direct Support Professionals how a person with DD impacted them.

You’ll see their faces light up as they share how the work has changed them. They feel they get as much or more than they give.

That’s what you should share.

Don’t you owe it to future DSPs to share those stories with them?

Please don’t shy away from the responsibility that comes with the job. Your best DSPs don’t.

Blitz Media Design helps DD nonprofits save money and get their time back by attracting and retaining more DSPs with simple web tools and process consulting.