The first job: a challenge at all levels
The social integration of young people represented no considerable problem in the previous centuries, as intermediary stages existed, such as the apprenticeship, which evolved under conditions of severe tutelage by adults. Towards the end of the last century, things changed dramatically. Visible mutations of the individual role and statute determined the reconsideration of the primary values and understandings of human condition. Youth has established itself as a distinct period in the social life and the specific problems have been amplified, creating the so called “crises”. As a consequence, young people suffer the most, as they are strongly aware of the contrast between reality and desideratum.
The fundamental type of activity for a young man becomes the statute of employee, who produces tangible and spiritual goods, providing services and adapting to a particular type of activity. The system of relationships becomes very complex and regards:
- The Employment hierarchy (the relationships with colleagues and superiors);
- The relationships with the family of origin or with one’s own family.
The contradictions system is very powerful and sometimes provides undesirable consequences. Firstly, these are related to the professional debut, family establishment, the contradiction between the student vs employee style, as well as the life rhythm. The achievement of the adult statute is determined by gaining an economic autonomy.
As Saul McLeod mentioned, there are several stages within youth development. The essential ones involve correlations between amplifying the achievement of social identity and the social involvement by employment. One of the most frequent difficulties that are to be found during the first employment adaptation process is the total change of rhythm and lifestyle. The professional rhythm and style provide certain fundamental aspects such as resting, nutrition or sleep that have to be seriously taken into consideration.
The process of primary professional identification, as well as the integration into the working processes are accomplished through:
- Gradual familiarization with working schedule, style and the organization system (these aspects will produce changes in one’s biological rhythms, such as wake-up, sleep, rest etc.);
- Difficulties of adaptation are felt especially in terms of internal tensions and rethinking of one’s own aspirations (these aspects refer to the characteristics and difficulties of the working process);
Nevertheless, the complex adaptation to the working process’s rigors takes place together with the development of professional requirements (timetable, shift work), as well as with improvements in the professional/extraprofessional relationships.
Another frequent difficulty that is to be found during the professional integration process is the balance between what the employee knows, what one is able to do in relation to what is considered desirable, and what one is asked to do. Contradictions also appear between what the fresh employee has been asked to do at school and what is required from him at work, which will eventually lead to setting goals related to self-confidence and emotional stability.
To sum up, the adaptation process to the professional environment does provide various difficulties for young people, both in terms of the biological rhythm and the emotional stability. This process is a crucial one, especially when it comes to enriching professional experience and developing one’s characteristics as a professional.