Mental health impacts of employability – Teenage pressures
As a teenager, the mounting pressure of becoming employed and beginning the journey of supporting yourself is more common than people realise.
This can be generally reduced to two main influencing factors:
- How the education system places pressure on finding work experience so you are ‘preparing for the real world’.
- Witnessing your family struggle financially as a young teen whilst being powerless to help.
Both of these aspects of life will and have affected a teenager’s sense of urgency, outlook on obtaining a job.
Beginning from Year 10, conversations of ‘Work Experience’ begin circulating: search for work experience, build your CV, start signing up now, and so on… This persistent conversation and pressure eventually becomes an increasing worry in the back of your mind.
Especially for teenagers who are not sure of their future – work experience and obtaining work experience or a Saturday job might be an exhausting and rewardless experience. This then develops into a negative mindset and creates their life long attitude towards work and adult decisions.
Currently, the UK is facing a living cost crisis – gas, electricity, food and many more living items are increasing in price. Consequently, this generation of young adults and teenagers are witnessing their families struggling financially.
This situation will increase financial anxiety due to us observing the consequences of unstable or perhaps poor-paying (compared to the cost of living) jobs. Teenagers will feel a pressure to begin the work journey early and perhaps in unsuitable roles so that they can support themselves, or alternatively choosing jobs based on pay alone. This removes the true value of picking a job that rewards you in all aspects: emotionally, physically, educationally and financially.
Furthermore, it is not uncommon for teenagers to start helping to support their family by paying for some groceries or other household necessities. Again, this shapes their attitude towards money and therefore where the money comes from. The pressure to get a job, regardless of how physically and emotionally demanding it may be, is immense and it impacts a teenagers’ wellbeing
WAYS TO COPE:
It may seem like an endless cycle of uncertainty and pressure – but there are ways to soften the hard landing of growing up and the pressures that come along with it.
- Acknowledge your stress and accept that you are not alone – no one really knows what to do with themselves at this point in their life.
- Tell someone and talk about your feelings. Sometimes the greatest financial and job opportunities are right next to you – connections are vital, and you would be surprised how willing those around you are to help you.
- Outline a short-term, middle-term and long-term plan; it can be as detailed as it needs to be, but having at least a very vague idea of what you are aiming towards may help motivate you and ground you through the highs and lows of working life. .
- Stay realistic: you are young, many opportunities will come along. All work experiences have the possibility of being counted as developmental and provide learnings that are beneficial to your work life.. Your life will take you to wonderful places!
As a teenager, be assured that there are job opportunities. It’s important to know that there will be opportunities not only beneficial for educational purposes but also rewarding emotionally.
Although, inevitably some aspects of applying for a job may be extraneous and often out of your comfort zone, those are building blocks of life and experience. We should be equipped with the tools to handle this stress and to look at it as an improvement to our character.