The process of emancipation of the late adolescent often evokes mixed feelings. This is especially true when late adolescents enter the workplace. They simultaneously look forward to and fear the responsibility of adulthood. As part of their acquiring independence, they criticise boundaries. This often results in conflict. They often present with open enmity towards other persons, especially those with authority in the workplace, and show poor problem-solving skills with superficial interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. A qualitative, explorative and descriptive study concerning the experiences with regard to the assertiveness of late adolescents in the work environment was executed with the aid of scenarios. This research attempted to establish late adolescents’ experiences of their own assertiveness with superiors, peers and inferiors in the workplace. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and students from a vocational training college were invited to participate. It was found that late adolescents experience the workplace as exposing; that they experience emotional distress and an inability to communicate needs; that they are prone to blame and need to prove their innocence; that they experience being intimidated by superiors, which let them compromise their preferences and react by using aggressive language and behaviour. Cognitive mechanisms are used to gain control over the situation and they experience a need for psychological and physical distancing from the problem. Alternatively, they will consider resignation and start looking for another job. Guidelines to support late adolescents on entering the workplace will be presented.
|Keywords:||Late Adolescent, Assertiveness, Workplace, Emotional Distress, Coping Mechanisms|
Senior Lecturer, Solidarity, University of Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Professor, Psychiatric Nursing Science, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Gauteng, South Africa
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