Adolescents wait for their first paid job with a certain portion of excitement and unrest. As Anjela Carter noted in her book Young People, Employment, and Work Psychology, the reason behind this anticipation is a sense of getting closer to financial independence. In other words, it means the motive for being proud and getting closer to becoming an adult. Later, the first wage or salary gets stuck in one’s mind long for their life. I am not an exception, and my first experience of work is a memorable and important adventure for me.
As an individual, I consider myself to be an introvert. I have never imagined that I would be able to accomplish the responsibilities connected to working with people because I grew up as a reserved and humble individual. Generally, I am scared of being the center of attention and talking to the public. At the moment when I got an offer to be an intern at a rehabilitation center, I was so startled because I thought I would fail. I realized that I did not have proficient social skills, which could seriously affect my performance. Moreover, continually interacting with new people and chatting with them scared me, and overcoming this fear was an extremely challenging task to achieve.
The day I first came to work, I felt annoyed and excited at the same time. My heart was pounding too fast; obviously, I had some tachycardia, and my body prepared me to face the challenge. I felt the drops of sweat cover my forehead and back, which made me worried if I looked inappropriately on my first working day. Nevertheless, I was embraced warmly and introduced to the team, who happened to be helpful, caring, and friendly. This fact helped me to adapt and overcome my fears quickly.
My responsibilities included meeting patients and answering their numerous questions while they were waiting for their appointment. At first, I faced several problems that arose due to the lack of previous experience. The first challenge was the persistent feeling of doubt about my actions and sayings. My fear of looking like an incompetent intern made matters worse as I was bumbling because of being scared. Moreover, I was uncertain about the correctness of my accomplishments and struggled to find the right words and phrases to deliver my thoughts without ambiguity.
The second difficulty was the fear of interaction that I had experienced in the past. As a modest person who had never directly worked with people before, I had trouble finding the natural communication style to use with patients of different ages and backgrounds. I tried to answer their questions and avoid complex terms simultaneously, which affected my speech fluency. Fortunately, the clients were kind and supportive, which helped me to put my thoughts together and produce concise sentences. I learned to prepare my thoughts before I speak and think about what to say next while speaking.
The concern of new difficulties that I had to struggle with every day was the third issue to tackle. I did not know what kind of patients I was going to meet the next day. Sometimes, when I thought that I had realized how to treat a particular type of caretakers, there came utterly different ones that required a different approach for them. My strategy for coping with this problem was to imitate my senior colleagues. After some time of copying my mentors’ behavior, I have outlined the specific points for improving my performance at work. Systemizing the acquired knowledge in my mind helped me to settle my feelings and show good results.
I acquired several essential skills and vital knowledge that affected my future career plans. To name a few, they are the ways of dealing with stress, effective strategies of social communication, and team-working skills. I gained confidence after I understood that my colleagues were ready to help me and give support. I learned the necessary behavior to tackle the problems with particular patients, approaches to comfort them, phrases for building trusting relationships. I believe this knowledge is crucial for any young worker who has problems with their self-esteem and social skills.
Despite my worst expectations, this adventure has changed my self-perception by making me a more unrestricted, courteous, understanding, and self-sufficient person. Looking back on my experience, I feel grateful for the opportunity to work in such a supportive community. I was lucky to meet these mentors at the start of my career. I am willing to share my knowledge as I am sure that many young people struggle with similar problems that I had. I am convinced that the experience I gained during the internship is an invaluable practice that is a crucial contribution to my future self-development. Now, I do not fear entering a work position, which requires working with people. Even though I understand that there will be some different challenges to face in my future situations, I feel more prepared.
Carter, Anjela. (2019). Young People, Employment and Work Psychology: Interventions and Solutions. Routledge.