CHAPTER 22
Progress
in the Occupation

PATTERNS OF PROGRESSION

For many persons the beginning job or jobs may have little or no relation to interests, choices, or eventual work history. Many adolescents hold down a series of unrelated jobs, often concurrently with school attendance. These are usually directly related to the availability of the job rather than to the interests of the worker. For those for whom education or other circumstances will open up opportunities for more consequential employment, this period may be a temporary one. For those who do not know what they want to do, it may be a period of trial and error. In these cases it may continue for several years, or the person may be lucky enough to happen upon work that interests him and that can become more or less permanent. There are some who never seem to get beyond this floundering period, as Davidson and Anderson described it. They, and Form and Miller have documented this stage at some length. Jobs available under these circumstances are usually directly related to fluctuating economic conditions, and the number of such jobs open may change overnight.

There is some evidence that working for a year or two between high school and college is not inadvisable. Strabel found that both boys and girls out of school for 2 or more years after high school were definitely superior to others in college success. The high motivation of veterans has been generally noted. Furthermore, Hansen and Paterson found, in a study of the scholastic achievement of 265 veterans, that 63 per cent made substantially higher Honor Point Ratios than they had prewar. What the effect of interruption in education may have upon later life is not known, but the little evidence available would suggest, for example, that military service between high school and college need not have a disrupting effect. Increased maturity at the time of entering college or entering upon work may be helpful.

The initial job may be of very great importance in advancing or

-274-

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