FOne of the most important steps in your early life is the career you choose. After all, what was learned while training or studying should ideally make up a large part of a career – and not only that: for many, the first job also means being independent of their parents for the first time and making their own decisions.
This also has an inevitable effect on our personality. Psychologist Eva Asselmann and Jule Specht from Humboldt University in Berlin examined exactly how tasks and decisions change us when we enter professional life. To do this, they used information from over 3,500 potential career beginners and from over 2,500 people who are either on the verge of retirement or about to enjoy retirement. The researchers published their findings in the specialized journal ‘Personality Magazine’.
The beginning of your career makes you more mature
Psychologists received data from Socio-economic painting, Which is a long-term representative study from Germany that has been conducted annually since 1984. With the help of the questions answered there, researchers have tried to find out how clear the five personality traits – openness, social connection, conscientiousness, compatibility, and emotional stability – in each case in the years since Before and after starting work or retirement. The commission surveyed characteristics in four waves between 2005 and 2017.
It has been shown that young people entering professional life for the first time gain noticeably better conscience in the following years, are more open and more socially compatible. The opposite effect was observed in retired elderly people: their conscience decreased significantly after active work. Study director Eva Asselmann said in an interview with WELT:
You may know this from yourself: When a change is imminent in life, you feel a little nauseous.
For a beginner in a career, this might be the thought: Now is the beginning of the serious side of life. I work all day, how should I do that? But there are fears of this kind also among retirees, the psychiatrist explains. If you have worked for many years and followed a regular daily routine that is no longer viable, this can also be frightening. Then retirees ask themselves questions like: What do I do all my time?
According to the researchers, there are no differences between gender, age, whether you work full-time or part-time and whether you started your career or retirement early or late.
The first real job that makes you happier
In other studies, psychologists have also looked at how starting a career and retiring affects well-being. It turns out that after starting a career, young people become noticeably happier and satisfied with their lives.
This could also be related to the fact that the daily routine develops with a lot of structures and routines that have a stabilizing effect on the psyche.
The study director concluded that in terms of life satisfaction, new and higher income, of course, could play a role. You don’t need to worry too much about whether or not you should purchase this roll because you have a larger financial pillow.
Lower expectations = more serenity in old age?
The study results thus support the prevailing assumption that we become more mature when we enter professional life and more relaxed upon exit – also known as the “la dolce vita” effect.
Whether you lay on the hammock or hold ten honorary positions, it is up to you.
According to Aselman, this also explains why there are only a few personality changes at this advanced stage in life. It is true that conscience decreases drastically because people are forced to perform less specific tasks and they can simply be more relaxed. However, in other personality traits, it is difficult for researchers to identify any difference.
Psychologists explain that young professionals are becoming more mature and retired people more relaxed because we face clear expectations at work.
When I work somewhere, I usually get a very clear indication of what the expectations are for me.
Once you deviate from it, for example inhale a customer, you will notice very quickly, even if you are a beginner in the business, that this is not welcome. This transparent and very clear expectation helps young people mature quickly as they begin their careers. And since it no longer applies to retirees, they take life more easily.
Occupation defines personality
In another study, Asselmann examined how the birth of a child affects personality. To their great surprise, she and her classmates could barely see any change in this life event – despite the common belief that the responsibility of the newborn should also lead to a more mature personality. she believes:
Parental requirements are less clear.
Salman said that even if many people have an idea what makes a perfect mother or a perfect father. If you do not behave optimally towards the child in everyday life, the parents will not immediately feel the consequences. The psychologist explains that the more explicit a person’s requirements and goals are, the more likely they are to affect our personality.
Career changes seem to have a stronger effect on personality than family changes. So the profession is very important to our development.
According to Asselmann, the study results can help employers think more carefully about the responsibility and influence they have on young people just starting their careers. As a next step, more studies should show how the daily lives of young and retired professionals are changing and how the new daily routine affects personality.