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Working Youth: Psychological Observations in Café


There are many reasons for young people to start working, and they are mostly related to a person’s need to be self-sufficient. One may need to save money to buy something expensive or pay for education, while others may just want to have enough pocket money. Overall, the reasons to work are either revolving around a person’s need to support themselves or their family. In this paper, I would like to discuss and review various meanings of working in the experience of young individuals. My discussion will be largely based on field notes and a few-hours observation in one of the local coffee shops.

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Field Notes

The workplace selected for this assignment was a small coffee shop. It has about twenty seats in total, and a significant part of the space is taken by a cake showcase and a bar stand, where employees prepare coffee and other beverages. During lunchtime, it was not too busy. The whole atmosphere of the place was very relaxed, and it was pleasant to stay there.

Only three people were visibly involved in the work. They mostly spent time at the bar stand preparing drinks and snacks for customers. Once in a while, one of them left the counter to bring order to a visitor. It seemed that all the three employees performed the same duties, and the workload was equally distributed among them so that it was impossible to distinguish their actual professional roles and positions. They all were also about the same age − from 18 to 25.

Overall, the workers did not show any signs of work-related stress. It is possible to say that the main reason for that was the lack of a formal professional hierarchy. They seemed to enjoy what they did, were friendly to visitors, talked nicely to each other, smiled, and sometimes laughed. At the same time, they appeared to be involved in work so that customers did not feel ignored.

Kinds of Young Workers

It is possible to say that young people working in places like the selected coffee shop are mostly students who aim to earn money to cover their study loans. However, young employees can also still be in high school and work for various reasons, e.g., because they live in a low-income family and need to support their relatives. There are also many examples of young workers who already graduated but cannot find a job related to their specialty and, thus, they have to work as waiters or bartenders. All in all, young people work for a great variety of reasons, and they are usually significant enough to be a proper incentive for personal growth and learning through working.

Work Experience

Work experience for young people is mostly stressful even if the job may seem easy at first, like in the selected coffee shop. It is challenging to find a job that is both profitable and stress-free. Most of the time, young people are left with jobs that either provide minimal chances of earning enough money or are connected with a very unhealthy environment. In some cases, it may be challenging to establish a proper relationship with colleagues and superiors. Very often young people are treated as inexperienced and unneeded. Still, work can be a positive experience. Aside from personal growth, young workers can develop many skills. Moreover, through communication with different people, they may significantly improve their social skills and self-sufficiency.

Pros and Cons of Working

Young people may be much more influenced by stressful environments than adults who are mostly more resistant to stress. Furthermore, it is often challenging to find appropriate life-work or study-work balance. Nevertheless, the main advantages of working at a young age include personal growth and material independence. It is very important to become independent and self-sufficient as early as possible to avoid many obstacles further in life. From this standpoint, working may be regarded as highly valuable. Furthermore, for a young person, work may become a source of important social contacts. Positive outcomes of this may not be necessarily very obvious, but it is always beneficial to have a lot of people whom one can trust and on whom they can depend.

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