Self-Fulfilling Unemployment

Whether you’re at school, college or university it’s pretty likely you’ve been told by your teacher, parent or any other scaremonger just how difficult it will be to find a job once you leave, but can all this negativity be having a subconscious effect on our ability to actually find work?

In 1968, psychologist Robert Rosenthal walked in to a primary school class and told the teacher that he would be conducting a Harvard aptitude test on all of the students to find out which ones were bloomers or spurters (anticipating that these students were brighter and showed more potential than the rest).  By the end of the year, sure enough these students went on to have not only higher grades but also did better on their IQ tests, so what was the catch?

Rosenthal later revealed that the ‘Harvard’ tests conducted were completely bogus and the children dubbed bloomers and spurters were in fact chosen at random! Because the teachers had been given the notion that these children were brighter than the rest, they ended up engaging and challenging them more often seeing their mistakes as a learning experience and setting higher goals. This confirmed the teachers suspicion that they were in fact much brighter than the rest.

“When teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not so encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways.” – James Rhem

If we continue telling young people that jobs are few and far between and feeding them propagandist stats about thousands of people applying for a single job, naturally they’re going to start believing the hype and fall prey to the expectancy bias.

“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” – Thomas, 1928

I believe there is a huge opportunity right now for teachers and parents to become supporters and advocates of better practices to help young people secure job roles or even to start their own businesses but this all starts by first boosting their confidence rather than crushing it before they’ve even begun.

 Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

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Self Fulfilling Unemployment - Confidence

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