I was in Città di Castello to give a presentation at an international meeting (which I report about on other pages of the newspaper) and, during the discussion, the Director of the hosting school also chairman of the conference proposed the following reflection : once in the world of labour, at the end of their studies, will the young be happy?
I thought of a beautiful, sad old song by Luca Carboni, which goes “Teachers never asked us if we were happy”, and which I find myself reflecting on from time to time, to find some analogy between a fair aspiration to happiness and the need to hold a job, with all that it involves: commitment, the need to improve one’s performance, having to adjust to the workplace and face up to its system of rules, and often the need to renounce other contingent opportunities.
There is no doubt that passing from the world of school to that of labour is not always easy, because there is a different set of expectations to fulfil in the context of employment, having to do with both professional performance and compatibility with the system.
The young are often not ready for this leap, protected as they generally are by the school and family, and learning opportunities such as stages, which are supposedly to act as a bridge between study and work, are frequently not managed adequately.
Not only the young sometimes suffer from a sense of inadequacy (and therefore discontent) in their relationships with their employers and jobs; from my angle of observation I realise that many people fail to become fully integrated in their positions and feel unhappy, internalising a malaise which turns into pessimism and relational difficulties.
Working is not always easy and rewarding (lucky are those who work with pleasure and satisfaction – and some do!), but we can say that never like in this period have there been so many working opportunities in rewarding contexts.
Many young people grow professionally fast, investing great efforts in their careers, while others make different choices of life, feeling satisfied with the positions they have, which they do not wish to change. So, the true recipe for happiness is knowing what you want, acting accordingly, and being in peace with oneself. Any other unbalanced choices cannot but cause unease and unhappiness.
Translation of the Italian
editorial by Paola Praloran