Abstract

A phenomenological study conducted with first-generation college graduates who were working full time demonstrates how these first-generation college graduates’ work environments contributed to a sense of meaning in work. Graduates indicated that co-workers were not, generally, proactive to help newcomers learn their jobs. Participants described their attempts to reconcile ideas of “work ethic,” as understood from families of origin, with the realities of their current jobs. Rather than intentional and learning-friendly communities of practice seeking to incorporate newcomers into the workplace, participants more often found they were left alone to learn their job.

Keywords

first-generation college student; communities of practice; college-to-work transition; college graduates; work ethic

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Jun 10th, 5:47 PM

Getting Situated in a New Community of Practice: The Early-Career Workplace Learning of First-Generation College Graduates

A phenomenological study conducted with first-generation college graduates who were working full time demonstrates how these first-generation college graduates’ work environments contributed to a sense of meaning in work. Graduates indicated that co-workers were not, generally, proactive to help newcomers learn their jobs. Participants described their attempts to reconcile ideas of “work ethic,” as understood from families of origin, with the realities of their current jobs. Rather than intentional and learning-friendly communities of practice seeking to incorporate newcomers into the workplace, participants more often found they were left alone to learn their job.