Adapt or Perish: How Long-Term Unemployment Impacts Vocational Socialization and Professional Identification
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The present study examined 84 online narratives authored by 11 Suits--college-educated, middle-aged, white men--to examine how involuntary exit and long-term unemployment impacted their vocational socialization and professional identification. Closed-coding found Suits used Jablin's (2001) and Kramer's (2010) five sources of vocational socialization. Differences occurred, however, in source definitions, sub-categories, and prevalence of use. Additionally, Suits reported "recruiters" as a sixth source. Analysis went beyond Jablin's original definition of socialization to include support and encouragement as a form of vocational socialization. Results of thematic analysis showed Suits communicated four forms of professional identification (job seeker, stable, adaptable, and broken), each with seven defining characteristics. Suits communicated multiple forms of professional identification simultaneously, and identifications that shifted throughout their unemployment process. Practical implications for unemployed Suits and the professionals who serve them are discussed.