Research Article
Brisk Attitude and Optimism: Top Workers’ Childhood Experiences Forming the Basis of Success at Work

Satu Uusiautti , Kaarina Maatta

APA 6th edition
Uusiautti, S., & Maatta, K. (2013). Brisk Attitude and Optimism: Top Workers’ Childhood Experiences Forming the Basis of Success at Work. European Journal of Educational Research, 2(2), 69-82. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.2.2.69

Uusiautti S., and Maatta K. 2013 'Brisk Attitude and Optimism: Top Workers’ Childhood Experiences Forming the Basis of Success at Work', European Journal of Educational Research , vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 69-82. Available from:

Chicago 16th edition
Uusiautti, Satu and Maatta, Kaarina . "Brisk Attitude and Optimism: Top Workers’ Childhood Experiences Forming the Basis of Success at Work". (2013)European Journal of Educational Research 2, no. 2(2013): 69-82. doi:10.12973/eu-jer.2.2.69


This study focused on the phenomenon of success at work asking whether it would be possible to find factors from top workers’ children and school experiences that would explain their later success. This study was a part of a larger research in which Finnish top workers, employees of the year, who have been selected as successful professionals of their field in Finland were researched. This article focuses on the narrative data collected through qualitative interviews. In this article, their childhood and adolescence experiences were analyzed in order to find out whether successful development could be enhanced already in early phases of life. This study employed the narrative interview method through which top workers were asked to reminisce their childhood and adolescence experiences. What factors have supported their success and how have they coped with adversities in life? According to the results, the most important key to success at work adopted from home was caring upbringing as parents did not set any ambitious goals for success for their children but made the children think about their future and have an optimistic attitude to life. The role of careers counseling at school was also discussed. Analyzing these factors is important if aiming at helping people’s chances of finding an occupation they fit and in which they can use their talents. Experiences and events taking place in childhood and adolescence can be crucial, or at least, direct people in a right direction.

Keywords: Success at work, positive development, career, careers counseling


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