Twenty-something “Millennial’s” are finding it hard to get a firm footing in adulthood. Whether it is stepping into a career or committing to a relationship, these young people are caught between childhood and adulthood well past traditional adolescence. A large number of millennials still live at home in their twenties. Jeffery Arnett says they are creating a new stage of life —“Emerging Adulthood.”
Their dilemma often shows up in the inability to choose a career direction. Huge shifts in technology and crumbling corporate, financial, educational and healthcare structures create a moving target for job opportunities.
The Census reports that the number of college graduates under the age of 25 has grown 38 percent since 2000. Yet, a study reported by the Associated Press found roughly 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 were either jobless or underemployed last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011), only 47% of 16 to 24-year-olds are employed. This is the smallest group since 1948.
Following the old social structure of getting a “good” job and supporting one’s self on one’s own, is not working easily for this generation. Even when they do find a job, thirty-five percent of employed Millennials are trying to tap into their creativity by starting a business on the side.
This generation is challenged to find their own unique way to contribute their talents in a rapidly changing world. Longevity in the workplace is a thing of the past. They have seen their parents and grandparents work loyally for company for 20 years, only to be laid off with no benefits. The prediction is that young people today will stay in a job less than 3 years, which means they’ll have as many as 15-20 jobs throughout their working lives.
What is a bright, idealistic young person to do when the career ladder they were supposed to climb to success has collapsed?
When the ground is moving beneath your feet the only security is to go inside and find the small clear voice of the soul that calls you to your meaningful purpose. The capacity to feel confident, secure and independent in a world of change is supported by strengthening a conscious connection to the soul. Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, “Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.”
Rather than longevity, young people today are seeking happiness in and fulfillment from their work. In this quest more and more of them will seek the help of career and life coaches. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of school and career counselors is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Coaches can be helpful with assisting people to realize their life purpose. Coaches ask strategic questions designed to guide clients to tap into the deepest truth about themselves and what sparks enthusiasm in their souls. While the ego fears change, our true nature, the nature of the soul, thrives on change and growth. The soul is our ground of being. We can count on the abiding unfolding soul to know exactly how to move through a changing environment.
Like the acorn holds the blueprint for the oak tree, our unique inner nature holds the blueprint for our best life choices. In early childhood, we can see the innate human qualities for curiosity and creativity. Each child also has unique qualities, talents and affinities that are observable. Once the child begins to conform to parental expectations for how a person “should” be to succeed in the world, those innate qualities go into hiding.
One of the first questions a career or life coach might ask is what did you want to be when you were a child? Recalling the fun of playing teacher, chef or restaurant owner can rekindle the passion of the soul’s true purpose. Passion is the energy that fuels success in achieving that purpose.
Each person is born with a unique package of talents and abilities. When skills and experience are built on these innate strengths, future success is inevitable. Identifying one’s talents and affinities is the starting point for building a solid career foundation.
Once that foundation is laid, young people can learn to read the messages from the heart, emotions and energy to step confidently into a future that is most satisfying and purposeful to their unique calling. This also means they can be creative in putting their unique combination of talents and skills together in a marketable way as the workplace changes. Knowing yourself and what you have to offer provides a firm ground for finding a market that needs these qualities and skills.
Connecting to the core of you, which does not change, supports the ability to be flexible and innovative as external change accelerates and traditional careers disappear. According to Harvard education specialist, Tony Wagner, “Young people who are intrinsically motivated — curious, persistent, and willing to take risks — will learn new knowledge and skills continuously. They will be able to find new opportunities or create their own…”
In the workplace of the future, the ability to market what you uniquely have to offer along with your ability to creatively adapt to change will be more valuable than the information you currently know. Increasingly, technology will provide access to the rapidly changing information that is needed be productive and create new opportunities.
In Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, Strauss and Howe propose that today’s young people over the next decade, will transform what it means to be young. As old structures crumble and the culture becomes more diversified, young people will have to increasingly find their own soulful path to happiness and purposeful fulfillment.
Millennial’s will meet the challenge of their current challenge by creating new opportunities. They will not try to fit themselves into established roles or relationships as previous generations did, rather they will invent and reinvent those roles to make the most of what they have to contribute as unique human beings.