Last updated on March 26th, 2019 at 05:27 am

In today’s career driven world, it’s very easy to assume that almost everyone has figured out exactly what they want to do. Children as young as 12 get streamed into college and vocational streams before most of them even go through puberty. And career pathways are further determined by the selection of courses in high school. But it only begins there. Once entering high school, they’re constantly quizzed about their career selection, each semester framed as a deciding factor upon their future.

And then in the final year of high school, students often go away to obtain more schooling or work, sometimes clear across province, state or country before they’re legally classified as an adult. Many go through at least four to six years of post-secondary education before they graduate, often going through multiple majors before finally selecting and completing one that’s right for them. Finally, they graduate and try to tackle the workforce, expecting that there will be a job waiting for them. But, often, there is not.

This process of delayed adulthood is being studied. According to statistics, it’s taking longer for people to settle down, find stable work and start families. Close to one-quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds have moved back in with their parents, 35 percent are heading back to school and nearly one-quarter have taken unpaid work opportunities to gain experience. Is this a consequence of our culture? Or is it just a trend that has emerged due to a lack of jobs?

As a twenty-something, I’m currently navigating the workforce and have begun the process of job hunting. Many of my friends have given up and left Canada to seek international opportunities and even more have gone back to school or have sought unpaid work in order to gain work experience. Most of these individuals are fully qualified, charismatic and passionate about their vocation of choice. However, it seems that no matter how hard they try, they cannot find work. As a result of being unable to find work, most of them live with their parents or have roommates to help subsidize the cost of housing.

How can you enjoy your young adulthood years and be carefree without having a consistent source of income? Even though we’re pushed to figure out exactly what we want to be from the time we enter middle school, all this education, problem solving and soul-searching does not mean getting the career of your choice. How can we change this? How can we make it easier for young twenty somethings to transition into the workforce and thus, obtain the freedom to celebrate their success?

Until I transition from this stage myself, I cannot know for sure.

Read more on this topic in ARE WE EVER REALLY READY?: The quarter-life crisis in perspective>>

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