Frustrations surface out of the disconnect between unrealistic expectations about work and actual job after job after job experience. We feel responsible to do something meaningful with our educations and opportunities, but we compare ourselves to an ideal image and are not sure if we will ever be good enough. Not all of us can be rock stars despite living under the privileged kindergarten fairy tale that we can be everything and anything as long as we work hard enough.
The twenties has always been a time to be pompous and idealistic, but the Information Age has exacerbated traditional infection of hubris, giving today’s twentysomethings the sense that they can do anything immediately. Called everything from brazen to arrogant, twentysomethings ‘act as if they’re doing you a favor by working for you.’
Job-hopping during our twenties today is about ardently attempting to find work that will be everything to us: intellectually engaging, socially fulfilling, and financially secure. Our careers are important to us because we think that they will define us, and they do.
Leaving the academic setting makes life less structured; no more do we know exactly what we are working toward. We do know, however, that we wish we could get paid to think, tinker, and create. But we all know that reality is harsh.
I’ve seen several times how I humbled myself and compromised just enough but not too much. I am, after all, still in search for the world’s best job.
ReGeneration, Telling Stories from Our Twenties. 2003. Karlin, J. and Borofsky, A. New York: Tarcher Putman.