Many 20-somethings believe (blame parents, the media, pop culture) that “emerging adulthood” means they have until the big 30 to really get serious about life, work and love. Not so argues clinical psychologist Meg Jay, whose recent TED talk on “Why 30 is Not the New 20” has drawn nearly 1.5 millions views.
TED conference speakers are given just 18 minutes to proselytize their passion, and Dr. Jay certainly makes her points, and generated controversy. Her no-nonsense strategy might seem like a “snap-out-of-it” slap in the face for the “Me, Me, Me” generation, as Time recently dubbed millenials. Yet, taken in the larger context of Dr. Jay’s book and other writings, her approach suggests a game plan that can evolve over time, and not lock a twenty-something into a stifling strategy as many of the commenters seemed to fear.
Dr. Jay message to millenials centers on three key points:
- Start accumulating “identity capital,” which she defines as “something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next.” Find the job, internship or other opportunity that allows career exploration. In other words, a job as a hotel reception desk clerk is a good move for someone interested in the hospitality industry, not because it’s near a surfing beach. “I’m not discounting twentysomething exploration here, but I am discounting exploration that’s not supposed to count, which, by the way, is not exploration. That’s procrastination,” she said.
- Get out of the comfort zone in terms of geography and friends. Six degrees of separation works in life and love. “New things come from what are called our weak ties, our friends of friends of friends. So yes, half of twentysomethings are un- or under-employed. But half aren’t, and weak ties are how you get yourself into that group. Half of new jobs are never posted, so reaching out to your neighbor’s boss is how you get that un-posted job,” she said
Continue reading this post on Mothering21