In running Career Counseling Connecticut through the years, I have seen a gradual and then rapid increase in mental health issues among young adults. The usual suspects to blame: social media, the Pandemic, increased polarization, worries about the future of the world and so forth are all macro facts that challenge all young people.
Why then are some young adults thriving and some are not?
Look around. Which young adults seem to be really happy? Which seem to be really unhappy?
I guarantee that the answers will almost exactly correlate with which young adults have found a career path that suits them and which have not.
Consider that there is almost zero societal pressure these days to get married in one’s twenties. That used to be a factor for unhappiness in twentysomethings – gender-tilted, of course. Consider that despite the challenges in our current society, other issues that used to affect young people such as genuine poverty (1930s) and getting drafted (1940s-1960s,) are no longer, The other factors – listed above – affect EVERYONE.
How is it that some seem to be doing well? They have work that keeps them engaged positively. If you are in your twenties and have a job that consumes your M-F in a mostly good way and that provides self-esteem, you will feel good. If you don’t… well… you could still be happy but it’s a lot tougher.
We have become the practical help for struggling young adults. In this regard, our work has become more sacred.