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Are Identities Socially Constructed By Career Paths?

Every September, Millennial college students have important decisions to make. Their parents and guidance counselors direct them to take on majors that will provide the best chance to achieve their goals. But, what happens to the identities of Generation Y when their aspirations are socially constructed? Are Gen Y's idiosyncrasies any less genuine when their career paths are laid out for them? Or is this just the way it has to be to get what you desire most out of life?

Career Choices

A question some Gen Y-ers ask themselves frequently is, what degree or career choice will enable me to earn the most money? Basing your life decisions on future finances isn't necessarily wrong. It's a great way to keep yourself marketable, but it becomes an issue when motivation is lost.  Enthusiasm for anything is what keeps members of our generation consistently trying to better themselves. A lack of incentive leaves Millennials copies of copies, and identity becomes a repugnant performance based on the desire for wealth.

Following Contemporaries

Members of Generation Y can easily get lost by imitating the same choices that peers have made in the past. Millennials believe that since they can see the path neatly laid out before them, they too will be successful.

Although, that path may be convenient, helpful, and easy, it is not likely to lead to happiness and life enjoyment. Some people can dig a ditch everyday and smile. How? Following the road of your contemporaries doesn't tarnish individual identity. But, the commitment to go down a similar trail has to be done for the right reasons, it has to be done because it is what you truly desire.

Heroes

Many Gen Y-ers look up to wealthy individuals and want to be like successful people including Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, etc. Looking up to these revolutionary people is fine, however, Generation Y shouldn't aim to be these people. Instead, they should say, “I want to go where these people didn't.  I want to go farther.” It may seem impossible, but so did the idea that a tiny device called an iPod could combine millions of CDs into one contraption.

What is at stake for Gen Y-ers identities if their working lives are laid out for them? Are their lives real or merely a performance based on the lives of others? It's far too easy to call Gen Y-ers who make these choices conformists, fake, or actors.

These selections can lead to finical stability, however, they can cause identity to be eradicated by fulfilling a socially created reality. Your life can become a play based on your perceptions of other's beliefs of what you should do. If you see this happening, keep in mind that at any time you can take hold of the script, and make a revision to the play of your life.

Photo credit: Getty Images 

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John Farrell

Contributor

Attended Plymouth State University, and majored in English. At Plymouth State University wrote for PSU's bi-weekly print newspaper, The Clock.
Attended Plymouth State University, and majored in English. At Plymouth State University wrote for PSU's bi-weekly print newspaper, The Clock.

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