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Emerging AdulthoodThe Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties$
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Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309379.001.0001

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More Than a Job

(p.143) 7 Work
Emerging Adulthood

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how emerging adults go about searching for satisfying work. The conclusion is that emerging adults are highly diverse both in the ways they search for satisfying work and in their success in finding it. The discussion starts by emphasizing that the ideal for emerging adults is finding a job that fits with their developing identity, and it describing emerging adults who look for this identity fit in a systematic way. The chapter describes emerging adults whose search for work is less than systematic, who “fall into” various jobs either because they are unsure of their work identity or because they need to find a job in order to pay their bills. Variations in being ready to make a long-term decision about work are explored, with a focus on differences between emerging adults in their early twenties, who often remain uncertain, and those in their late twenties, who typically have made a definite choice. Influences on job choice, especially the complex influences that parents can have, as well as the dreams that some emerging adults have for an alluring and sometimes elusive work ideal are evaluated. The chapter ends with a section on work and identity that attempts to integrate the previous material into a theoretical framework.

Keywords:   work, emerging adulthood, emerging adults, job search, job choice, identity

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