Career Identity Crisis in late 20s
Whenever people ask ‘What do you do?’, we usually give an answer with our occupation or job title. In late 20s, young people usually face identity crisis at work. One common question that they may think about is ‘what is the meaning of work in our life?’ Is working just for earning money? All of these questions are related to our working identity.
James Marcia developed his own identity status theory based on Erik Erikson’s theory on psychological development. He believed that identities will develop mainly during adolescence and early adulthood. The two major components of his theory are commitments and exploration to explain how an individual builds commitment in life and explores one’s identity. The following are some examples of different identity statuses.
Identity diffusion: ‘I have never thought about my ideal job and future. Getting a job to makes end meet is already lucky enough.’
Foreclosure: ‘I got my bachelor degree and I can only pick the jobs according to my acquired knowledge.’
Moratorium: ‘People used to describe me as ‘’jumpy’’. In fact, I don’t know what I want to do so I keep trying different kinds of occupation.’
Identity achievement: ‘My current job is suitable for me and I have autonomy to make any decisions regard if it. I committed to my job and enjoy it.
James Marcia believes that not everyone will pass through all the four stages. Here are some few suggestions for those who go through different identity status.
First, all of us have to be aware of and accept the identity status of ourselves. If you are in the stage of foreclosure, you can try to encourage yourself to explore more first. Treasure the chances to meet up friends with different occupations and have better understandings in the current job market. Bear in mind that there is no need to rush in making a commitment right now, just pursuing in exploration first.
If you are in the stage of moratorium, do not push yourself to make a commitment. You can try to understand more about yourself by talking with someone who knew you well. You could have a better understanding of yourself and try to figure out what you want the most, then narrow down choices of jobs and further develop your career path.
There is never a deadline to achieve our identity status. The most important thing is we could raise our self-awareness and improve our self-understanding and gradually enhance our career development.