Career culture adds unnecessary stress

Instead of enjoying their fleeting childhood, teens are now faced with an impending reality–choosing a career. According to Counseling Today, career choice is a significant stressor during the development of adolescents. Phrases like, “Don’t be an artist, you don’t make good money,” or, “That’s a risky job,” are harmful because they influence teenagers to potentially stray away from their desired careers. The notion that teens are ready to dedicate their future towards a specific field enforces harmful psychological effects, according to the National Library of Medicine, that will ultimately strip the true nature of childhood away. 

Seniors, according to the State University of New York, are largely impacted by toxic career culture as a result of the pressure they face from their peers and the stress of various college applications. For example, art is often a field that parents stray their kids away from, according to ArtNet News. Sarah Cascone, a senior writer in ArtNet News says that the unemployment rate for graduates is at a staggering 9.1%, while those who do get jobs face a lower annual income of $40,855 on average. Art majors often face stigmas of a less successful career, but Steve Jobs surpasses these harmful reputations. Having a net worth of $10.2 billion, Jobs took a course in calligraphy in Reed College. This contributed to Apple’s beautiful typography and also the sleek designs of their devices, including the iPod which was the company’s first major hit. According to California’s College of Arts, recent research shows that 80% of art graduates obtain employment that is either closely or somewhat related to their education. This discards the “starving artist” myth, where an art degree allows plentiful opportunities to express one’s passion while receiving sustainable income. 

STRESSFUL STUDENT EXPECTATIONS: Teenagers are faced with unrealistic standards when choosing a career path. (Photo from HCA Healthcare)

Personally, toxic carrer culture has affected me in a multitude of ways. Starting from elementary school, my interest in psychology grew and I dreamed of pursuing a career dedicated towards the studies of mind and behavior. However, once I expressed my interests to my parents, I only received sympathetic glances and doubtful frowns. “That job isn’t practical,” my mom said. Bursting my bubble, I was left with confusion from a young age. The balancing act between choosing what made me feel good or letting others make my choice was exhausting, and soon my aspirations for psychology vanished completely. 

Although I am only one person that toxic career culture has impacted, these beliefs could easily lead to many others experiencing similar thoughts. Society itself should change teenager’s expectations by eliminating negative stereotypes, allowing individuals to truly enjoy their careers which will make up a large portion of their adult lives.