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Transition Programs Help Young Adults Set Realistic Career Goals

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career goals and young adults

A recent study found that young people in America are three times more likely to aspire towards a career as a professional Youtuber than working in the STEM field. For teens who have grown up spending more of their free time on social media and surfing the internet than participating in offline hobbies, it makes sense that they see this as a realistic career goal. We encourage teens to reflect on their personal experiences and values in order to determine career goals and realistic steps they need to take in order to get there. 

Exploring How Values Shape Career Goals

When girls come to Journey Home, we help them identify their values, explore their passions, and set goals for their personal success. We believe that everyone’s sense of purpose is individualized and is shaped by things they believe in and value. Young adults work closely with therapists and mentors to create personalized treatment plans that work for them. 

Our goal is to help students live a value-filled life, according to their personal values, not just peer pressure and perceived societal expectations. We encourage the young adults we work with to look beyond their behaviors and to consider how the choices they make are aligned with values subconsciously. 

We don’t believe that there is such thing as “positive values” and “negative values.” For example, many young adults have a need to feel in control of things in their lives. This desire for control may influence a variety of decisions–from asserting their independence to manipulating others in relationships. Their need for control may also be more internal in terms of being very organized or having high standards for themselves. When young adults acknowledge that their behavior is driven by something they value and embrace this, they are able to direct it towards positive goals. 

Identifying Potential Barriers to Success

When it comes to career goals, we encourage students to start small and look at the steps that they will need to take in order to reach their goals–both in therapy and in the community. Anticipating parts of the process that might bring up anxiety or feeling stuck can help them plan ahead so that they are more prepared to face these obstacles if they arise.  

For example, someone who is interested in an online career (as a model, writer, activist, or even Youtuber) can’t just upload content and rely on other people’s “likes” for self-esteem. One possible barrier might be that they struggle with being vulnerable and transparent offline. Their social media account is full of Photoshopped selfies and borrowed ideas or they spend a lot of time scrolling through their feed but are scared to post anything and be judged. By sharing more in a group setting–whether that is a processing group, a classroom, or an open mic–young adults can become more confident using their voice. 

Confidence takes a while to build, but if it proves to be a barrier that interferes with their ability to feel successful, we may recommend that they take a step back and consider what other strengths they have that will help set them up for success.

Taking the First Step

Many of our students have little to no work experience when they come to our program after leaving a long-term treatment center. While they may have big dreams after exploring their strengths and interests in a residential setting, they do not always have realistic expectations about the baby steps they may have to take. They often expect to take a leap into independence but without job skills and resources, they are at risk of failure to launch. 

Our mentors help connect students to resources in the community that will help them pursue their career goals–whether that is a volunteer opportunity in a field of interest, a part-time job, or taking relevant college classes.    

We also help students recognize how the skills they’ve learned in a therapeutic setting can be transferable as job skills in the real world. This might include adding service work to their resume or applying a team mindset and problem-solving skills to a work environment. 

Journey Home Can Help 

Journey Home is a transitional living program for girls ages 16-21 that have graduated from a residential treatment center or wilderness therapy. We are the perfect fit for young women who are ready to build upon skills learned in therapeutic settings but recognize they still need guidance and support to further develop their success. Journey Home blends a traditional home setting with positive peer and staff relationships. We believe in the value of good health and healthy hobbies in promoting future success.

For more information about vocational support at our transition program, call +1-801-444-0794.