Globalization and Career Development – One Problematic Result: Too Many Choices

August 11, 2006 5:28 am Published by

In my work with families across the country, most of them significantly wealthy families, one issue I continually address is the challenge of career development and college choice for young adults. Globalization, as Thomas Friedman has shown in his book The World is Flat, is a huge factor affecting career choices today (

“The great irony is that children from affluent families are given more choices than anyone else, but they are also less prepared than anyone to handle those choices. As a result, they are overwhelmed and they often respond to that feeling by voluntarily relinquishing their power of choice.” (p.49).

Now, I am not sure I agree with his assertion that young people from affluent families are “less prepared than anyone to handle those choices” but surely they have more choices to weed through than most people.

Shechtman’s premise is that since the explosion of information has occurred, the number of choices have also multiplied – including the number of possible job opportunities. This is true for middle and upper class young adults, not just the ultra-wealthy.

Shechtman then states,

“It’s overwhelming because most people don’t possess a sorting mechanism – a method for dealing with all the choices presented to them. Unlike previous generations, young adults have relatively little occupational experience to draw on to sort choices.”

I totally agree. In fact, I have written an article to help high school students in their college decision making process (located in the Article & Presentation section [Career Assessment] of my website).

Most young adults I talk to today are almost paralyzed – not knowing where to start in their career search. So they often either don’t do anything, or settle for the easiest solution close-by – some job a friend of the family has or something familiar to them.

Often this results in a significant level of underemployment – the young person accepting a job far under their capability because they don’t know what else to do.


Published by
August 11, 2006 5:28 am

1 Comment

  • Liz says:

    I know that I am feeling this way right now, and I still have two years before I even graduate. Every time I start looking at jobs or grad schools, I get so overwhelmed that I have to stop and just focus on what I’m doing now. I know I don’t want to settle for the easiest solution, so I’ll have to garner the help of someone who can advise me, I suppose.

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