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Things I Never Learned in School

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

Young people today often feel very unprepared and ill-equipped for their transition to adulthood. Read on to hear about the top 3 Challenges they face.

Funny t-shirts make me laugh and I appreciate the way they can break the tension by making light of frustrating situations.

I saw this t-shirt the other day and I had to chuckle. Now, be it fully understood that for many, knowing the Pythagorean theorem is pretty crucial to their profession and career. It gives me great confidence knowing that any engineer that build any bridge that I ever step foot on has excelled in math. Furthermore, I know that there are many fine schools who are rigorous in their effort to prepare students for real life.

But the sentiments of this t-shirt speaks volumes and it certainly coincides with what I see in my coaching practice. Young people today feel very unprepared and ill-equipped for their transition to adulthood. Furthermore, many are confused about their actual talents and abilities. It is helping to create levels of anxiety in this generation that have never been experienced before.

In Millennials in Wonderland by Wendy and Kenneth Schuman, coach Valerie Dorn writes about the challenges for Millennials in finding a job. The top 3 are:

1. Holding on to beliefs that no longer serve them

After years of university and a high debt load, many Millennials experience work in their field of study and learn that they don’t like it. Doom sets in. They feel that, ‘this is it. I’m stuck with my degree’. They often think that it is too late for them to change direction. As a “50 something”, I am understanding and amused at the same time. As one of my own clients expressed to me, “I am very aware that time is ticking away!”. He is 24 years old!

2. Not recognizing their own strengths and values

Young adults often have difficulty drawing on their work experiences to date and recognizing the valuable skills they have gained. This is particularly true when they are relying on summer jobs or low-skill part time jobs. They do not see that jobs or experiences such as working in a restaurant, being a camp counselor, or working in retail can demonstrate proficiency in customer service, being flexible and innovative, and having learned business & interpersonal skills.

3. Not knowing what they want

Many ‘seasoned’ adults have difficulty answering the question ‘what do you want’? It is not surprising that young adults truly struggle with it. They are just transitioning from being guided and advised by parents, teachers, and just about everyone else in between. On one hand they can hardly wait for autonomy, on the other hand, they are uncertain and unconfident in their choices


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