In this chapter, we use prospective data collected at ages 18, 24, and 25 to classify individuals into career aspiration groups labeled "overselection," "underselection," or "one-change." Representatives from each group were interviewed at age 27. Themes related to selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) metatheory (Freund & Baltes, 1998), work commitment, and the stressful character of vocational development were compared across groups. Overselection and one-change groups were somewhat advantaged in the education and career arenas when compared to others. Findings indicated goal setting is associated with more positive outcomes within the career domain and selection is an important component of the SOC process at this time of life.
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We thank Mikki Holmes and Michael Shanahan for their quality interviews of study participants. This research was supported by a grant, “Work Experience and Mental Health: A Panel Study of Youth,” from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD44138) and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH42843). It was also supported by supplementary assistance from the College of Liberal Arts and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.