Tracing the timing of "career" acquisition in a contemporary youth cohort

Jeylan T. Mortimer, Mike Vuolo, Jeremy Staff, Sara Wakefield, Wanling Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Contemporary youth typically experience considerable floundering and uncertainty in their transition from school to work. This article examines patterns of schooling and working during adolescence and the transition to adulthood that hasten or delay an important subjective marker of transition to adulthood: acquiring a job that is recognized as a "career." We use Youth Development Study data, obtained from a prospective longitudinal study of 9th graders. Estimation of discrete-time logit models shows that adolescent work patterns during high school, as well as the cumulative investments they make in work and schooling in the years following, significantly influence this milestone. Time-varying predictors, including job characteristics and parenthood, also affect the process of movement into "careers.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-84
Number of pages41
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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