Those Who Can’t Do, Coach?

If a teenager can be a doctor, can a 20-something be a life coach?

I am completely fascinated by the recent trend of 20-somethings who are becoming life coaches.  Think about this for a minute – across this nation (but mostly in places where crazy people live, like NYC and LA), young people who are barely old enough to rent a car (and who have only voted in, like, two presidential elections, which is my first measure of adulthood) are being paid legitimate money to give advice to people twice their ages!  This is some mind-boggling, David Lynchian crazy talk.

The New York Times, that arbiter of the ridiculous trend piece, highlights the life coach careers of several millennials who, when their first careers didn’t work out (because, you know, most of us have our career set in stone by 27), turn to life coaching.  And we’re not talking about chump change.  A 27-year-old “former” actress earns $125/week (per client!) for one hour long session!  At an average of 10 clients a week, she’s easily clearing $60,000 annually, just by chanting some mantras via Skype.

This seems absolutely ludicrous to me.  While I’m happy to dole out some advice when asked (and have no qualms about blogging my opinions on any number of topics), I would never deign to charge someone hundreds of dollars for my guidance!  I realize that times are tough for young job-seekers but is getting a quickie life coaching certification and taking on a cadre of clients in need seems to be a risky option.  For those of us who have only had a few years out in the real world, taking the lives of others into our hands suggests a level of hubris that I find disheartening.

Luckily, I’m not the only person who seems to be flabbergasted by this boon in life coaching as a viable option for under-30s.  Jezebel has a great post on the trend, puts it very succintly when they note “people who obviously don’t have their own shit sorted out shouldn’t be doling out advice to people in need of guidance, even if they can get a piece of paper authorizing them to do so.”


3 thoughts on “Those Who Can’t Do, Coach?

  1. I know, I feel slightly uncomfortable being a mini-coach for my students. Sometimes they ask me about personal life stuff, but more often it is about their careers – what classes to take, what major to sign up for, what jobs they could get. Even just that is intimidating. I want to be like “I am only a few years older than you are!” But, on the other hand, sometimes I am really the only one they feel they can go to.

    • I think one thing that stands out about what you do as a (young) teacher with college-aged students is a bit different – much of what you are giving advice on is something that you’ve gone through (picking classes/major, choosing internships, applying for graduate programs or jobs) and, as you said, you can always use the caveat of age. But I would be shocked if you started and charged those same students $100 a week for your sage wisdom.

      Naturally, I am happy to be able to get your advice for free any time I want 🙂

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