Career consolidation is a stage of adult development which involves "expanding one's personal identity to assume a social identity within the world of work." This stage was developed by George Vaillant in 1977 and added to Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, between intimacy vs. isolation and generativity vs. stagnation. This stage covers the ages of 25 to 35. Vaillant contrasts career consolidation with self-absorption.
To transform a job or hobby into a career, Vaillant argues that four criteria are necessary: contentment, compensation, competence, and commitment.
It has been demonstrated that in adult development, intimacy, career consolidation, and generativity are mastered in that particular order for both men and women. This is explained since in order to love their work (career consolidation), adults first should love their spouses (intimacy). In order to care for others (generativity), adults should first love their work (career consolidation).