Memes about adulting have pretty much taken over the internet, but if Candace Swaisgood has her way, the phrase “bad at adulting” will eventually be a thing of the past.
In 2019, Swaisgood launched Adulting: A Crash Course, offering skills-based experiential learning for young adults as they make the transition from college students to working professionals. Currently, Swaisgood offers four “crash course” modules in personal development, professional development, personal finance, and personal care.
According to Swaisgood, the courses offer life skills that aren’t commonly taught—from buying a new car to finding an apartment to making a monthly budget.
Candace Swaisgood founder of Adulting: A Crash Course“Many schools have dropped family and consumer science due to standardized testing and lower budgets, and on top of that, parenting styles have changed,” says Swaisgood. “There is heavy pressure to excel athletically and academically, and that doesn’t often leave room for learning to cook and do laundry. [Being on your own] can be an abrupt wake-up call.”
Swaisgood found that out the hard way after graduating from John Carroll University and taking her first job at Nabisco. As a new hire, Swaisgood neglected to submit the insurance paperwork within the 45-day window and found herself without health coverage. “I went through all of the onboarding and other paperwork, but somehow I dropped the ball,” Swaisgood says. “It wasn’t my boss’ or my parents’ responsibility—it was all mine.”
Despite the tenuous start, Swaisgood went on to have a successful nine-year career in Nabisco’s sales division, where she carved a niche in education and training. Part of her duties included recruiting for a six-state region and overseeing the company’s internship program. “Helping people develop and grow is a passion of mine, so I’ve always been involved with the early-career folks,” she says. “I enjoy helping set people up for success.”
In 2018, Swaisgood realized she could do that in a different way when the person sitting across from her at a baby shower—a 20-year-old community college student—remarked that she didn’t know how to write a check. Swaisgood launched Adulting: A Crash Course first as a blog, then later as a full-on business when she decided to take a voluntary layoff package from Nabisco.
Today, Swaisgood delivers her programming for employers including Oatey and Lincoln Electric, as well as schools including John Carroll University. She also has proposals out to Summer on the Cuyahoga and Apple Growth Partners. Swaisgood says employers consider her offerings an investment in helping young employees avoid burnout and overwhelm—no small feat considering studies show that roughly half of millennials and 75% of Gen Z workers have left jobs because of mental health reasons.
“Anxiety can be paralyzing for this generation, and many of them end up ghosting employers because they don’t have skills like time management and work-life balance,” says Swaisgood, who plans to take her courses online this year. “Employers see the value in helping people through these transitions, because they’re only successful if their employees are successful."