It is bound to happen eventually. An individualist living in the land of individualism is routinely going about his or her business when he or she runs into a horde of collectivists.
The career women, as they were often called, of the early-to-mid twentieth century so frequently found themselves in this precarious situation. Spurned by traditionalists for refusing to settle down after high school and promptly produce babies, they had only each other to rely on. This resulted in, to a large extent, second-wave feminism, a movement which extended from the early 1960s through the late 1990s. It completely blew the top off of what a women's place was perceived as being, and resulted in many females delaying marriage or motherhood, if not bypassing them altogether. Rather than busying themselves with oppressive husbands or baby formulas, women earned graduate degrees and went on to hold powerful positions in the private and public sectors.
While I find that personal economic stature tends to be the best indicator of individuality, a plethora of other factors can act as good determinants too. Ethnocultural standards, especially when unassimilated with America's quintessentially diverse macro-culture, have already been mentioned as one of these. Geography, however, might play an even larger role.
As those who lead their own lives and those who allow their lives to be led for them have vastly different worldviews, it comes as a given that members of each category move in different circles. It is in urban or suburban areas that more individualistic circles are found, as these regions offer cognitive-based employment opportunities. In rural or isolated areas, meanwhile, collectivist circles are prevalent as these regions mainly have muscle-based jobs.
Why are individualists attracted to cognitive professions, such as teaching, engineering, computer programming, journalism, artistry, banking, or something in the medical profession? Because these all require advanced thinking skills, and chances are that if one is a deep thinker, he or she has a profound sense of self. It is next to impossible to be a good painter, investor, or lecturer and feel no personal value.