Surviving a quarter-life crisis
Monday, 11 February 2019
Everyone's heard of a mid-life crisis.
And while not as many people have heard of the quarter-life crisis that happens in the 20s and early 30s, it is apparently just as common.
In fact, according to a survey by Linkedin, 75 percent of 25-33 year olds have experienced a quarter-life crisis, which can be characterized by confusion and uncertainty about career and personal life. In popular culture, the quarter-life crisis has been portrayed in films like Office Space and 500 Days of Summer, plays like Avenue Q, and television shows like HBO's Girls.
Those who have experienced a quarter-life crisis often describe it as a lonely, scary time when you find yourself re-evaluating your decisions and questioning just about everything about your life.
If this describes your situation, rest assured you aren't alone, and your angst may not be a bad thing. Here are some tips to help you navigate through the crisis toward clarity.
Re-evaluate your career
Is career dissatisfaction triggering your doubt? Maybe that's a good thing. Plenty of highly successful people changed course in early adulthood, including Jeff Bezos, Martha Stewart, and Vera Wang. If your career is what is keeping you awake at night, ask yourself these questions:
- Why did you choose this career in the first place? Did you pick it because you are good at it or because you at one time enjoyed it? Or have you determined you never liked your job?
- Is it the job or the company? If you are bored in your current position, but satisfied with the company you work for, maybe it's time to look for more challenging opportunities in-house. If you realize it's the pay, culture, or lack of growth opportunities making you miserable, maybe it's time to explore opportunities elsewhere.
- What's stopping you? Is it fear? Is it school debt? Figure out why you haven't made a change and whether taking steps to clear that hurdle makes sense.
If you are still uncertain about your next career move, consider baby steps such as taking a night class, finding a mentor in your desired profession to shadow for a day or two, or volunteering on the weekends for an organization you're interested in.
Reassess your finances
Career dissatisfaction and financial insecurity often go hand-in-hand. Again this angst can be healthy and can lead to positive changes. For example, this can be a great time to work on a strategy for both short- and long-term saving, and get serious about paying off debt.
Perhaps it's your personal life that is causing you to lose sleep. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age at first marriage was 29.5 years for men and 27.4 years for women in 2017.
Getting married is a big step and worthy of contemplation and planning. In terms of financial planning, you may need to consider whether you have enough insurance or savings, and if you are ready to combine finances.
If you think you and your mate may want to buy a house, you may need to work on the credit score and pay down debt. Or, if you anticipate a wedding that rivals events at Buckingham Palace, you may need to beef up your savings.
By looking at your quarter-life crisis as an opportunity for personal and professional growth, you can hopefully look back on this period as the turning point which resulted in greater satisfaction and security in all aspects of your life.
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