Your Quarter Life Crisis: Tips For Overcoming It
Quarter life crisis sufferers are not alone.
New research from LinkedIn and posted in full at this link found that “75 percent of 25-to-33-year-olds have experienced a quarter life crisis, defined as ‘a period of insecurity and doubt that many people in their mid-20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances.'”
Quarter Life Crisis Top Concerns
According to the research — based on an online survey conducted by Censuswide on behalf of LinkedIn from Oct. 31-Nov. 3 among 6,014 respondents aged 25-33 across the United States, United Kingdom, India and Australia — top concerns included finding a job they’re passionate about and an increasingly desperate need for career advice.
The report explains: “Sixty-one percent say finding a job or career they’re passionate about is the number one cause. … Nearly half (48%) say this has caused them anxiety, with women feeling this even more than men (51% vs. 41%).”
More than one-third (36%) have entirely changed their careers, switching to new industries and different roles, the report adds, noting that although career pivoting is prevalent among 25-33 year olds, “this may be more of a result of the changing workforce — LinkedIn data shows that job hopping overall has doubled in the last year, and more than two-thirds of job changers have pivoted careers.”
The report continues: “People in this age range feel a lot of uncertainty and frustration around their careers, even more so than pressure around their relationships and personal life goals. … Nearly one-quarter (23%) have taken a career break during this period of uncertainty, taking time off from work to reevaluate what they want to do. … One in ten have switched from full-time work to freelance or temporary work assignments. … More than half of those experiencing a quarter life crisis are looking for career advice.”
Also, despite more than one-quarter (28%) of 25-33 year olds knowing what their dream job is, they’re unsure how to approach a career move, the report says, adding that “56% want advice to figure out what’s next, but don’t know where to go for answers. … Forty-one percent feel they aren’t getting enough support at work to help them progress. … (and) Forty-three percent would like to find a career mentor but don’t have the right connections.”
What to do if you’re experiencing a quarter life crisis
1. Don’t compare yourself to others.
As LinkedIn advises, you have to remember that “everyone is at a different stage in their professional journey. Think about what makes you happy in your career and beyond, and establish goals that help you work towards your definition of success.”
This is good advice, but it is important to hone in on that particular piece of it, that everyone develops at different stages. You cannot be Stephen Hawking because you’re not Stephen Hawking. You are You. Work at being the best version of yourself rather than a facsimile of someone else.
Think about becoming a doctor, for example. You want to be a doctor, but your friend wants to get out of school, go into a trade, and start a business for himself. As you trudge through undergraduate and medical school, he has started a family, bought a house, a couple of cars, and he gets to do a lot of what he wants to do on the weekends.
Your life, on the other hand, can be high-pressure and a slog. You may want some of what the classmate has, but you are following a different path, and it’s not fair to think about your student loan debt and long hours of reading and classwork now as a failure if the end result is to become a doctor, have all the money you’ll ever need, and save lives.
In other words, if you know what it is that you want to do, don’t get sidetracked with the perceived success of others. Keep your eyes on the end prize.
2. Take time to volunteer.
If you don’t know what you want to do, take some time to volunteer (aka work for free).
This may sound crazy if you’re driven by money alone, but I’m willing to bet that many of you — especially those experiencing the dreaded quarter life crisis — are not.
Even if you are, volunteering can be helpful in helping to qualify other interests. When you’re willing to work for free, it’s usually because you have a passion for something. If volunteer work fulfills you, then start looking at ways you can turn that fulfilling feeling into a career.
3. Stay healthy and active.
When you are going through turbulent times mentally, your physical health becomes ever-more important. Start policing the things that you put into your body. Any alcohol consumption should be done in moderation and not every day.
Calorie counts should stay in a healthy range.
Thirty minutes of heart-elevating exercise should be administered to each new day.
If you are your healthiest and most active self, you will have an easier time navigating the difficult obstacles that come with a quarter life crisis.
As much as you may not want to admit it, much of where you go in life still depends on the kindness of others. The old adage that it’s “who you know,” has never been truer than it is today.
At the heart of any great career, there are great relationships. So get out there. Nurture the ones you have. Make new ones. Work at networking with people who are already doing what you want to be doing. And if you really want to make an impression, see how you can add value to their lives without them asking you for it.
5. Listen to podcasts.
This is an extension of No. 4, but it deserves its own because there are so many great options out there today, no matter what your area of interest is.
Find podcasts that are in the field of interest you enjoy. Subscribe to them. Listen with regularity (not every episode, but most definitely the ones that appeal to you).
If you’re hurting for time, speed up the playback to around 1.5 times. That will keep it from being too fast to keep up with while allowing you to make time. Also, view show notes if you’re on a real time crunch and hit the items that you find compelling.
By following the burgeoning podcast community in your industry, you will be able to soak up great ideas that can get you past your quarter life crisis in a hurry.
Are you experiencing a quarter life crisis, or have you survived one? What are some tips that have helped to deal with it? Share your thoughts in our comments section below.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]