May 3, 2018

If you’re in your mid-twenties or thirties, chances are you might have already experienced a low point in your life where you just feel confused, misguided, or lost. You feel a rush of anxiety looming over you, and the thought of it makes you panic or even nauseous. Don’t worry, because you’re not alone.

Business and employment website LinkedIn carried out a research on 1,000 young professionals aged between 25 and 33 for the launch of their new Career Advice section. The study found that 71 percent of them are experiencing what’s called a ‘quarter-life crisis,’ defined as “dissatisfaction in life and a feeling that time is running out, potentially leading to a state of anxiety.”

Based on the survey, 60 percent of these professionals are worried they’re not earning enough. 54 percent feel unsure about what to do next in their lives and career; 53 percent are frustrated with their career options; 49 percent feel stuck in their current roles with no transferable skills; 46 percent feel their current workplaces don’t offer enough support to help them progress; 87 percent of young professionals deal with doubt and insecurity which can then lead to anxiety and depression; and 71 percent of them want advice that can help them figure out the next steps, but don’t know exactly where to go.

Career finder website The Muse wrote: “The typical sufferer is ‘highly driven and smart, but struggling because they feel they’re not achieving their potential or feeling they’re falling behind.’” First of all, you have to understand and accept that this feeling is normal. It’s not being ‘too dramatic’ or ‘too entitled.’ I should know—I’m turning 25 soon and I’m still at the bottom of the corporate ladder.

I’ve been a writer for more than two years now and I’m still not sure if this is the right path for me. Sounds corny, I know, but it’s the truth. I’m not desperate to keep my grip on youth. I was forced to think like an adult at an early age, but I’m still very much in touch with the lighter, less serious things in life. If it makes it any easier, a study titled “Emerging adulthood, early adulthood and quarter-life crisis: Updating Erikson for the 21st Century” by Dr. Oliver Robinson at the University of Greenwich broke it down to five main phases:

  • Phase One You feel trapped by your life choices, like your job, relationship, or both. You’re living on “autopilot.”
  • Phase Two – You get a sense of “I’ve got to get out of this” and feel a growing sense that change is possible if you just take a leap.
  • Phase Three – You quit the job, end the relationship, or break the commitment that’s making you feel trapped. Then you detach and enter a “time out” period where try to rediscover who you are and who you want to be.
  • Phase Four – You begin rebuilding your life slowly but surely.
  • Phase Five – You develop new commitments that are more in line with your interests and aspirations.

Take a moment and dig deep: Which phase are you in exactly? As soon as you figure it out, that’s when you start. I’m sure most of your friends are going through the same thing, and it will help a lot if you can openly talk it out and share your experiences with each other. Think of it as a support group, but in a closer, more personal space.

Emotional intelligence is perhaps the greatest skill you can get out of this experience. It lets you react to your feelings without losing control and letting your emotions get the best of you. One helpful tool? Keeping a journal close to you.

After writing and learning as much as I could about this, I only have one advice to give: Don’t rush. It is so easy to let your emotions affect your decisions in life—quitting a job, ending a relationship, or closing the door on an opportunity. Think critically and practically. “Is the trade off worth it?” “Is this what I need at the moment?” Questions like this can change your perspective towards crucial life decisions. You’re going to need a lot of time, so be sure to take it.

Header courtesy of Unsplash


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TAGS: fixture Generation Z mid-life crisis millennials nolisoliph quarter-life crisis young families