When you were at school, how did you picture your life at 25? Had you met your future husband or brought your first flat? Perhaps you were working in your dream job or travelling around the world?
Don’t be disheartened, though. It’s not about ticking off the milestones but learning to embrace the setbacks according to authors Hattie Hamilton and Anna Martin. In their new book, How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis, the duo will help you navigate your way through the murky waters of the quarter-life crisis. Trust us, it’s easier than you think.
In reality, I’m guessing none of these have happened and that’s totally ok. It might feel like everyone around you has their s*** together but trust us, they don’t. Over 70% of twenty to thirty somethings report experiencing a quarter-life crisis where life hasn’t gone as planned.
Umm, Excuse Me, Where’s My Career?
You’ve worked hard (well, mostly) and earned a degree or diploma, with a debt the size of Kim K’s derrière to show for it, and you find yourself asking “What now?” To the untrained eye you have it all – youth and beauty, good health, an education, maybe even a great collection of vintage flares – but what are you meant to do with it all? It’s like having all the ingredients for a showstopper but no method to combine them into something truly satisfying. You’ve got so much to give, but where or what do you give it to? It’s enough to make you weep into that RIXO tea dress you couldn’t really afford.
While our parents appeared to skip from education to a good job and a mortgage in one seemingly faultless movement, the quarter-lifer of today has to make like Katniss just to get a foot on any rung, let alone all of them. Accepting that forging a career is a process with many machinations will help you to think positively. Lower your expectations in the first instance; aim for small steps in your career trajectory rather than giant leaps.
Be in it for the long haul, not the instant gains, and, above all, don’t compare yourself to the lucky bastard from your year who has nabbed their dream job – being at the perceived “top” isn’t always golden, even if their feed would suggest otherwise. Use your natural charm and friends, family, tutors and the mighty internet to build a network of contacts. Seek advice from those in the industries that you want to become a part of and see if they offer work placements – learn the reality of your chosen profession, not the fantasy. Keep knocking on that door, and one day it will open.
Why Dead End Jobs Are Good for You
Working in a dead-end job can sometimes feel like a living nightmare of interminable drudgery and gloom, but it’s comforting to remember that 99.9 per cent of the population experience this life-sap at some stage in their lives. While you feel your drive and enthusiasm slowly drain away like that lukewarm soy latte you forgot to drink, keep in mind that even the most tedious jobs have value. Whether the job you’re doing is the bottom rung on the ladder leading toward your career goal or you’re simply shovelling metaphorical sh*t, take note of the skills you are racking up for when you one day move on to far, far better things.
It might also help to remember that no job is perfect – not even the one you’ve been dreaming of since you were five and told everyone about at Show and Tell. So, make sure you take this opportunity to master the arts of tolerance and admin. Also, bear in mind that your job isn’t your whole life! Sure, it might take up a large chunk of your waking hours, but think about all those hours that you’re free. As you’re using your day job to pay the bills and save toward that thousand-dollar mono-fin so you can be a real-life mermaid, use your free time to do something more relevant to your future career or personal fulfilment.
Working on a voluntary basis at the weekends or for a charity you care about in the evenings is a great way not only to get more out of your time but also to bolster your CV for your next job application. If nothing else, working in a dead-end job is going to teach you some powerful lessons – namely what things you definitely do not enjoy doing (and, if you’re lucky, some things that you do). And when you do eventually fulfil that dream of handing in your notice, you can do so knowing that any job you go to next will feel like absolute paradise.
Ten Commandments for the Quarter Lifer
Society seems to have convinced us that “having it all” is the only way for a modern woman to achieve happiness. Frankly, all this achieves is a migraine. Feeling overwhelmed? It’s time to adopt a new set of commandments.
1. I WILL SET MY OWN RULES
Contradictory? A bit. But it’s important to remember you can follow all of these rules, or none of them, because it’s your happiness that’s most important.
2. I WILL SAY “NO”
Say no to things that you just really don’t want to do, because all you’ll achieve by doing them is exhaustion. You do you, boo.
3. I AM COMPLETE REGARDLESS OF MY RELATIONSHIP STATUS
Life is not about scrabbling up the rungs on the relationship ladder until someone puts a ring on it; it’s about enjoying the view from where you are. You are already complete.
4. I WILL NOT COMPARE MYSELF TO OTHERS
Your body, intelligence, career accomplishments and relationships are all your own, and are neither greater nor lesser than those of other people around you. Celebrate, don’t hate.
5. I WILL HONOUR MY OPINIONS
Make your voice heard and fight for what you believe in, because your opinion is just as important as everyone else’s.
6. I WILL LOVE AND RESPECT MY BODY
Not only does your body get you from A to B, but it can do incredible things. Aspire to love and respect your whole being.
7. I WILL IGNORE THE HATERS
In the immortal words of Tay Tay, haters gonna hate. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well just try to please yourself.
8. I WON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE
Women are powerhouses, but they are also human. Everyone needs help now and then, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.
9. I WILL TAKE LIFE AS IT COMES
Sometimes the brain just has too many tabs open, but overthinking is a sure way to end up with more problems than you started with. Tackle one thing at a time.
10. I WILL CHANNEL MY INNER BEYONCÉ
Let’s face it: the world would be a better place if we all summoned our inner Queen Bey. We are all amazing, so let’s act like it. Who’ll run the world? Girls.