A quarter-life career crisis is something young professionals experience in their mid-20s. Many millennials find themselves seriously questioning their career path. They may feel they are stuck in a rut, doing a job that is uninspiring, mundane, or downright miserable. It’s called a “crisis” because it often involves a feeling of panic, anxiety, and aimlessness. If you’re on a career ladder you really don’t want to be on, but don’t know what to do next, here are some tips for adding some meaning and direction back into your professional life.
What Is Your Personality Type?
You may be in the wrong job because it doesn’t suit your personality type. If you’re an introvert and doing a job that requires a lot of social interaction, talking, and busy environments, then you may feel exhausted all the time. Conversely, if you’re an extrovert doing quite solitary work, then you are likely to feel restless and agitated.
There are many different personality types, each one suited to a particular set of careers. Everyone shares the traits that make up these types, such as introversion and extroversion, but to varying degrees. And this is what makes a career choice a highly individual matter. You can follow a career path for any number of reasons (such as external pressure and expectations, status, money, or quick career progression), but if the job doesn’t include responsibilities that align with your personality type (which is relatively fixed), then it will unavoidably feel “wrong.”
You don’t need to feel guilty or entitled for hating your job. Your dissatisfaction could simply be down to a personality mismatch. Try taking a personality test to figure out your personality type and the career that is best suited to you.
Turning Your Hobby into a Career
On your CV, you may have listed some of your hobbies. For many young people, their hobbies and interests have nothing to do with their job – they are just what they enjoy doing in their spare time.
But wouldn’t you love to be able to turn a hobby into a full-time career? It’s certainly possible – although, making it a reality depends on a variety of factors. If you’re an aspiring writer, artist, or musician, getting paid for your craft will require a lot of effort, dedication, planning, hustling, and networking. You will also need to learn new skills in order to market yourself. Being highly skilled at a hobby is half the game. The other half is getting your stuff noticed, generating interest, and making sales.
With some brainstorming, creativity, and experimentation, though, you can find many ways to monetize your talent or passion. As a writer, it’s very easy to self-publish your work as e-books and market them on your website. As an artist, you can turn your work into prints or clothing and sell your products online. If you’re a musician, you can start making money by busking, playing open mic nights, and uploading your music to YouTube. (Many musicians on YouTube attract a significant amount of viewers through covers, lessons, and even original work.)
Broaden Your Horizons
Many millennials experience a quarter-life career crisis, decide to quit their job, and travel on a long-term basis. If you choose to do this, it may help you to overcome your quarter-life career crisis depending on what value and insights you gain from your travel experiences.
During your travels, you may discover where your true interests lie. Exploring different countries may ignite or enhance your passion for history, architecture, languages, culture, food, or the natural world. And if you can’t shake the travel bug, then you may want to pursue a career that allows you to travel extensively.
Should You Choose Higher Education?
You may have thought about whether going to university (either for the first or second time) can offer a way out from your quarter-life career crisis. Whether this strategy will work depends on your motivations. If you want to go to university as a temporary escape from your job, without a rough plan or direction, then you could end up lost and aimless again when you graduate.
On the other hand, you may want to study a subject that you are passionate about, something that constantly piques your curiosity and energizes you. Your interest in entrepreneurialism may lead you to study a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), which can help you start your own business. You may decide that you want to follow a career path that can make a positive and lasting impact in the world.
For example, studying environmental science can give you the foundations to work in environmental protection. If you’d rather work with people, then studying psychology may be the right choice for you, as it can lead to a career in psychotherapy or counseling.
Don’t worry if you can’t come up with any answers or a solid plan straight away. The important thing is to think of your quarter-life career crisis as a blessing in disguise. It’s most likely a sign that you have a greater potential that is just waiting to be fulfilled.