Millennial Lifestyle

How to Choose a Job During Your Quarter-Life Crisis

Questions to Ask Yourself When Struggling to Find a Job You Love

The Quarter Life Crisis happens, now how to go about choosing a job during a quarter-life crisis? That becomes the real question. Surely, there are plenty of “adults” who carry that sense of unease and dread in their stomachs for their entire adulthood. And maybe accepting that is just a natural step to adulting. But why does it have to be? We live in a society with options everywhere we turn. Which is great but choice can feel so overwhelming. Now instead of pressure to follow in our parents’ steps, the pressure is to do good, be good and succeed at everything. The beauty of a society with so many options is that you don’t have to settle or only do one thing. We have moved passed the times of finding a job, working the job for forty years, and retiring.

If what you have chosen leaves you drained of life and dreading showing up every day, then it is time for a change. There are only so many hours in a week and there is no need for you to spend so many of them unhappy. That unhappiness is a water balloon that eventually will break over into other areas of life.

For me, I worked a job for years at which I was unhappy. My mood radically changed when I went there. I stopped being the bubbly, people loving person that I am and wished that people would just stop talking to me forever. That’s not me. That is what happens when we don’t stay true to ourselves, we get lost and that adds to the feelings of crisis or discontent. Once I left there, I could feel myself becoming more alive and getting back to who I want to be.

            Is your current job taking away from who you are or who you want to be?

I’ve always dreamed big and expected big things from myself. Which leads me to ask how can I follow my dreams when I have about six of them? I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I don’t know what I want to do because I want to do too many things. Or I haven’t gained enough experience to know what I like and what I don’t like. I’m telling you, it is okay to change paths. It is okay to go through university and think you want to come out of it doing one thing but realize that you can’t actually stand it once you get elbow deep in the field. It happens to so many people. That knowledge you learned and those skills you gained will propel you forward in another direction. They are still a foundation for your talents.

It is okay to skip university and get straight to work. But either track should end in something that you love. Change is a natural part of life. Everything will change. If you have six dreams, follow them. It can even be in different little ways.

If you had asked six year-old Arielle what she wanted to be when she grew up the answer would have been, “An author who lives in New York City” (I was obsessed with Babysitter Club Books and this is where Ann M. Martin lived). Throughout my life, I kept thinking of that dream and writing it off as not practical or unachievable. But the dream never died.

            Are there any dreams or goals in your life that you’ve tried to suppress but just keep coming back? 

I went to university to prepare for what I considered a more practical career, while still thinking of this dream in the back of my mind. Now, I am working a job that I will not stay in forever but this blog is my way of working towards that dream in some small way. While this will likely never be a career, it is an outlet to help me feel like I am making some small difference or helping others through my writing and that will keep me going while I continue to hunt for a job that makes me feel happy.

 If there is, what steps can you take to make them a reality? Even if there is nothing that stands out to you, brainstorm possible ideas of things you could enjoy. I like to think of my work life in terms of one year. Is this something that I could see myself enjoying for at least one year? If after my year comes and goes, if I’m unhappy I start weighing my options for leaving. The year mark is arbitrarily chosen to help me look reliable. Some employers frown on too frequent of job changes.

Slowly, my resume becomes a list of things I hope to never do again. However, that gives me a sense of direction. I know I hate that, I know I won’t enjoy that, so I won’t even apply for it or put it on the table. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Next challenge please.

            Is there anything on your resume that you know you would never do again or that you just absolutely hated?

Make a list of what you hated about that job. It could be anything from didn’t fit in with workplace culture, the hours, the job tasks were menial, or it just didn’t feel quite right in some way. This list can help provide guidance for what you dabble in next. “Well, I know I hate customer service. Maybe I should look for a job setting where I choose my clients or don’t have  any clients.”

I absolutely love this TedTalk. Emilie Wapnick talks about multipotenialites. What resonates with me the most about this is the idea of not having to do just one thing. I think that we may be a renaissance generation. We no longer have to limit ourselves to one choice. We can explore and dabble in so many different options. The skills you learned in one job or educational path don’t disappear. They carry over into other fields. So keep exploring. Find what you really love. Or learn to combine multiple things that you love! Another reason for my one year deadline, is I find that this is usually about the time my restlessness kicks in. I don’t think that I was meant to only follow one path.

Are there any ways that you can merge your passions together? Or even create a career you enjoy coupled with a completely different passion?

For those of you who truly do have it figured out. That is awesome! Is this something that you can enjoy and still feel challenged at years later? Then pursue it with reckless abandon.

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