In your mid-twenties with no idea what on earth you’re doing in life? You’re not alone.
According to new research, seven in 10 young professionals (72%) state that they have been burdened by a so-called “quarter-life crisis”, causing them to re-assess their career path and life choices.
Dr Alex Fowke, clinical and charted psychologist, defines the quarter-life crisis as “a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships and financial situation. This can stem from a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, when a person starts to doubt their own lives and begins to face the extent of the stresses associated with becoming an adult.”
The research, conducted by LinkedIn, found that finding a career you’re passionate about is causing 57% to experience feelings of crisis.
It also revealed that most Brits hit the crisis at the age of 26 years and nine months old.
The survey of 2,000 young professionals between the ages of 25 and 33 also found that factors outside of our careers can make us feel in crisis.
A total of 46% of respondents said they were worried about finding a life partner, while 57% said struggling to get on the property ladder was contributing to their crisis.
On average, those who said they’d experienced a quarter-life crisis said it lasted a prolonged period of 11 months.
According to the researchers, this could potentially be down to the perceived lack of options for career advice.
A total of 31% of those surveyed felt they have wasted years in the wrong job, 34% have relocated to another part of the country or abroad, 35% have changed their career entirely and 22% have handed in their notice without having a job to go to.
The poll also highlighted that women are more unsure about what to do next in their careers (61%) compared to men (56%).
Previously speaking to HuffPost UK, Jo Duncombe and Saskia Roddick, co-founders of networking group The Quarter Club, said if you can’t shift the feeling that your career isn’t moving fast enough, speaking to others your age could help.
“Social pressures can make us feel uncomfortable about failing to fit into a particular norm, but when you begin to make connections with people experiencing similar concerns and dilemmas, it can be incredibly empowering,” they said.
“This is what we have tapped into at The Quarter Club – building a network of creative women who can reach sideways, to their peers, as well as upwards, for inspiration, support and advice. It’s always reassuring to hear about the narratives of other people, especially if you work as a freelancer or portfolio careerist, which can be an isolating.”
According to Jacqueline Gold, chief executive of Ann Summers and founder of WOW Championing Working Women, networking can also help you get that elusive promotion.
“The more networking you can do the better,” she told HuffPost UK.
“The one regret I have is that when I was first starting out I didn’t network more and I really wish I had.
“Networking offers so many opportunities, especially early on in your career, so I would encourage everyone to get out there and network their socks off. You never know who you will meet and what opportunity that will present you.”
If you like the idea of networking but don’t know where to start, check out our roundup of female collectives helping to push women forward in different industries.
Darain Faraz, careers expert at LinkedIn, also gave the following tips for overcoming a career-based quarter-life crisis.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
”A sure-fire way to bolster the feelings of disappointment and underachievement is to compare your own career trajectory to your peers. Remember that everyone is at a different stage of their journey, so don’t compare yourself to others - whatever your definition of success is and whatever makes you happy - is enough.”
2. Take a step back and identify the root cause
“It’s easy to be weighed down with all of the pressures of work and family expectations, often making you too close to the situation. Take a step back and write down what is making you most nervous, be it saving, not being happy in your current industry or even your personal relationships. This will allow you to address the problem and stand you in good stead to talk to others.”
3. Be kind to yourself
“Going through the quarter-life crisis can be a difficult process and exacerbated by becoming your own worst critic. Remind yourself it’s a positive experience that will hopefully enable you make a change and progress, both with your career and with your life, eventually making you happier in the long-run.”
4. Talk to others
“It’s important to discuss feelings of discontent. Talking to others about certain issues not only helps you rationalise the problem but helps with the solution. With the LinkedIn Career Advice feature you will be able to connect easily with a range of mentors that will be able to offer a fresh perspective and sound advice – it’s likely they’ve been in the same situation as you before.”
“Once you have discussed your situation with the relevant people, it’s important to go away and research your options and most importantly your passions. Whether it’s starting a new career altogether, going travelling or progressing with your current role - it’s necessary to be aware of your possibilities.”