I’ve been saying this for years but I think I am now ACTUALLY experiencing a full blown stage 6 quarter life crisis – and everyone knows it. My close friends, my family, and the cashier at Sobeys know I am GOING through IT, so if you thought this was going to be some kind of advice article then think again. In fact, if anyone has any advice for ME that would be greatly appreciated – please leave all suggestions in the comments, thank you in advance my hunnies.
All jokes aside I am indeed a fully functioning career woman but despite loving my job I often find myself in the downward spiral of searching all my high school friends on LinkedIn and comparing their entry level jobs to mine. (Data Analyst vs. Category Analyst – who will make it to the top first??)
I’ve been stuck in this place of paralyzing fear of my inability to start with the end in mind. I wish I could just be decisive and choose an end goal of what I hope my career will look like and then identify the road map to get there.
But choosing your career destiny AT AGE 21 seems a little irresponsible??? I find smeared bits of birthday cake Oreos in the crevasses of my car seats for crying out loud – I am NOT equipped to be making those kinds of decisions I’ll tell ya that much. I mean like god forbid you are passionate about one thing today and then get halfway there and realize you want to be something else. Then what? Answer me that Sheryl Sandberg!! How am I to LEAN IN to that minor life inconvenience??
Now I’m going to tell you all something that you might not like but here it is; the concept of the American Dream is downright swallowing us all whole. Choosing your own destiny and being whatever you want is a lot of pressure to put on someone who experiences buyer’s remorse after buying panty hose (me). If I could be whatever I wanted I would be a Real Housewife of Toronto, live in Yorkville and drive a Porsche Carrera to Whole Foods every Saturday. But those aren’t the cards I was dealt.
So let’s put things into perspective for a second here – I graduated from Ryerson’s business school alongside 1800 other commerce graduates and then about 1000 commerce graduates from University of Toronto and another couple hundred from York and that’s just my competition in Toronto alone. So, do you think any one of us got to hand pick our dream career right out of school and start chiseling away and sculpting our pilgrimage and ultimately succumbing to the AMERICAN DREAM???? I was blessed to get a job offer at all! So, everyone just knock it off and chill out for a minute.
The two pieces of advice I would give to anyone who feels even remotely as anxious about the future as I do, is that knowledge is power! First, talk to as many people as possible and learn as much as you can about different options.
I’ve officially become the most annoying party guest, while others are yearning to be the next beer pong champion – I am yearning for answers!! I bop around spit firing questions to the members of my cohort - how they are enjoying their job? How are the hours?? what are the opportunities for growth??? what does their day to day look like???? and are they expected to answer emails on weekends????? I corner my parents’ friends and my friend’s parents and ask about their career path and beg for advice from everyone.
My favorite question to ask successful old people is “What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self” and the answer is almost always the same: 1) how they wish they would have worried less and 2) how they realize now that they didn’t need to feel like they had it all figured out at age 21. EASY FOR THEM TO SAY, AM I RIGHT. But in the depths of my ruminating tantrums thinking of that advice puts me at ease.
My second piece of advice is to be open to anything and everything and learn quickly. Learn what you like, and most importantly learn what you don’t like and move on from it.
My parting words to everyone experiencing their quarter life crises would be to be ambitious and curious and chase a career that feels good - despite how it’ll look on your LinkedIn page (that last one is a reminder for me).