Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Might be a Quarter Life Crisis

Last week, I said to WG2: "Is it bad that sometimes I think 'I wonder if I'd be happier if I lost my job and could figure out my dream and then follow it?'"

To which she replied: "That was like when I would walk down the street be like 'Hmmm, I think I would rather work at this Chinese restaurant than go to my job today."

I know that my statement is an awful thing to say in this economy when people are losing jobs everyday but it's honestly something that's crossed my mind and I feel it has for valid reasons.

I truly have no idea what I want I really want to do with my life. In college, I wanted to be a psychologist, then a journalist, I wanted to study sociology or french. I landed in publishing by way of journalism. As a marketing intern for a women's magazine, I thought I found what I loved, what I wanted to do for my career. I began setting goals to make that happen and I eventually landed my sales assistant job and eventually my marketing assistant job.

My boyfriend has known what he's wanted to do since he was five. Both of his parents are journalists and he's been preparing to go into the family business since he was a munchkin. He has late hours, works on the weekends, doesn't get paid nearly half as much as he should for the work he puts into his job and works with some grumpy old men, but he loves being a sports writer. I don't know anyone with the dedication and love for their job that he has. So you can imagine my frustration being around someone who knows exactly what they want to do, is doing it and loves it.

For a while, I thought I had found that when I moved to the marketing department at work. It was creative and fun. I thought that I was on my way to starting a long and successful career in publishing. But I'm growing more and more frustrated with this industry everyday. Because business is slow there is less for me to do and the projects I that I do have are unfulfilling. I could go on for quite a while explaining these projects and every frustration I have with them, but I'll bore you with that another day.

These days, the smallest issue or slightest jab from a client sets me off. I used to be excited and inspired by the marketing department's weekly status meeting, these days I'm bored and don't contribute. I want out but there isn't a chance I'd find a job and having no clue what I want to do next doesn't help. The economy is somewhat of a blessing in disguise; I have a job and I can try to take this time to figure out what's next for me. But I find it difficult to be inspired by anything else when I'm completely drained by work every night and weekend.

While one part of me wants to figure out my dream, another part of me thinks the practical thing to do is stick with what I'm doing and suck it up. I know what I'm doing here and I think I'm good at it. If I'm dedicated I can make my way up the ladder and be successful in the monetary sense. This practical part of me is strongly influenced by the fact that my boyfriend (who I'm pretty much in it for the long haul with) has his dream and it's not exactly the most lucrative one. Let me just say that I'm by no means "all about money" but I do know what I would like for my future and that requires some money.

I feel like I'm in limbo with no direction and zero motivation...

39 comments:

Skywalker said...

Awww - chicka. Its okay. 25/Quarter life happens. I went through for both life and career.

I left a really good promising job to fulfil my career goals (twice actually). If you maintain your goals, it will come fruition.

As for life. Don't worry. The point of these little "crisis" incidents is to show us where we need to grow, what we need to do.

If it makes you feel better, I'm toying with idea of pregnancy versus career. See - we all have doubts.

You'll be fine.

Erica said...

I am in almost the exact same situation. My boyfriend has always wanted to, and will be an archaeologist. I have wanted to be everything from a magazine editor, to an archaeologist. And now - somehow, magically - I am in Marketing. And while I love my job, I am pretty sure its my job that I love and not the field. I have no idea how this happened to me, and I am not sure how or if I should, try to crawl out.

alyssa said...

I really really know what you mean and how you feel! I always get jealous of the people who knew exactly what they wanted to do. I feel like I COULD do anything and could be fairly good at anything but there's not one thing I would be just amazing at and just love doing all the time. But really, are people always happy about their situation? Not sure. I guess I am thankful that I have a job right now, especially in the field I am in!!!

flipflops said...

I just had this conversation with a friend of mine over the weekend. It's really frustrating to be frustrated with your job in this market because everyone's response is "just be grateful you have one." For me, that just instigates the negative feelings and makes me want to throw my hands in the air and just quit -- even though I have absolutely no clue what I'd rather be doing.

Good luck to you, though. They say we'll eventually figure it out....

mai said...

im about 3 years shy of being quarterlife but i know what you mean. i have 2 jobs, same industry but different roles, and when i was 19 and got my first job selling merch for my favorite band i was just so stoked but i've gotten bored with it all and they throw me things to do but it feels like what they throw me is just to keep me occupied. i just started working for this label and it is so great that it makes me realize even how bored i am with my other job. i think a lot of people try to discover what they are passionate about. it is great that your bf knows, but it's ok to not know.

mai said...

im about 3 years shy of being quarterlife but i know what you mean. i have 2 jobs, same industry but different roles, and when i was 19 and got my first job selling merch for my favorite band i was just so stoked but i've gotten bored with it all and they throw me things to do but it feels like what they throw me is just to keep me occupied. i just started working for this label and it is so great that it makes me realize even how bored i am with my other job. i think a lot of people try to discover what they are passionate about. it is great that your bf knows, but it's ok to not know.

Jane said...

Oh, how I completely identify with what you are feeling. I am in a similar position myself. I wish I could give you some great advice, but I myself have yet to figure things out. It certainly is frustrating, but hopefully inspiration will come sooner rather than later. :-)

S. said...

I'm right there with ya. I've had this internal battle since August (well, that was my breaking point anyway).

Ask yourself if you won 4 million dollars what would you do with it (in other words how would you live your life (daily) without work).
To me that really helped me figure out what it is that I really love to do.

hoppster said...

i 100% know how you feel. except that the job i am doing now is what i thought was my 'dream job'. it wasn't until i'd been doing it for a little while that i realized that it isn't my dream job. i don't want to be here 13 years from now.

the problem with the economy is that i feel like i am so manic trying to keep this job, that i don't have any leeway to explore what i really want to do. i should be happy to be getting a paycheck at all so its no time to consider what would really make me happy.

but at the end of the day, i am still miserable, and that's not really worth any amount of money, either.

so i guess i don't have any advice, just wanted to say 'i feel you, girl'

Betsy said...

We must have been completely on the same wavelength because I wrote about this topic in my blog this morning. It is so frustrating not knowing which direction to go in!

http://citybelles.blogspot.com/2009/02/finding-my-passion.html

Ms. Salti said...

I feel like that every day of my life!

Lion-ess said...

I'm going through the same thing.. surrounded by people who know exactly what they want to do and in their field.
I've never actually known what i wanted to do and was lucky to get a job in finance straight out of university. I hate my job.
It's a frustrating, because people think that you should be grateful and so don't understand.
Wish I could advice you, but all I can say is that you're not alone.

Shelby said...

I almost 29 and I'm in the same boat. I have a job (and I'm thankful for that) I make pretty good money and then I go home and I create (which is what I LOVE to do) I pull out my camera, I make cards, I doodle, design on the computer etc.

But I'm constantly wishing, dreaming I could do it all day. But how do I get there? Taking photos for 3 hours a night isn't going to make me a photographer.

But leaving a job at this time is so risky.

But then what kind of life are you living if you never take risks?

See? You're not alone.

You'll find it. You're still young, you still have time.

Best of luck to you! You will figure it out. I promise.

Carolyn said...

Seriously, I am in the same position. I hate my job, but glad Istill have one. Dream about getting fired on a daily basis. I don't look for a new one because I have NO idea what to look for.

It's a sucky place to be.

LM said...

I hear you... I have a job offer from my dream job, but it involves moving to a different country every 2 years and my boyfriend doesn't want to come with. When I think about staying put in the US with him, I can't imagine what I'd want to do stateside. So do I go without him or stay put here? Ugh.

Fashion Biscuit said...

I said the same exact thing to my sister the other day! As awful as it seems if I lost my job I would be able to figure out what it is I want to do. I'm a marketing associate and like you I have fewer projects to work on. I feel completely unmotivated at the company I’m at and the fact that I am not making the kind of money I should be and at times not taken seriously, doesn't help. I am grateful that I have a job and understand that finding a new one at this time would be difficult. However, I’m not going to let it stop me from looking at different opportunities out there for me. You have a great blog and should be proud of that. Good luck with the career-soul searching.*

TudorCityGirl said...

That's been the story of my work life pretty much. I was laid off in May from my job and it was a true blessing in disguise. Believe me though, like you said it is better to have a job in this economy than to not have one. I have only gotten 2 interviews in almost 9 months of unemployment in NYC.

There are a lot of books you can read like What Color is My Parachute? To help you figure the type of work you find most meaningful.
Sounds like you have grown bored there and that could be part of the problem. Maybe you just don't feel challenged enough lately? So when the job market improves change would be good but definitely stick it out there. Believe me, Unemployment benefits aren't enough to pay NYC rent.
Good luck.

A Dilettante's Perspective said...

I fear that doing what I love (photography, writing) will become what I loathe if I did it all day everyday. So I freelance or make it hobby-work, and look forward to a time when I can still do it part time and still love it, and not have to spend most of my time in a job that's working to achieve someone else's dreams.

Raychelle said...

You're not alone with this feeling. I feel the same about my current job. I'm looking for something else, but it's hard when you're working full time & the economy blows a big one.

My husband works from home and loves what he's doing. It almost makes it that much harder for me to be motivated at work. I'm jealous that he likes what he does and he gets to do it from home where our pets are and there's daylight coming in from the windows. And I'm stuck in an 8x8 office wiht no windows, fluorescent lights, and boredom.

Amy said...

i'm in the same place one thousand percent. i work in advertising, and got here through journalism. it's REALLY draining, though...i feel like i have zero time, energy, or motivation to do anything else. i know i'm lucky to have a job and i should be grateful. our agency happens to be really busy despite the crappy economy which is also a blessing. but i wonder constantly whether this is what i should be doing, or even if it's what i want to be doing. i check job boards pretty often and see things i could apply for but nothing that really excites me enough to make any more effort than emailing a standard resume and not really caring whether i receive a call back. i think it might be "grass is always greener" syndrome. my fiance works for his family's business and does awesome at it...for him, it's just work...he goes, works hard for 8-9 hours, and comes home and is able to get out of the work headspace instantly. i feel like i'm thinking about work literally 24/7!! goal #1=win the lottery.

Andrea said...

http://www.amazon.com/Quarterlife-Crisis-Unique-Challenges-Twenties/dp/1585421065/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233700993&sr=1-2

This book helped me.

bluebird said...

As everyone else has stated, I can completely relate to what you're going through. It's been almost 2 years since I graduated from college,and I'm at a job that keeps me financially stable, but I take no pleasure in it. I'm a robot when at work and my job doesn't really require me to interact w/anyone except my boss. So I'm stuck for now. I'm making plans to quit this summer and move to Los Angeles in order to pursue my dream in the film industry. Am I scared? Hecks yeah! Do I feel that I won't be successful? Definitely! But I feel that at the end of the day, no one has to live my life, I have to live my life so I should be able to make my own decisions concerning it. I hope you find what you're searching for...and I hope this economy gets better so all of us can pursue our passions w/no fear.

L to the Aura said...

"Find a way to get paid for doing what you love."
-I don't know who said this, but I think it was someone on Oprah.

Your post read my mind. I enjoy teaching, but my dream only begins there. There is SO much more I want to do, so many more passions I have to pursue - and I need to figure out a way to get paid for it because it will drive me crazy otherwise.

Heather said...

I know how you feel! I just got out of my quarter life crisis. I graduated with an exciting degree that no one told me you would have a hard time finding job with unless you went to law school or into the CIA. I ended up getting a receptionist job that was anything but great. After a ton of frustration and A LOT of job searching/interviewing, I made myself a bucket list and did things to make myself feel better and found a job using my degree that I love! Just have patience and remember everything happens for a reason. (I know easier said than done!)

Snow White said...

Oh I'm so glad I stumbled onto your post. I am in the exact same position as you! But kind of in reverse. I think I would enjoy marketing or sales. I am a teacher, my degree is in psychology but I started out as a fashion merchandising major. I am really all over the place. The paper came across my desk last week about my 'intentions' to stay or go next year. It's sitting in my bag just taunting me. I don't know if I should make the leap and figure out just what my dream is or be logical in these bad economic times and be happy I am being offered a position next year!!

Don't you sometimes wish someone could just tell you you're future? I guess that's part of being a 'working girl'. Independence and all. Bah!!

Michelle said...

I've had a quarter life crisis, I was 21... and it sucked majorly. I was depressed for quite some time.

And to be honest.... I think I may be going through it again.

Lindsay said...

My boyfriend is doing exactly what he wants/loves to do, so I understand how it feels to be the directionless one in a couple. Taking time off to figure out what you want to do can be a very good thing, but it's scary too (especially now). I'm sure you'll figure it all out.

Jennifer said...

Today's post basically reiterates the very conversation, although different job/details, that I had with a friend two days ago. Said friend actually bought me this book called 20 something 20 everything. Well as great and as helpful it may have been to others, I couldn't get through the first two chapters without getting frustrated. Of course i'm also not a fan of self-help books. Anyways I too have that "wondering/pondering/antsy feel about where I'm going and how I'm gonna get there" feeling. I'm headed back to school for a second BA in international studies before I get a MA and everyone thinks I'm crazy. (quite possible but I'm doing what I want to do) so how do we know or do we just keep setting goals, obtaining them, only to find that what we thought we wanted/needed wasn't really that at all?

anyways i'm pretty sure I'm a lurker (or maybe i've posted a comment before not sure). however, I lurve the blog! thanks for the inspiration and laughter.

Texan Couture said...

I have the same problem. I graduated college moved to Austin but had no real work experience due to being a receptionist & retail worker in college. So due to lack of work experience I had take a job that requires only an associate degree where my boss assured me that I can eventually be promoted. But with student loans due next month I may have to take a 2nd job due to being too overqualified for my current position and underpaid. But I can't quit and take time to figure my life out...I need a paycheck and now with the economy and still little real world work experience, I have no idea what else I could do even if I did quit, but I feel like I'm wasting my degree away.

BakerGirl said...

I've been in the same situation since graduating college almost a year ago! Ack, where did the time go?

In college, I changed majors like I changed clothes. ALOT.

Then, I managed to graduate at the WORST possible time to graduate...when this recession stuff really started to hit people on the head. Not to mention, my state had a hiring freeze for the easy state jobs...not that I wanted that career path anyways.

Everyday I question what I want to be/work for. My boyfriend is like yours and has always known he wanted to be a doctor. He's almost done with medical school now, and soon he will get to live his clincal dreams.... I meanwhile ride a rollercoaster of feeling good about my choices one day to feeling hopeless and confused another.

I think it comes with the territory of being in your twenties right now. All of my friends face the same dilemmas as I do. To make it ironic though, we all grew up being told we could be whatever we wanted if worked hard enough. LIES.

Vampy Varnish said...

I can SO relate to everything in this post, believe me. I graduated college a gazillion years ago with a degree in English and at the time was working in publishing (in the SF Bay Area). My dream was to be an editor or in publishing in some fashion, forever. Then I realized that I couldn't live off the meager salary and all the large publishing houses were in NYC and I was not about to move there (no offense but I am a CA girl through and through, anything below 60 degrees and I freeze!). So I somehow wound up in the biotechnology field as an executive assistant. I love the company I work for and I have a ridiculous amount of leeway with my job. The pay is fabulous the benefits are outstanding, but I am bored to death. I am not interested in anything here, I just don't care for science whatsoever, so I feel trapped. I also am 36 now, married and own a home so I definitely can't quit and follow my dream because I could never afford it. What's sad is I rarely meet anyone who is actually doing what they truly love. So now I live for weekends and vacations and just assume that for 99% of us, this is how it's supposed to be. UGH!

Vampy Varnish said...

Oh and I neglected to mention (ironically) that I worked for Ten Speed Press, which is the company that publishes What Color is Your Parachute and did that book help me? NNOOOOOOOO!

Amy said...

I'm so glad it's not just me! I have no idea what I really want to do with my life either. I have lots of ideas, but can never choose. One day we'll figure it out! Good luck!

Jennifer said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. Do I stick with what I do b/c I have already started to climb the ladder? Or do I go back to school and get a job that doesn't pay as well, but that I enjoy?

Shoshanah said...

I feel the exact same why. What gets me through it though, is I tell myself when the boy gets his PhD in a few years I can quit my job, and move somewhere else.

minsmyname said...

I absolutley understand how you feel, when I travel I often wonder how life would be if I just never went back to my life in Orange County. I too am a Marketing Coordinator but for a Engineering firm, it gets boring! I'm studying for the GMATS, I need to get back into school.

Food Fanatic said...

I feel like that too. Can't tell you how much I relate with every emotion from being practical to having a dream. I know exactly what you mean! Minus that I am still single :P

I love your blog working girl!

J said...

I know exactly how you feel!! I wish I was more like my sister who knows exactly what she wants to do, and is on the path to doing it. I feel as though I have life ADD sometimes. There are so many things I have interest in, but I'm not sure if any of those things are my "passion". So I just continue on doing what I've been doing, which is rather frustrating.

Red from Ktown said...

I know what you mean. But one day....it will all click. Just hang in there. In the mean time, try it all!! Nice read.