Surviving Your Quarter Life Crisis: Step 4

Quarter Life Crisis 4Step #4: Identify Your Area of Change

In our last post, we suggested ways to unplug from everyday life so you can access the mental clarity needed to be open to life changes.

Now comes the hard(er) part: Using that dedicated break from day-to-day craziness to figure out why exactly you’re unhappy—and identify what is causing this unhappiness.

As we’ve touched on before, emotions don’t happen in a vacuum. For example, job dissatisfaction can very easily affect your personal relationships or cause mood swings outside of work.

This occurs because a quarter-life crisis is also an identity crisis:

When you’re in your twenties, your personality is wrapped into (and dependent on) your job title or career path.

This isn’t always a bad thing. Post-college, having this identity helps people find other like-minded souls trying to navigate challenging waters, and can create valuable networking camaraderie.

And, understandably, it’s daunting to see yourself as separate from something which plays such a significant role in your daily life.

However, realizing that you are a distinctive person separate from your job is important, especially if you’re in a position you hate.

And that’s why mental clarity is so important:

Having the ability to detach from the insanity of everyday life and get in touch with how you want to feel can help you pinpoint what aspects of your job need to change.

To get you started, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Is my work making a difference? 

“All employees have an innate desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves,”says Jag Randhawa, author of The Bright Idea Box: A Proven System to Drive Employee Engagement and Innovation. So if you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels, or not contributing anything meaningful to the greater good, a job with a more philanthropic or service-oriented bent makes sense.

Does my work environment inspire me? 

Nobody grows up wanting to work in a cubicle farm. But an office is more than boring furniture: Ideally, there should be quality co-workers; a company culture conducive to collaboration and teamwork; stellar work-life balance; and a sense that upper management respects the hard work of others. Figure out what makes you excited to actually be at work, and make that happen.

Am I being challenged? 

Being around interesting, engaged people who motivate you to learn and grow is invaluable in terms of kickstarting ambition and making your work day fly by. So is being handed work that stretches your brain and a boss that doesn’t underestimate your talents or skills. Plenty of people stick around at jobs that are easy but mind-numbing, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Who do I work for? 

There’s an old saying: Leadership comes from the top. While that seems like an obvious statement, it means that a company’s culture–everything from work-life balance to management style–tends to be dictated by a CEO or a corporate parent company. If your principles, morals or personality don’t align with upper management, or you disagree with company strategies, maybe a job more suited to your value system makes sense.

What motivates me to get out of bed every day? 

People take jobs for many reasons: money, stability, the commute, the hours, the subject matter. Think about what makes you stumble out of bed when the alarm starts blaring –and if you’re not getting that at your current job, make a change.

Identifying the ideal characteristics of perfect employment—and zeroing in on what makes your current situation undesirable—is the first step toward achieving your dream job.

Now that you’ve clarified focus on what things may need to change, what are the best next steps to take? How can you make this your best year yet? Follow us for quarter-life crisis survival tips and guidance, including step #5, published soon.