Survival Guide to a Quarterlife Career Crisis

Career Coaching

7 Tips to Surviving the Quarterlife Career Crisis  

In last month's article on the quarterlife career crisis, we discussed the time when many 20 or 30 somethings feel lost, lacking in passion and confused about whereQuarterlife_Career_Crisis they’re headed in their career…and why.   Based on the real life experiences of some of our Figuring Out clients we’ve compiled a Quarterlife Crisis Survival Guide with tips on how to rediscover your purpose and passion for life.   Our 7 tips are based on our featured Quarterlife Career Crisis Survivors Tom, Brayley and Andre, who are now reconnecting to what matters most to them.  

Tip_1Volunteer for a development charity abroad

This is a great way to build up knowledge and experience in an area of interest, whilst contributing to a specific need in a charity or NGO.   As in Tom’s case, he went to Ecuador for 6 months as a volunteer to work on a conservation and community development project in the Amazon Rainforest. He chose the course because the environment and sustainability were passions of his and he loved speaking Spanish.   Some of the agencies below also provide careers advice and personal support to ensure your placement works towards your long-term career goals in a very direct way.   

Tip_2Work placement, Internship or Work Trial

Internships used to be mainly for college or university students, but more and more due to the current economic climate they can also be for post-graduate adults, seeking skills for a new career. Internships can provide opportunities for you to gain experience in your field, determine if you have an interest in a particular career, and create a network of contacts.   Since Tom returned from Ecuador, he has taken a 6 month internship at the social enterprise called “Happy Kitchen”, to gain experience in another one of his passions; food sustainability. He is supporting himself by working part-time back in his old research role. Tom found his internship through via a job link on environmentjob.   Andre found his 13week gardening work trial through the Job Centre.   Other ways are to speak to friends, family, old bosses to see what else is out there. At Figuring Out, we provide opportunities for you to get connected and try out new work placements and experiences.   Join the The Hub Network or subscribe to the Hub newsletter to get connected to social and ethical businesses looking for interns.   See other sites below:   

Tip_3Develop broad personal and professional skills

Skills such as mentoring, public speaking, creative and business writing, negotiating, people management, creative thinking are all very useful whilst exploring what it is you want to do.   Brayley our featured Quarterlife Career Crisis Survivor is continually looking out for new opportunities to develop these skills, whilst exploring his career options. He became a business mentor for the small business consultancy using his own business experience to work with a group of disadvantaged young people to pitch a business idea.  At Striding Out we are always looking out for volunteer business mentors like Brayley, to help our young entrepreneurs. Register to be a Striding Out business mentor.  Check put our ILM accredited mentoring and coaching skills courses.  

Tip_4Go back to university

Many of us went to university aged 18 years old, not really knowing what degree to do and just doing one because we studied the subject at A-level and got a decent grade.  So now that you know more about your interests and passions, why not go back to university and do the degree you really want to do, or how about an MA in something you’re really passionate about like film studies, or event an MBA. Brayley decided to go to university to study for a full-time business management degree, a big challenge, having been out of formal education for a number of years. Already a successful entrepreneur, Brayley was looking for some solid business methodologies so he could build stronger foundations for future business ventures and/or for future employers. Not only is the degree equipping him with skills such as critical analysis, it is also giving him extra confidence. What’s more, he is enjoying working with a whole new generation of 18 to 20 year olds, who provide him with a fresh outlook on their world. He thrives on the knowledge transfer of imparting his experience to them too and is more creative as a result. He thinks that this cross generation of abilities & skills will give him the edge in his next business venture or with his future employer. See link to courses: part-time, under-graduate, post-graduate and evening courses.  

Tip_5Network, Talks, Special Interest Groups, Events

There is so much out there for you, if you want find out more about an area of interest or passion.  If you just want to dip your toe in the water there are talks such as Alternatives. Or if you want to get more involved, for example you want to know more about making an impact to your local environment, you can look at the Transition Town movement.   If you’re someone like Brayley who has many interests and a huge curiosity, you could try attending monthly Scanners events, for creative people with multiple ideas and lots of ideas.   Whatever your interest, there is bound to be a group or a talk or an event happening that will suit you. And you’re certain to meet with like-minded people, make good contacts and generate new career ideas and possibilities.   Striding Out holds regular networking events – keep an eye out for our next one and come along!.    

Tip_6Evening/part-time courses

Sign up for a course in: history/philosophy/sociology/gardening/interior design to get further clarity about what’s important to you and to broaden your horizons.   Andre is interested in gardening so is currently undertaking the Royal Horticultural Society Level 2 course. His other interest is teaching and he has taken the PTTLS course (Preparing to teach in the Lifelong Sector).   See link to courses: part-time, under-graduate, post-graduate and evening courses.    

Tip_7Find a part-time job

All 3 of our Quarterlife Career Crisis survivors decided to taken on a part-time job or part-time work to keep them going financially whilst keeping doors and options open.  Andre started doing odd gardening jobs for friends of friends, Brayley helped out here and there in his friend’s businesses, and Tom has gone back to work part-time in his research role.   So look around in your local area for jobs advertised in cafes, shops, speak to friends to see if they need any part-time help, register with temping agencies, use your old career to support you knowing that you are a free agent and no longer tied down to it.      

Tom, Brayley and Andre have all survived their QuarterLife Career Crises in different ways. What they have in common is that they’ve moved out of their comfort zones and taken risks along the way. They appreciate they are still on a journey and are more optimistic for the future.  

Remember, Fortune favours the bold. And career coaching is not just about you landing the right job; it is a journey of exploration and discovery, and helping you to appreciate the ride.    

Written by Fiona Biggins, Career Coach who specialises in QuarterLife Career Crisis. To find out more contact us for an informal chat. (Adapted from Kirk Akahoshi’s conversation with Coach Reporter Mark Joyella –Coaching Commons)

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