It’s exactly what I went through when I worked as an accountant. The realisation that I was in the wrong career began in earnest when I was about 26ish and increased up until the point when I left at 34. A sense of loneliness, depression and insecurity is experienced. My book ‘The Great Corporate Escape’ is based around the same phenomenon. So what is this stage in life all about and why has it only just started to affect people?
The Phases of a Quarter-Life Crisis
Phase 1 – A sense of being trapped. Locked in to a job or relationship that you can’t get out of.
Phase 2 – A growing sense that change is possible. Self-discovery begins. Possibilities tailored to interests, preferences and who you are.
Phase 3 – A period of rebuilding a new life
Phase 4 – Committing to the new life that is realigned with aspirations, interests and values.
This explains the last 7 or 8 year journey that I have been on, even though this label was only created last year. I have seen many other people go through the same issues in their own lives, friends and colleagues alike. The coaching business that I have established works with some of these people to help them find their way through it and out the other side. But why are there so many cases of this nowadays, are my generation just soft?
Times are different these days. Twenty/thirty year olds experience the same levels of worry and anxiety that forty somethings would have experienced in my parents generation. There are loads of reasons for this.
More people go to University than ever before so there is more of a perceived choice of future career than there used to be. This also causes high levels of debt when you leave university which need to be paid off immediately. It is common now for people to go through their entire twenties in a good job and never be in the black. House prices are exorbitant. To get your first foot on the property ladder is harder now than it has ever been before. People live in a pseudo-student existence well into their thirties. Children/marriage/the future, all begin to raise their heads in the late twenties and early thirties. Pressure in other aspects of your life increases. Large scale redundancies, restructures, reorganisations has left our generation under no illusion of job security. Pensions are being reduced to the point that once again we expect there to be no central pot when we’re grey and old. In the next thirty to forty years the health service will be unrecognisable.
All of these factors have changed my generation. We have a pressure to take the first opportunity that comes along and stay there because the risk of not finding another is too scary.
There is a transition in society where being employed by a large company is now not necessarily seen to be a good thing. Security and loyalty are a thing of the past and opportunities await in different directions for us now.
The Great Corporate Escape – A funny story about a young man that feels trapped in the corporate world, becomes obsessed by his imaginative self and gradually fantasy becomes reality. – Will be out soon in eBook and Paperback.