Burdened by an unprecedented pile of debt and facing a job market that is rapidly hollowing out, it’s no wonder a shocking number of millennials feel like they’re living through a crisis.
Unsurprisingly, a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 millennials shared by Moneyish found that 72% of young professionals ages 25 to 33 said they’ve been through a quarter-life crisis, or a period of self doubt and insecurity causing them to question their life choices, relationships and career paths.
Yeah, a shortage of disposable income, not to mention employment opportunity, will do that.
The main factors people grappled with were finding a job they’re passionate about (57%) and the pressure to buy property (57%). Both priorities were much higher than finding love (46%), which is much easier today thanks to the advent of online dating. Women (61%) in particular are more likely to be unsure of what their next career move is compared to 56% of men.
Millennials tend to face excessive uncertainty in their career trajectory, question their life choices and have a difficult time staying present in the moment mainly because they don’t have a lot of real-life experience, Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and the author of The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius, told Moneyish.
“Things are really difficult for people in their 20s and early 30s because you’re making what seems like the most important permanent decisions of your life. In reality, many people do make changes, but it feels like these are non-refundable changes that you’re making for your career, relationship or family,” she says.
“Once you choose something, you’re ruling out other things and that’s anxiety producing."
Women in particular feel more pressure than men in their twenties because the biological clock is ticking. Many women feel pressured to step back from work to focus on building a family, or making other sacrifices they’d rather not make.
“It is difficult when deciding ‘I want to have children’ or ‘I want to have a family’ and this is the window and the window may or may not be coming at a great time professionally for you,” says Saltz.
The survey also found that 31% of people felt they had wasted years in the wrong job while 34% had relocated to another part of the country or abroad and 35% reportedly changed their career entirely.
One reason why millennials feel stressed is because they have unreasonably high expectations (i.e. they expect to have a similar standard of living to their parents, or even a better one).
“Many people in their 20s have unreasonably high expectations. Not only should they be earning well, but they should be loving the concept of what they’re doing minute to minute. We’re a very happy focused society right now, where, if you’re not happy something is wrong. That bleeds into how you feel at work,” Saltz suggests.
To help curb feelings of anxiety, Saltz recommends that millennials practice gratitude, learn to lower their expectations and recognize that success isn’t instant and that building a respectable and solid career takes work.
Or, of course, they could also consider getting a sugar daddy.